Straight from the tropical sun-soaked state of Goa in West India, comes our stunning soprano, Joanne D’Mello. Growing up playing in the fields and hills of her quiet village, Sangolda, Joanne started her musical studies from the age of six with guitar lessons, later picking up the violin which she performed with every Sunday in her local church. A curious gal by nature, it’s no surprise this singer tried her hand in other fields as well. A passionate quizzer, Joanne won many state-level quiz competitions, even representing Goa at the national level! By pure accident, she fell into singing when she replaced a fellow classmate at the very last minute at a school singing competition singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. She was only 11 years old and the youngest participant, taking away the first prize and consequently getting ‘discovered’ by one of the judges, a music teacher in the city music school. She had a knack for the classical music thing and her teacher saw that pretty quick, steering her towards more challenging repertoire in languages Joanne had never heard before. It was like discovering a whole new world.
All I had then was a copy of a cassette of opera love duets and arias that my teacher gave me. Hearing these beautiful voices soaring above a sea of sound from the orchestra was not like anything I had ever known. It gave me a feeling of flying with wings the size of Boeings [airplanes]. Pure inexplicable ecstacy.
Years later while studying MICROBIOLOGY at university (You read right! She’s also a fantasy lover, but by now I’m guessing that’s no surprise.), Joanne crossed paths with the director of the music conservatory in Lisbon and her life hasn’t looked quite the same since. With the encouragement of this director, Joanne went and spent a summer in Portugal where she began to work with world-renowned artists like Graham Johnson and Sarah Walker. Shortly after, she was accepted to the Royal College of Music in London where she studied under Patricia Rozario and graduated with a first class degree! (Way to go, Joanne!) The following year she joined the Flanders Operastudio in Ghent, Belgium, and performed at de Singel in Antwerp, Concertgebouw in Brugge, and the Vlaamse Opera houses in Ghent and Antwerp. Talk about a whirlwind, but that’s the winding course that led Joanne to become a founding troupe member at Bang-up! Opera.
That summer in Portugal opened my eyes to a standard of singing I had never experienced. I had no idea of the wealth of music that even existed! I was greedily grabbing all the scores I could get a hold of! There wasn’t a specific moment I decided to switch careers. I was so caught up in the tornado of classical singing that Microbiology ceased to be the most important thing in my life. I went with the tide and I never looked back.
Joanne is quickly making herself right at home in the world of opera, working with acclaimed stage directors like Ronny Lauwers, Benoît De Leersnyder, Vincent van den Elshout, Alessandro Talevi, and Jo Davies, also participating in masterclasses with superstars like Matthias Goerne, Graham Johnson, Sir Thomas Allen, Ann Murray and conductor Pietro Rizzo.
Now that’s what we’re talking about: Brains, Beauty, and a Big Heart—Who says singers can’t have it all!
For more information on Joanne D’Mello, become a fan of her musician page on Facebook!
‘O quand je dors’ by Franz Liszt
People! It’s the people in my life that inspire me! Good and kind people whose acts of generosity fill the gaps in my life. They give me a reason to sing my heart out!