How do you feel about making your Sydney Philharmonia Choirs debut?

I’m so thrilled to be making my debut with them. They have a solid reputation as Australia’s leading choral organisation with so much soul and history, and I’m excited to be a part of it.

You’ll be performing Bach’s B Minor Mass with them. Is it a piece you know well?

I have enjoyed listening to it since I can remember, but this will be my first time performing it and I couldn’t be happier to have the chance to be involved in one of the greatest choral works of all time. Vocally, it isn’t too demanding. The range and tessitura sit nicely, and with two evenly-spaced duets followed by joining the choir in the Dona Nobis Pacem at the end, I have a very well-paced evening of singing.

Janet Todd, Sydney Philharmonia ChoirsSoprano Janet Todd. Photo: supplied

Are you expecting the performance to be an emotional experience? 

I find almost all performances to be an emotional experience to some degree, but this I expect to be particularly so because of the grandiose nature of the work. To be surrounded by a magnificent choir and orchestra enveloping you within one of Bach’s masterpieces – it’s impossible not to be moved by that! This will also be my first time singing as a soloist in the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House, so it will be very special indeed.

Is it a thrill to sing with a huge choir? 

It is! It can be the most exquisitely overwhelming thing. I have found joy in this from a young age, having started my musical life singing in large children’s choirs. There is something indescribably fulfilling about singing en masse with fellow human beings to produce music as one. I recently sang as a soprano soloist in Mahler’s ‘Symphony of a Thousand’ and the sheer immensity was like nothing I’ve experienced.

You recently completed a two-year Masters at the Manhattan School of Music, New York. How was that experience?

They were two of the greatest, most challenging and most rewarding years of my life. Manhattan School of Music is a fantastic institution where I worked with brilliant teachers, coaches and guest artists. It was an intensive pressure-cooker environment which wasn’t always easy, but I developed a great deal technically and artistically as a result. Living in New York amongst so much life and so much art was extremely inspiring.


Janet Todd performs in Sydney Philharmonia Choirs’ Bach B Minor Mass, which plays at the Sydney Opera House, March 31

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