Was there a moment when you knew opera was going to be your path?
I was a student at the University of Ottawa where I was doing my undergraduate degree and it was my first year in the voice program there. We put on Carmen in my opera workshop chorus and this was the very, very beginning of it all. The teacher of the chorus had assigned me to sing the Habanera as well as the Card Trio and so I grabbed the one recording that was in the music library at the time which happened to be the Callas recording. It just grabbed me. Not having grown up with opera and not having known Carmen until that point, the music alone just felt so magical to me. But then there was Callas’ voice. And of course it wasn’t until later that I learned that she never sang the role onstage, but there was just something about her voice that resonated with me, that felt somehow familiar even though I had never heard it before. From that moment I was in love with opera.
Joyce El-Khoury. Photo © Fay Fox