American mezzo-soprano and, later, soprano, Janis Martin, was born in Sacramento, California on 16 August 1939. She studied singing first in Sacramento with Julia Monroe and then in New York with Lili Wexberg and Otto Gruth. Her operatic debut, aged twenty-one, was as Theresa in La sonnambula at San Francisco Opera.
She won the national finals of the the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 1962 and made her New York City Opera debut (as Mrs Grose in The Turn of the Screw) and her Metropolitan Opera debut (as Flora in La traviata) the same year.
She became well known for her performances of Wagner roles, and sang with Deutche Oper Berlin (1971-1988) and at Bayreuth (1968-1997).
Janis Martin retired to Nevada County, California, in 2000, still giving singing lessons and occasional concerts and recitals, and she died on 13 December 2014 aged seventy-five.