Mezzo Sopranos
Janet Shell

Following 5 years as a Head of Music, Janet trained at Guildhall School of Music and Drama. During her early career she won several singing competitions, including some 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'. (not to be confused with any other films by that title!)

Janet is well established in the fields of oratorio and recital, forming an enduring partnership with pianist, John Flinders. Together they were invited guests in Tokyo for the then Prime Minister John Major following a tour of South America. 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. This year she will sing two performances each of The Apostles and Dream of Gerontius, along with Verdi Requiem, Rutter Feel the Spirit, Lambert Rio Grande and a new commission by Malcom Archer George and the Dragon.

Unusual moments in her career have included singing for the Spice Girls at Geri Halliwell's house following the christening of her daughter; being a backing singer on the Classical Brit Awards; singing a ‘hip hop' track; singing the National Anthem on ice (carefully!) before an Ice Hockey match and in September 2009, singing for the first Royal Wedding at the Chapel Royal, Hampton Court for 500 years!

She has given invited vocal master classes at Stetson University, Florida, at the Music Conservatoire in Tokyo, and in May 2010 in New York for present and former students of Julliard School, and is the vocal tutor at Cranleigh Summer School. She has also established Talking Voice, working with teachers and voice professionals on spoken vocal and presentation skills.

You may have seen Janet on the recent 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 died as an officer in WW1. The Burial in France was attended by Prince Michael of Kent and broadcast worldwide.


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)