Joan Rodgers made her professional debut in 1982 as Pamina in a new production of Die Zauberflöte at the Festival of Aix en Provence, following which she rapidly established herself throughout Europe. International operatic engagements have included Paris (Pamina and Zerlina with Barenboim and Ponnelle, Mélisande, Susanna, and Donna Elvira with Solti); Munich (Ginevra in Ariodante); Florence (Susanna with Mehta); Vienna (Mitridate with Harnoncourt), Zurich, Lyon, Turin, Brussels (Fiordiligi, and Hero in Beatrice et Benedict), Amsterdam (Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro), Vancouver, The Metropolitan Opera New York, where she made her debut as Pamina, and Blanche (Dialogues des Carmélities) for Netherlands Opera.
In the UK Joan Rodgers sings regularly for all the principal opera companies, including the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, English National Opera, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Opera North, Welsh National Opera and Scottish Opera.
Joan Rodgers enjoys an equally successful career as a concert and recital singer and engagements have included regular appearances with such conductors as Zubin Mehta, Daniel Barenboim, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Frans Bruggen, Christoph Eschenbach, Sir Charles Mackerras, Mark Elder, Sir Andrew Davis and Sir Simon Rattle. She appears regularly in London with all the leading orchestras and has been a frequent guest at the BBC Proms, including the internationally televised Last Night in 1988. She returned to the Proms in 2001 for Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony conducted by Leonard Slatkin. Overseas engagements have included tours of the USA and Spain with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Esa-Pekka Salonen and a nationwide tour of Australia. Her London recitals have attracted the highest critical acclaim and other recent recital engagements have included the Musikverein in Vienna, Paris, Budapest and New York.
Her engagements include Ginevra (Ariodante) in Munich, Pélleas et Mélisande for Opéra National de Paris,Alcina at the Montreux Festival, Countess (Le Nozze di Figaro) for La Monnaie in Brussels and Les Illuminations with the Nash Ensemble at the Wigmore Hall and repeat of her award-winning performances of Governess (The Turn of the Screw) at Covent Garden.
Joan Rodgers received the Royal Philharmonic Society award as Singer of the Year for 1997, and the 1997 Evening Standard Award for outstanding performance in opera for her performance as The Governess in the Royal Opera's production of The Turn of the Screw. Joan Rodgers was awarded the CBE in the 2001 New Year’s Honours List.