In our newest, exclusive Q&A series #BehindtheCurtain, we’re going ‘backstage’ to ask Canadian opera artists to share their journey and what inspires them. In this installment, soprano Jonelle Sills shares what sparked her career in opera, and the mentors that helped her along the way including Canadian sopranos Barbara Fris & Stephanie Bogle.
Celebrated as one of Canada’s 30 hot classical musicians under 30 (CBC Music), Jonelle Sills has quickly gained acclaim in the Canadian operatic community. Trained at The Glenn Gould School at The Royal Conservatory of Music in 2018, Sills performed in master classes and coachings with notable artist such as Gerald Finley, Liz Upchurch, Adrianne Pieczonka, Tim Noble, Martin Katz, Catherine Robbin, Dawn Upshaw and Joan Dornemann.
In April of 2019 she made her company debut with Against The Grain Theatre in Vivier’s Kopernikus, and winning a 2019 DORA award as a member of the ensemble. Other highlights include Rosalinde in J. Strauss’ Die Fledermaus with The Glenn Gould School, Musetta in La Bohème in the Muskoka Opera Festival, Micaëla in Carmen with Summer Opera Lyric Theatre, Cecchina in La Cecchina with The Glenn Gould School. In 2020, Sills made her debut with the National Arts Centre Orchestra singing Samuel Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 and Carlos Simon’s Portrait of a Queen with text by Courtney Ware Lett. In 2021, she performed Beethoven’s 9th Symphony at Koerner Hall with Stewart Goodyear, The Penderecki String Quartet and Toronto Mendelssohn Choir.
In 2022, Sills returns to Vancouver to be a member of the Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program with Vancouver Opera.
Watch & listen to her full answer below!