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The Mind Over Finger Podcast

Nov 2, 2018

Mezzo-soprano Wallis Giunta is a multi-faceted artist with a variety of interests, a great take on mindful practice, and a truly wonderful personality.  In our conversation, we discuss, among other things, the importance of making choices that will allow you to thrive, how she prepares for a role, and how she uses mental practice to learn and memorize music at a deeper level.

We elaborate on:

  • Her journey from Ottawa, Ontario (Canada) to Toronto, New York, and, more recently Leipzig as a member of Oper Leipzig
  • Her experience as a young girl in the Ottawa Youth Choir, and the importance it had in her becoming a professional singer
  • Her experience at the Glenn Gould School and the Canadian Opera Company and the various opportunities she found there
  • How making choices that fit her well were very important in her development and allowed her to thrive
  • Her life as a member of Oper Leipzig
  • Her fun, mindful way of curating a recital program that is meaningful to her
  • How she prepares for a role
  • How she went from a more repetitive form of working on songs to a more mindful and mental approach to practicing as she evolved as an artist

o   Translate the text and understand the meaning

o   Listen to various recordings and interpretations

o   Break it down

o   Memorize it

  • How practicing mentally first thing in the morning and last thing before bed is tremendously effective for her and helps her cement the repertoire to memory
  • How she has developed the skill to learn repertoire mentally, now that that is in a place where she feels confident about her technique
  • How singers practice difficult passages
  • How she brings operatic characters to life




Wallis Giunta’s website

Wallis’ YouTube channel

Wallis’ Facebook page

Wallis on Instagram

The Complete Sherlock Holmes (Knickerbocker Classics)

The Complete Sherlock Holmes (2 Volumes)


Irish-Canadian mezzo, Wallis Giunta, has been named “Young Singer of the Year” in the 2018 International Opera Awards, and was named both “Young Artist of the Year” by The Arts Desk and “Breakthrough Artist in UK Opera” in the What’s On Stage Opera Awards for her work in 2017. She has been praised by OPERA NEWS for her “delectably rich, silver-toned mezzo-soprano, with a beautiful sense of line and effortless, rapid runs”, with her performance as Mozart’s Sesto for the Canadian Opera Company celebrated as “a triumph…remarkable in its combination of intelligence and beauty”. Her 2018/19 season includes debuts with the BBC Proms Festival in a program celebrating Leonard Bernstein, with the Grange Festival as Cherubino at The Barbican, London, with the MDR Sinfonieorchester as Haydn’s Berenice, and with the Royal Opera House Muscat in La Traviata. She also debuts the title roles in Carmen and Der Rosenkavalier, along with Rossini’s Rosina for Oper Leipzig, and Idamante for Toronto’s Opera Atelier. She began the 2017/18 season with two role debuts for Opera North, the title role in Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortiléges, and Dinah in Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti, both to great critical acclaim. She returned to Oper Leipzig, where she has been an ensemble member since 2015/16, for her house roles of Angelina, Cherubino, Rossweise & Wellgunde, and debuted Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus and Der Gymnasiast in a new production of Berg’s Lulu. She also returned to the Munich Radio Orchestra, Toronto’s Koerner Hall and the Music & Beyond Festival in concert, and debuted at the Oregon Music Festival as Anna I in Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins.

The 2016/17 season saw her debuts with Opera North, performing the title role in Rossini’s La Cenerentola, with Teatro Communale di Bolzano as Cherubino, and with the Munich Radio Orchestra, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, and Symphony Nova Scotia in concert. Wallis returned to Opera Atelier to debut the title role in Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas, and to both the Toronto Symphony and the Real Orquesta Sinfónica de Sevilla for new productions of Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins. The 2015/16 season saw her make several major European debuts, including for Teatro dell’Opera di Roma (Adams’ I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky), Oper Frankfurt (Carmen), Oper Leipzig (La Cenerentola, Le Nozze di Figaro, Faust, Der Ring des Nibelungen), the Hamburg Symphony (Candide), and the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in concert. She also returned to the Edmonton Symphony for Messiah and had her first experience teaching, with a series of masterclasses for Toronto’s Tapestry New Opera.

Early in 2015, she returned to The Metropolitan Opera as Olga in their new production of The Merry Widow, directed by Susan Stroman. Other recent highlights include returns to the Canadian Opera Company as Dorabella in Atom Egoyan’s new production of Cosí fan tutte (2014), to Opera Lyra Ottawa as Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro (2015), and to Opera Atelier as Bradamante in a new period-production of Alcina (2014), along with debuts at Madison Opera (2014) and the Taipei Symphony Orchestra as Annio in La Clemenza di Tito (2013). In June 2014, she recorded her first album with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra in Dublin (NAXOS), of a new work by American composer, William Perry. Wallis also debuted in 2014 with Toronto’s 21C Music Festival in Louis Andriessen’s one-woman-opera, Anaïs Nin, and brought her acclaimed recital program of Kurt Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins to Miami, New York, Toronto and Ottawa. She had a whirlwind 2012/13 season, making her Metropolitan Opera debut in Rigoletto, debuting the roles of Sesto & Annio in La Clemenza di Tito with the Canadian Opera Company, making her Paris debut with Le Théâtre du Châtelet as Tiffany in John Adams’s I Was Looking at the Ceiling…, and singing Dorabella in the Met + Juilliard production of Cosí fan tutte at Lincoln Center. She also made debuts with Fort Worth Opera, L’Opéra de Montréal, the Edmonton, Seville and Nuremberg Symphonies, the Stuttgart Festivalorchester, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra.

Wallis is a passionate recitalist, and has recently performed for the Aspen, Caramoor, Banff, Luminato, Music & Beyond, and Ottawa Chamber Music festivals. She is the grateful recipient of the 2016 Bernard Diamant Prize from the Canada Council for the Arts, the 2013 Novick Career Advancement Grant, the 2013 Sylva Gelber Music Foundation Career Development Award, and multiple prizes from the George London Foundation. Wallis is a 2013 graduate of both the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program & the Juilliard School’s Artist Diploma in Opera Studies, and a 2011 graduate of the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio. She has also studied at The Glenn Gould School, the Ravinia Festival’s Steans Music Institute, and the International Meistersinger Akademie in Germany, and continues her private studies with Edith Wiens.

Wallis is also devoted to animal rights, particularly the rescue and rehabilitation of abandoned domestic rabbits. She is an active rabbit foster parent and finds opportunities to foster and volunteer at shelters as she is performing around the world. She is a volunteer and supporter at Rabbit’s Rest Sanctuary & WildRescue in Denton, Texas, and works to draw attention to our societal responsibility towards domesticated animals. Please get in touch if you are interested and would also like to help!


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Most sincere thank you to composer Jim Stephenson who graciously provided the show’s musical theme!  Concerto #1 for Trumpet and Chamber Orchestra – Movement 2: Allegro con Brio, performed by Jeffrey Work, trumpet, and the Lake Forest Symphony, conducted by Jim Stephenson.

Also a huge thank you to my producer, Bella Kelly!





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