Magazine article Opera Canada

Sharleen Joynt

Magazine article Opera Canada

Sharleen Joynt

Article excerpt

Who, back in the first quarter of 2014, was the most talked-about opera singer in North America? Pkicido Domingo? No. Renee Fleming, maybe? No. Hmm ... Sharleen Joynt? Bingo! It was then that the previously little-blown Ms. Joynt was winning the affections of viewers of television's The Bachelor--not to mention those of the season's clearly smitten title-roler, Venezuelan-American soccer hunk Juan Pablo Galavis--with a rare-for-the-show blend of beauty, brains, class and honest skepticism. She left The Bachelor of her own accord just before her sixth week ("in captivity," she wryly observes); despite a real affection for the guy, she knew he wasn't her Mr. Right. But her absence hardly rendered her forgotten. By the end of March, herYouTube clip of Zerbinetta's Ariadne af Naxos showpiece,"Grossmfichtige Prinz-essin," had amassed more than 70,000 hits: scant beans by pop or viral-video standards (Calgary-based techno duo the Chainsmok-ers'"#Selfie" exceeded 70 million over roughly the same period), but beans enough to place her well ahead of Edita Gruberova, Kathleen Battle and Natalie Dessay in theirYouTube totals--accu-mulated over years, not months--for .the same 12-minute aria.

"I wonder how many people listened to the whole thing!" Joynt jests, looking casually chic (and, somewhat surprisingly, real-life size) on a couch in the. Metropolitan Opera's downstairs press lounge on an early-April afternoon. She's at the Met covering another high-wire Strauss role, Fiakermilli in Arabella; three seasons ago, her professional career barely launched, she'd been the house's Zerbinetta cover. Anyone doubting her professional prowess should check out thatYouTube clip, where she nails the top notes dead-on and happily holds them, too."I love top notes!" she says, as if she were talking ice cream and cake. "And mine;" she modestly adds,"are pretty reliable:"

It had been another slight surprise that she's Canadian. "They insisted on putting 'Heidelberg, Germany' under my name the entire season. When stepped out of the limo in the first episode, I said I was from Ottawa. I'm proudly Canadian--I T1 1 you know how Canadians are! But the producers thought Heidelberg made me seem more exotic. As if that was even necessary--I think I was an .odd duck enough as it was. I had to play soccer on national television. The last time I'd played soccer was in high-school gym class--and I haven't gotten any better!"

At 18, Joynt left Ottawa (and her Chinese-born mother and native Canadian father) for Toronto, where For two years she attended the Royal Conservatory of Music's Glenn Gould School--and got her first Opera Canada review ("I was so excited"), playing Fire in the school's production of Ravel's Let! …

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