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Jodie Devos

1988-2024

The music world is in mourning. On Sunday 16 June, the Belgian soprano Jodie Devos, one the greatest opera talents of her generation, passed away from breast cancer at the age of 35.

Jodie Devos, born in Libramont-Chevigny in 1988, studied at the Institut Royal Supérieur de Musique et de Pédagogie in Namur, where she received tuition from, among others, Benoît Giaux. In 2013, she obtained her Master’s degree at the Royal Academy of Music in London, under the guidance of soprano Lillian Watson. A year later, she won the Second Prize and the Audience Prize at the Queen Elisabeth Competition for voice. It marked the start of her rapidly rising career: she soon earned public recognition as one of the most pre-eminent Belgian opera talents and joined the Académie de l’Opéra Comique in Paris, where she performed various roles.

Jodie Devos during her final session of the Queen Elisabeth Competition 2014, accompanied by the La Monnaie Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Roland Boër.

Jodie Devos performed her first major roles at the Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège, including Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Eurydice (Orphée aux Enfers), and Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro). She soon made a name for herself in Belgium and France, with performances at the Opéra National de Paris, the Opéra-Comique, the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, and the Opéra de Tours, among others. Additionally, she gave concerts and recitals all over the world, from Italy to Brazil, from India to Canada.

In the field of opera, two essential coloratura parts become her signature roles: Lakmé and the Queen of the Night from Die Zauberflöte. With the latter, she also made her La Monnaie debut in September 2018, in the production by Romeo Castellucci. One year later, she returned to our house for an Offenbach recital accompanied by the Ensemble Contraste. In celebration of the bicentennial of this composer, she had then already released the CD Offenbach Colorature, which earned her a Diapason d’Or and an Oper! Award, among other prizes.

© B. Uhlig

In 2022, we had the pleasure of welcoming Jodie Devos twice to our stage. In April, she performed arias and duets by Grétry alongside tenor Cyrille Dubois during an anniversary concert of the La Monnaie Symphony Orchestra, and in December, she created the role of Julie Follavoine at the world premiere of Philippe Boesmans’ On purge bébé!.

General and artistic Director of La Monnaie Peter de Caluwe articulates the feelings of many, when he learned of Jodie Devos’ passing:

‘The news reached us just before the matinee performance of Turandot, a few hours after she had left us. The devastation among the orchestra and choir members, as well as several soloists, was immense. Everyone knew Jodie: as a valued artist on our stage but also as a friend, colleague, student... Everyone has a story about her, made their debut with her, sang in concerts alongside her. There was no one who wasn't charmed by her talent, personality, beauty, integrity, and humility. Beyond the sadness and disbelief, one thought prevails: ‘this is so unjust’. Jodie’s sudden departure hits incredibly hard. My personal memory of her is perfectly expressed by Puccini in his final notes of Turandot. It suffices to replace the name of Liù with Jodie: “Liù... bontà! Liù... dolcezza!.... Dormi, oblia … Liù! Poesia!”’

Our thoughts are first and foremost with Jodie’s family and friends, but also with everyone who had the honour of working with her. We consider ourselves fortunate to have been able to enjoy her talent at La Monnaie on several occasions.