Jillian Arthur was born in Amersham, Buckinghamshire and trained at Trinity College of Music, with Iris Bourne and Elizabeth Hawes.
She was then awarded a scholarship to the Royal College of Music Opera School, where she studied with Marion Studholme, winning the Carrie Tubb Prize.
On leaving the Royal College, she was awarded a scholarship to study Lieder at the Mozarteum, Salzburg and was a finalist in Morriston Orpheus Welsh Singer of the Year, at the Brangwyn Hall, Swansea.
Jillian made her operatic debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 1992 as a Young Nun in The Fiery Angel, Prokofiev. She sang an Apprentice for the Royal Opera’s production of Die Meistersinger (director Graham Vick), and in the same production at the Teatro Reggio, Turin.