I came across this rare Nigerian gem purely by accident while web surfing – as you do. Until this eveningI had never heard about Omo Bello and I doubt if many Nigerians living in the diaspora or even Nigeria have either.
I couldn’t help but feel highly impressed by the fact that we actually have a Nigerian Opera singer who performs regularly all over Europe and in the grand Opera houses of Paris and France.
After five years of studying Cell Biology and Genetics at the university in her native country, The French Nigerian soprano Omo Bello entirely devoted herself to music, studying at the Conservatoire de Paris – CNSMDP, with Peggy Bouveret. She holds a diploma in singing performance from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, London (ABRSM) and has gained enormously from the musical and technical counsels of Michel Wolkowitsky, Jorge Chaminé, Teresa Berganza, Thomas Quasthoff and Grace Bumbry. In 2014, Omo Bello was nominated for the “Victoires de la musique classique” awards in the “Lyrical Revelation of the Year” category (the “French Grammy’s”), and she swept the Paris International Opera Competition winning the 1st prize, the French opera prize and the Public prize. In 2013, she was awarded with Italy’s prestigious international Arca d’Oro prize for young artists. In Italy, she also won the 1st Prize in the Luciano Pavarotti Giovani 2010 competition (thus lauded by the Italian press critic Gianni Gori as «a talent of Gold! »), and also won the 1st prize in the 2011 Anselmo Colzani international singing competition. She became a laureate of the Cziffra Foundation in 2011.
Since 2006, she had her first successes in Toulouse with the Mozartian repertoire, taking on the role ofBarbarina Le Nozze di Figaro, under the artistic direction of Gabriel Bacquier. She then sang the roles ofSolis Magdalena by Villa-Lobos at the Théâtre du Châtelet, La Jeune Femme d’Hara Kei Soie by Yves Prin, for its world premiere at the Théâtre du Rond Point, as well as Erste Dame Die Zauberflöte by Mozart, and Female Chorus The Rape of Lucretia by Britten with the CNSMDP, Silvia L’Isola Disabitata by Manuel Garcia at the Auditorium of the CNR of Nice and Eurydice Orphée et Eurydice by Gluck at the St Petersburg state theatre for opera and ballet.
She sings regularly as a soloist in numerous concerts and recitals in France and abroad. Omo Bello made her debut in the role of Contessa Le Nozze di Figaro at the 2012 Verbier Festival. In 2012/13 season, she took on Contessa Le Nozze di Figaro on tour with Opéra de Montpellier, and made her debut as Juliette Roméo et Juliette by Gounod on tour with Opéra de Tours and Jeanne La Vivandière by Benjamin Godard at the Festival de Radio France et Montpellier. In concert, she performs with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, orchestra national de France, the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris, and the Orchestre de Paris. Her debut album, Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn is distributed by Harmonia Mundi.From 2007 to 2011, Omo Bello was regularly invited to the Operabuja festival in Nigeria. This involves an ambitious project with a vision to build a music conservatory in Nigeria and in doing so promote classical music and the lyrical art, a project she holds dear to her heart as an artiste. She also puts her talent to the service of medical research associations such as Hôpital 2000, the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Research Association and the Children of Kedougou, giving charity concerts, or singing in old people’s homes.
In 2013/14 she made her debut as Donna Anna Don Giovanni by Mozart at the Opéra de Tours and Opéra de Reims, as well as Elvira L’Italiana in Algeri by Rossini at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées. In concert she sang Beethoven’s Egmont at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées and recorded famous arias at the “Grand Christmas Concert”, with the Radio France philharmonic orchestra for a live TV broadcast on France 3 to 2 million viewers on 25th December 2013. In 2014/15, she will make a European recital tour “Belcanto: yesterdays and nowadays”, (from the Barbican Centre, London to the Musikverein, Vienna, the BOZAR in Brussels, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam etc…), as part of the “ECHO Rising Stars” program. She makes her debut at the Philharmonie de Paris and the Royal Albert Hall, London singing La Pastourelle, La Chouette and Le Chauve Souris in L’Enfant et les Sortilèges by Ravel, conducted by Esa Pekka-Salonen. She will make her debut as Télaïre Castor et Pollux by Rameau, in a new production which opens the 2014/15 season of the Théâtre des Champs Elysées.Omo Bello is supported by the Bettencourt-Schueller Foundation. She is a goodwill ambassador of Rotary International.