Critics and audiences alike recognize the rare and rich talents of this gifted young American soprano. Jacqueline's recent (March 2015) portrayal of Desdemona in Verdi's Otello, with Winter Opera St. Louis, brought critical acclaim. Steve Callahan of KDHX wrote,
"Above all I was impressed with Jacqueline Venable Simmons, who sings Desdemona. Again and again her gorgeous soprano voice easily surges above the chorus, clear and pure. Her mastery of dynamics is exquisite. In the final act she sings the "Willow" aria—a song Desdemona learned long ago from a heartbroken servant. Plaintively the lyric repeats, "Salce, salce, salce . . . " ("Willow, willow, willow. . . ") and Miss Simmons manages to make each word sound not just as if it were softening toward pianissimo . . . but as if it were actually receding into the far distance. (How in the world does she do that??) When Otello approached Desdemona to strangle her I was pleading in my heart, 'Oh, be gentle with that marvelous throat!'"
Opera News wrote of her performances of Suzel in Mascagni's L'Amico Fritz,
"Jacqueline Venable displayed a remarkably full, rich lyric soprano as Suzel; each of her arias was a highlight. With a lovely face and an aptly shy stage manner, she seems already like a potentially world-class Micaela (by no means a common species these days), with promise for Agathe (in Der Freischütz) and Elsa in decades ahead."
Since her graduation from the Merola Opera Program at the San Francisco Opera, Jacqueline Venable Simmons has debuted with several US opera companies, including New York City Opera (Giunone in Monteverdi's Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria), Hawaii Opera Theatre (Pamina in Die Zauberflöte), Atlanta Opera (Micaëla in Carmen), Opera Festival of New Jersey (Pamina), and Gotham Chamber Opera Company in New York (Nevesta in Martinu's Hlas Lesa).
Ms. Venable Simmons' competition winnings include top awards in the Jensen Foundation, Licia Albanese, Loren L. Zachary, Palm Beach, Liederkranz, MacAllister, and Dicapo Opera Competitions, as well as receiving a Gerda Lissner Career Grant. She was a Metropolitan Opera Regional Finalist for multiple years, securing the "Most Promising" Regional Finalist award one year. Ms. Venable received the Richard F. Gold Career Grant while in the Merola Opera Program.
As an apprentice artist, Ms. Venable Simmons sang Mimì in Puccini's La Bohème for Inspiration Point Fine Arts Colony; First Lady in Mozart's The Magic Flute for the Merola Opera Program; and Zuma in Verdi's Alzira while a member of Sarasota Opera's Studio Artist Program. Also an enthusiastic singer of concert repertoire and art song, Jacqueline has appeared in many collaborations across the United States. A highlight was appearing as soprano soloist in Mozart's Coronation Mass at Carnegie Hall, under the direction of Simon Carrington.
Ms. Venable Simmons has sung in Master Classes with such acclaimed artists as Regina Resnik, Dame Joan Sutherland, Licia Albanese, Carol Vaness, Lotfi Mansouri, Warren Jones, John Wustman, Patrick Summers, Martin Isepp, Charlie Riecker, and John Norris.