Mezzo Sopranos
Janet Shell

Janet Shell initially trained as a school teacher before retraining at Guildhall School of Music and Drama and in her early career won several singing competitions, including two consecutive years in Paris for singing French song, and was the first mezzo soprano to be taken on by YCAT. She was the first singer ever to sing live on Day 2 of Classic FM and also gave the first female duet programme on ‘Friday Night is Music Night' for the BBC. Her voice can be heard in the opening sequence of the 1995 British comedy film, ‘Caught in the Act' although internet searches for the film may present some challenging moments!

While Janet has performed with Welsh National Opera, Opera North, English National Opera and for the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, it is for her oratorio and concert work that Janet remains best known and her interpretations of Elgar have been particularly noted. In the last couple of years she added The Apostles to her repertoire. Concerts for the 2016-17 season include Duruflé Requiem; Rossini Petite Messe Solenelle and Elgar Sea Pictures.

Janet is a highly respected singing teacher and has given masterclasses at Stetson University, Florida, at the Music Conservatoire in Tokyo, and in New York for students of Julliard School, and has been the vocal tutor at Cranleigh Summer School for the last 4 years. Increasingly Janet is asked to give workshops on vocal technique for choral societies and she is a regular tutor for the choir of Lloyd's of London alongside her busy teaching Practice.

You may have seen Janet on the BBC programme, ‘Britain's Great War' being interviewed by Jeremy Paxman. Her family were in the news in 2013 following the discovery, in a French farmer's field, of the remains of her great uncle who was an Officer in WW1. The Burial in France was attended by Prince Michael of Kent and broadcast worldwide. In 2014 she appeared on ‘The People Remember' also on the BBC. In October 2016 she contributed to the programme ‘Soul Music' for Radio 4 talking about Parry's ‘Jerusalem' and its relevance for her family.

Janet published her first book in 2015 about the four generations of her family who lived in Port Sunlight (The Sunlight Girl available through Amazon) and is currently developing a lecture-recital on her musical family ancestry relating it to music of each era either written by her ancestors, known by them or sung by them!

Janet Shell

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  • “Janet Shell was a magnificent Angel, her fine voice rising to the heights of the cathedral vaults, in soothing smoothly-shapely phrases.”
    Ely Cathedral - Elgar (Dream of Gerontius)
  • “The velvet-like quality of Janet Shell’s lower register opened the Pie Jesu and blended perfectly with the violas and cellos of the orchestra.”
    Hertford Choral Society - Duruflé (Requiem)
  • “Solo high points included Janet Shell’s expressive scena from Donizetti’s 'La favorita'. ”
    Opera Gala
  • “… as was the mezzo soloist, Janet Shell. I shall long remember her delivery of 'Thou hast forestalled the agony, and so for thee bitterness of death is passed'.”
    Oxford Harmonic Society - Elgar (Dream of Gerontius)