Marcelle Clamens (1953-2019)

  • Performer and teacher: Marcelle Clamens, a soprano, trained at the University of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, and performed in top venues such as New York City’s Carnegie Hall (File photograph)
  • Laying a foundation: teacher, Marcelle Clamens, far right, with her stuents, from left, Kei-Lara Dunigan, Letitia Kelly, Jozelle (J-Yella) Escolastica, Canjelae Taylor, Cyrelah Raynor and Desta “Zion” Wilson prior to their June 26, 2003, concert at City Hall, Hamilton. Zion is now a freelance musician and a runner up in this year’s Britain’s Got Reggae competition, while Canjelae is a professional Rhythm and Blues singer with one album in the United States, and performed during this year’s Cup Match (File photograph)

A Bermudian opera singer and teacher with an international reputation who nurtured the island’s singing talent has died. Marcelle Clamens was 65.

The mother of three who founded the Talent Explosion with her husband, Michael, was a lifelong singer who launched her career in 1990.

A soprano trained at the University of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Ms Clamens performed in top venues such as New York City’s Carnegie Hall.

Her family said she was a part-time vocal teacher at Saltus and also taught at Simons Music School and Bermuda School of Music.

Michaela Antoinette, Ms Clamens’s daughter, said: “She gave her all to her students — all her energy and love. All her students have to know she loved them individually for their talents and who they were.”

Michaela added: “We want to thank everybody who has reached out to us. She was a beautiful soul who was loved and cherished by everyone.”

Ms Clamens also used her talent to raise money for scholarships for Bermudian students.

The family said it had set a provisional date of December 14, two days before what would have been Ms Clamens’s birthday, for a musical celebration of her life.

A pupil of music teacher Daniel Hill, her first taste of fame came in 1990 with a performance of Verdi’s Requiem with the Bermuda Philharmonic and she became a regular on Bermudian and overseas stages.

Ms Clamens, a former secretary at the Bank of Bermuda, made a strong impression when she began studies at Cincinnati.

Barbara Honn, a professor at the school, said: “She has a quality that only about ten per cent of singers possess — and that is her exciting communicative quality.

“You can’t teach people that. The moment the curtain goes up, people are captivated by her.”

Ms Clamens also studied languages, including German and French, to help with her opera repertoire. She earned a Bachelor of Music degree in 1996 and made her Carnegie Hall debut in 1998.

She and her husband launched Talent Explosion in 2003 and the show endured as an annual fixture for eight years.

She told The Royal Gazette in 2009, just before she performed at the Bermuda Festival in celebration of Bermuda’s 400th anniversary: “My voice is still young and vibrant — I keep it that way through personal training and also the occasional help of my coach, David Brewer, via long-distance phone calls.”

Ms Clamens began to focus on teaching as well as family in her later years, and on the gardens at her home in Mount Hill.

She died this week after an illness. She is survived by another daughter, Michelle Clamens, a son, Michael, as well as by her husband.