her debut solo album ‘Echo’ with maestro Carlo Rizzi and The Hallé Orchestra (Opera Rara) later this summer.
It is impossible to know with any accuracy what Julie Dorus-Gras’s voice sounded like, though in her day she acquired a reputation for rare vocal greatness.
What is clear from the historical facts available is that she had a prodigious work ethic and was constantly refining and shaping her vocal technique to meet the requirements of the roles she sang. This iron discipline allowed her to perform a wider variety of roles than normal and placed her among the front rank of artists of the time. When composers of considerable prominence were looking for appropriate talent to debut their works, she was often the first choice.
I feel a strong kinship with Mme. Dorus-Gras. Like her, I consider myself a perennial student of this wonderful art form. Like her, I am always looking to grow, to expand my vocal palette in an effort to convey more truthfully the trials, tribulations and intricacies of the human condition.
There is no way to know whether my voice is similar to hers in tonal quality. What I do know, is that the repertoire she sang, some of which is featured on this disc, resonates deeply with me. Moreover, the vocal demands feel a natural fit for my voice and I simply love singing this music.
This recital recording is both a tribute and a gesture of gratitude to this wonderful artist, who pioneered so much repertoire that still has so much to say to modern-day audiences. I decided to call this disc Écho after noticing that this word is present in a few of the pieces, whether in French or Italian (as ‘eco’). is is especially spine-tingling for me: Mme. Julie Dorus-Gras’s work is still echoing today in the 21st century and inspiring artists such as myself.
I very much hope you enjoy listening to this marvellous music. (Joyce El-Khoury)