Janet Shell

Genre: Mezzo Soprano

Artist Reviews

"Exceptional was Janet Shell, the guest soloist in Mahler's Songs of a Wayfarer. Hers is a rich mezzo soprano voice with a wide palette of vocal colours to draw from and she has an immediately appealing flare for dramatic representation."

Concert, Henley Symphony Orchestra - Henley Standard

"The choir were fortunate to combine with such an accomplished orchestra and with the mezzo soloist, Janet Shell, whose performance matched her distinguished pedigree. Her clear and vibrant voice effortlessly spanned an extremely wide range, extending from orthodox Latin oratorio to Arabic incantations which for a moment transformed St Martin’s into a temple in the Holy Land. "

Stabat Mater, Jenkins, Brockham Choral Society

"Janet Shell was a magnificent Angel, her fine voice rising to the heights of the cathedral vaults, in soothing smoothly-shaped phrases"

Dream of Gerontius, Ely Cathderal, Huntingdonshire Choral & St Ives Choral Society -

"…As was the mezzo soloist, Janet Shell. I shall long remember her delivery of "Thou hast forestalled the agony, and so for thee bitterness of death is passed”."

Oxford Harmonic Society

"The velvet-like quality of Janet Shell’s lower register opened the Pie Jesu and blended perfectly with the violas and cellos of the orchestra"

Durufle Requiem, Hertford Choral Society

"Janet Shell sang with great feeling and golden tone. Her account of O Rest in the Lord was ravishing."

Elijah, Leicester Bach Choir - Mercury

"Particularly moving was the stillness and radiance that Janet Shell brought to her aria Woe unto them. "

Elijah, Oxford Symphony Orchestra - The Oxford Times

"Glamorous mezzo soprano Janet Shell, wearing a sparkling, figure hugging gown, had a beautiful voice, her Agnus Dei being one of those tearful moments. Her Traviata-like Lux Aeterna was wonderful."

Verdi Requiem, Watford Philharmonic Society - Watford Observer

"Janet Shell, called “mezzo” on the programme, sang as a warm-toned, old-style alto might. Her voice proved so expressively shaded and intimate Tidings to Zion, you yearned for its return. This finely cultured singing seemed a gift as ready and as natural as speech."

Messiah, Oxford Harmonic Society - Oxford Times

"Janet Shell gave an outstanding and highly moving account of the Agnus Dei... so soul searching and yet musically precise that one was moved to contritional tears."

Petite Messe Solenelle, Rossini - Arun Choral Society - West Sussex Gazette

"Mezzo soprano Janet Shell's deep and resonant tones in Mahler's song cycle, Songs of a Wayfarer, were truly inspiring. Her sensitive awareness of the dynamic changes showed a rare vocal ability. Her thrilling voice pervaded the whole building."

Concert, Norfolk Symphony Orchestra - Reading Chronicle


Janet Shell. After originally training as a classroom teacher, Janet changed profession to study voice at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, winning several singing competitions, including prizes for French song in Paris. She was the first mezzo soprano to be taken on by YCAT; the first singer ever to sing live on Classic FM and she also gave the first female duet programme on ‘Friday Night is Music Night’ for the BBC.

In her early career, Janet performed with Kent Opera, London Opera Players, Opera d’Aix en Provence, Göttingen Festival Opera, Welsh National Opera, Opera North, English National Opera and for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Recital tours in South America and France resulted in her being chosen by the British Prime Minister of the day, John Major, to sing in Tokyo to honoured guests and subsequently at Downing Street. Over the years, she has given many opera gala concerts for celebrated guests and Royalty. Janet now specialises in recital and oratorio and is particularly known as an interpreter of Elgar.

Last year Janet gave performances of Elgar Dream of Gerontius, Mozart Requiem, Haydn Maria Theresa and Nelson masses and Verdi Requiem. She also recorded Durufle Requiem with Guildford Cathedral Choir which is due for release this year. This season so far, Janet has been invited to sing Elgar The Kingdom, Mendelssohn Elijah and Rossini Stabat Mater.

Over the course of her career Janet has had some unique experiences including singing for the Spice Girls and David Walliams; giving singing lessons to the late Errol Brown of Hot Chocolate fame; recording a track with a Hip-Hop artist; singing the national anthem on ice (carefully!) before an ice hockey match and singing at the first Royal wedding at Hampton Court Palace in 500 years.

As a singing teacher and vocal coach Janet has given masterclasses in Florida, Tokyo, and New York and she is the resident vocal tutor at Chester Summer School. Janet has adjudicated at Shrewsbury School and  Cheltenham Festival and given a masterclass at Marlborough College and continues her workshops to choral societies on vocal technique. She currently teaches singing at St Paul’s Girls’ School in London and Eton College, alongside a busy Private Practice. As a former teacher, she coaches classroom teachers (and other public speakers) on their voice use and vocal health through her company Talking Voice.


For Oratorio and Concert repertoire please scroll down:

Composer Work
Bach. J.S B Minor Mass
St John Passion
St Matthew Passion
Beethoven Missa Solemnis
Bliss Pastorale
Brahms  Requiem
Alto Rhapsody
Britten Spring Symphony
Cantata Academica
Bruckner Mass in F
Charpentier Te Deum
Copland In the Beginning
Durufle Requiem
Dvorak Requiem
Elgar Dream of Gerontius
Coronation Ode
Mass in C
Music Makers
Sea Pictures
The Apostles
The Kingdom
Honegger King David
Handel Messiah
Judas Maccabeus
Haydn Harmony Mass
Maria Theresa Mass
Nelson Mass
St Nicholas Mass
Jenkins Stabat Mater
The Armed Man
Mahler Symphony no 2
*Lieder eines Fahrenden Gesellen
Symphony no 8 – 1st alto
Mendelssohn Elijah
Hymn of Praise
St Paul
Mozart Coronation Mass
Solemn vespers
Rachmaninov  Vespers
Ravel *Sheherazade
Rossini Petite Messe Solenelle
Rutter Feel the Spirit
Schubert various masses
Spohr The Last Judgement
Tippett A Child in our Time
Vaughan-Williams Serenade to Music
Mass in G
Verdi  Requiem
Vivaldi Gloria
Artist: Janet Shell
Label: Ann Ferrier Artists
Genre: Mezzo Soprano
People: Janet Shell - Dido's Lament, Dido & Aeneas (Purcell)

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