Joelle Lamarre

Actor / Performer / Entrepreneur 

Soprano AGMA, AEA


Joelle Lamarre, a 3Arts “Make A Wave” Awardee, has been described as a performer of “astounding vocal power” with a range that almost “defies classification and exhibits true spinto quality.”  Joelle is an artist in demand performing new works by today’s composers.  Lamarre appeared in Chicago Opera Theater’s “emotionally riveting” world premiere production of Dan Shore’s Freedom Ride, directed by Tazewell Thompson.  She made her Long Beach Opera debut in the world premiere of the Anthony Davis Pulitzer Prize opera, Central Park Five, eliciting praise from Singerpreneur for her “exquisite soprano” as the mother of two of the falsely accused boys.  Joelle received critical acclaim as Sister Rose in the Chicago premieres of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, first in DePaul University’s concert presentation of the opera and then as an alumna special guest artist in Northwestern University’s Chicago premiere production. Beyond traditional opera, Joelle collaborates in more experimental forms with renowned composers including George Lewis, a Guggenheim Fellow, in his new opera Afterword: The AACM once before, an opera developed with Sean Griffin and Catherine Sullivan, constitutes an aesthetic extension of George E. Lewis’s 2008 book, A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music. Joelle continues collaborating with multi-disciplinary artist Sean Griffin in Charles Gaines’ Manifestos 2, a score is based on: Malcolm X’s last public speech made in 1965 in Detroit’s Ford Auditorium; Peace, Power, Righteousness: An Indigenous Manifesto (1999) by Canadian Mohawk scholar and activist Taiaiake Alfred; Raúl Alcaraz and Daniel Carrillo’s Indocumentalismo Manifesto, an Emerging Socio-Political Ideological Identity (2010); and Olympe DeGouges’s 1791 Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen.  Joelle was thrilled to join George Lewis and Sean Griffin to perform their works at the Ojai 2017 Summer Festival

Opera News reviewed, "Joelle Lamarre's soprano has a glorious lyrical bloom that allows her to explore realms of the imagination that lie beyond the everyday."

In addition to performing across genres in theatre and opera, Joelle is a multi-faceted artist who pushes boundaries as a writer, music director and artistic advisor.  Joelle joined American Repertory Theater in Boston as Associate Music Director for The Black Clown, a world premiere musical adaptation of the Langston Hughes poem by Davóne Tines & Michael Schachter. The Black Clown floored audiences and critics alike at Lincoln Center's Mozart Festival, where it was hailed as “a remarkable new music-theater work of significance and disturbing beauty… illuminat[ing] 300 years of the black experience within white America in a mere 70 minutes.”  

Joelle’s “must-see” performance of the powerful aria “I am Moses” from Nkeiru Okoye’s Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed That Line to Freedom, was a standout highlight of South Shore Opera Company of Chicago's 10th Anniversary Concert, recreating the role of Harriet Tubman, which she performed in the company’s 2016 production, directed by the legendary Chuck Smith.  Joelle is a favorite South Shore Opera Company artist since its inception, and she serves as Artistic Advisor for the company.  

In February 2017, South Shore Opera Company of Chicago invited Joelle to present a work of her own, The Violet Hour, which explores the career of acclaimed soprano Leontyne Price’s rise to prominence during the 1950’s and 60’s, despite the segregation and discrimination prevalent in America.  In addition to writing the play, Joelle portrayed Miss Price in scenes from her youth in Mississippi through her final performance at the Metropolitan Opera, singing Price’s signature repertoire from gospel to Gershwin, Verdi and Samuel Barber.  Joelle also portrayed Price’s mother, aunt and Juilliard voice teacher in Amy Hutchison’s multimedia production, which also featured Robert Sims and Matthew Holzfeind, with pianist Saori Chiba as music director.  The script is currently being reimagined and in development as a 3 Arts Artist project

Joelle’s musical theatre performances include Hattie in Kiss Me Kate with Culver City Symphony Orchestra; Madame de la Grand Bouche in Beauty and the Beast for Chicago Shakespeare Theater; Lily in Porgy in Bess with Court Theatre; and Aunt Elizabeth in The Nativity, The Goodman’s collaboration with Congo Square Theatre.  Joelle made her Lyric Opera of Chicago debut in Show Boat as Lady on the Levee and covered the role of Lily in Porgy and Bess.  International touring credits include Serena in Porgy and Bess for New York Harlem Productions’ European tour, and performances at Universal Studios of Japan in Osaka, including the Blues Brothers and White Christmas Carol. 

Chicago audiences were enthralled by Joelle’s role debut as Cio-Cio-San in Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, American Chamber Opera’s production by Jennifer Cox, set in Mubasa, Kenya.  Concert and recital performances include the Chicago Humanities Festival concert Power Couples joining Rob Lindley and Doug Peck to celebrate a decade of their Flory Concert, bringing to life famous duets by artists such as Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong, Judy Garland & Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross & Lionel Richie, Aretha Franklin & Annie Lennox, and many more.  Last summer, Joelle joined forces with Daniel Schlosberg for the Fleetwood-Jourdain Theater's Concert series, where she gave a recital featuring Faure and songs from living black female composers. She has also appeared in Chicago Opera Theater’s showcase at The Goodman: Illustration, curated by Luther Lewis. Soloist concert credits include; Duke Ellington Sacred Concert, Mozart’s Requiem, Haydn’s Missa Sancti Nicolai, Schubert’s Mass in G, and Handel's Messiah. 

Her awards include the 3Arts Make a Wave grant, BRAVO award from Bel Canto Foundation, the ANNAMARIE GERTS AWARD from the Musicians Club of Women and several vocal scholarships for VoicExperience. She received her M.M. in vocal performance from Northwestern University, where she created the role of Flora in T. J. Anderson’s Slipknot. 


Opera News reviewed, "Joelle Lamarre's soprano has a glorious lyrical bloom that allows her to explore realms of the imagination that lie beyond the everyday."

Financial Times reviewed, “Lamarre impressively balancing urgency against tonal clarity.” 

LA Times listing Joelle Lamarre as a, “compelling singer.”

NY Times Review

“…impressive vocal soloist(s).”

Chicago Tribune Review

“Joelle Lamarre excelled as Sister Rose, Helen's close friend and co-worker,”

Chicago Classical Review

“Joelle Lamarre offered a powerful soprano as Helen’s friend and colleague, Sister Rose.”

Chicago Theater Beat Review 

Joelle Lamarre gives a feisty wardrobe an operatic charm.” Beauty and the Beast

Daily Herald Review

“That sumptuous song, which finds strawberry seller LaMarre offering fruit to audience members, …”

“…kudos to … Joelle LaMarre, whose gorgeous voice gets an all-too-brief showcase during the exquisite street vendors' serenade.”

Splash Magazine Review

“When Joelle Lamarre (Lily) peddles her wares as the strawberry woman, she bestows samples of the sparkling berries to a couple of audience members as she sings her luscious lullaby, literally touching an audience that is already deeply engaged.”

Chicago Magazine Review

“The year-old company provides a stage for local African American talent, such as the Northwestern graduate Joelle Lamarre, whose voice Lynn describes as a “young Leontyne Price.”