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Pamela Dellal

Pamela Dellal
Historical Performance - Voice; Vocal Studies


Pamela Dellal, mezzo-soprano, has enjoyed a distinguished career as an acclaimed soloist and recitalist, whose singing has been praised for her “exquisite vocal color,” “musical sensitivity,” (Worcester Gazette) and “eloquent phrasing” (The Boston Globe). She has appeared in Symphony Hall, the Kennedy Center, Avery Fisher Hall, and the Royal Albert Hall, and premiered a Harbison chamber work in New York, San Francisco, Boston and London. Her repertoire encompasses an astonishing range from 12th-century monody through Renaissance songs, Baroque cantatas and oratorios, 18th–21st century art songs and operas, and premieres of new works. Ms. Dellal made her Kennedy Center debut under Julian Wachner in the B-minor Mass, and her Lincoln Center debut under renowned conductor William Christie in Messiah. She has performed under other acclaimed conductors such as Seiji Ozawa, Christopher Hogwood, Paul McCreesh, Bernard Labadie and Roger Norrington. Ms. Dellal has also appeared with the Tokyo Oratorio Society, the Lydian String Quartet, The Bach Choir of Bethlehem, Boston Baroque, the Boston Early Music Festival, Aston Magna, the Dallas Bach Society, The Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, the National Chamber Orchestra, the Evansville Philharmonic, the Baltimore Choral Arts Society and the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Dellal has received critical acclaim for performances of Brahms’ Alto Rhapsody, Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s C-minor Mass, and Bach’s B-minor Mass, St. Matthew and St. John Passions. Her operatic roles include Junon in Charpentier’s Actéon, Dido in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Annio and Sesto in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito, Dorabella in Mozart’s Così Fan Tutte, Bradamante in Handel’s Alcina, Erika in Barber’s Vanessa, Lucretia in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, and Paulina in Harbison’s Winter’s Tale. She has been a featured artist with the The Red House Opera Group, Prism Opera Company, Opera Aperta, Ocean State Lyric Opera, the New Boston Theatre Project, and the Opera Company of Boston, and has appeared in concert in major cities in Europe, the United States, Australia and Japan.

Dellal’s association with Emmanuel Music’s renowned cantata series spans her entire career, including performances of nearly every sacred work by Bach. Known for her work with Renaissance and Baroque chamber music, Ms. Dellal has appeared multiple times with the Boston Early Music Festival and the Newberry Consort, is a frequent guest artist with Ensemble Chaconne and the Musicians of the Old Post Road, and was a longtime member of the Blue Heron Renaissance Choir. As a member and Acting Director of Sequentia’s women’s ensemble Vox Feminae, Ms. Dellal has made numerous recordings of the music of Hildegard von Bingen, and has toured the U.S., Europe, and Australia. A passionate advocate for contemporary music, she is a regular guest with the Boston ensembles Dinosaur Annex and Boston Musica Viva, and has also appeared with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Lumen Ensemble and Collage New Music, performing works by contemporary composers such as Martin Boykan, Martin Brody, Edward Cohen, John Harbison, Ruth Lomon, Shulamit Ran, Judith Shatin, Fabio Vacchi, Judith Weir, Scott Wheeler, and others. She has nearly forty recordings to her credit, on the Artona, BMG, CRI, Dorian, Meridian, and KOCH labels among others.

As an educator, Dellal is the Director of Emmanuel Music’s Bach Institute, an annual training program for aspiring professional musicians in performing the Bach cantata repertoire. She serves on the faculty at The Longy School of Music of Bard College and the Boston Conservatory at Berklee. She has taught at Brandeis University, The Berkshire Choral Festival and at numerous summer workshops including the Amherst Early Music Festival. She has been invited to give master classes and lecture/demonstrations at many institutions throughout the US, including Stanford University, Cal. State Fullerton, SUNY New Paltz, Wellesley College, Wheaton College, and other organizations. She is a recognized specialist in early vocal techniques and the music of Hildegard von Bingen; in addition, she has become a sought-after translator of musical texts including the Bach cantatas, translations of which appear on the Emmanuel Music website. Her translations are included in the complete works of C.P.E. Bach, published by the Packard Humanities Institute. An article on C.P.E. Bach lieder was published in the August 2014 issue of Early Music (U.K.). She has edited a book on Bach cantatas featuring essays by the late Craig Smith, published by Pendragon Press in 2020.

Teaching Philosophy

Pamela Dellal is collaborative, analytical, articulate, empathetic, systematic, and integrative. Her primary objective is to ensure that singers own their technique – that they can recognize, reproduce, and develop the tone and production, and creatively explore new ways of producing viable sound. She endeavors to respect each singer’s personal experience; in this way she hopes to earn the student’s trust. She breaks down the study of singing into several physical acts: the breath production, the resonance, and placement. As a highly verbal person, She does not feel that a skill is mastered until it can be fully articulated. She offers the student a detailed description of what they are producing and what they should be seeking, and encourage them to find their own words to describe what they perceive in the physical act of singing. The most important tool she possess is her ability to intuit how something feels to the student by imagining how it might feel in her own body. Her concept of singing technique is an integrated system, considering all the physical mechanisms that contribute to making sound. The final piece of a systematic technique is the ability to apply it to repertoire.

“I intend to help each singer discover the instrument that nature gave them, and my approach is essentially collaborative; I strive to give the student their own tools to experiment and refine the control of vocal production. My principal interest lies in the location and perception of resonance, and how that is controlled and enhanced by the direction and support of the breath. Learning how to feel a free and balanced resonance in every range, and on every vowel, provides the ability to sing perfectly in tune in all registers and in all temperaments. By learning the fine control of resonance the skills of vibrato control, dynamics, and tone color are also discovered. All of this is mediated by a steady, focused airstream unobstructed by tension in the jaw, the tongue, or the soft palate.

The exploration of free resonance also requires exquisite control of legato and the preparation of pitch changes. By drilling both slow scales and arpeggios on a legato line, the subtleties of muscular timing involved in negotiating intervals can be examined and practiced. I feel strongly that all singers need to have a precise sense of how these elements function, even those singers who have never struggled with a free and natural tone production. Without the knowledge of the optimal location of resonance on all pitches, any physical changes that alter the tone will create havoc in consistency and technique! The precision of resonance location also affords a broad palette of color and expression, which is an asset to all repertoires from early music through art song and grand opera.”