Shantanu Thaivalappil

DMA Student
Performance - Voice
Office: TC 426

Canadian operatic basso profondo, Shantanu Thaivalappil, officially started his musical studies in Hamilton, Ontario - during his last year of high school. He completed one year of music studies at Mohawk College before being accepted at Wilfrid Laurier to start his BMus. He has previously completed his MMus in Voice Performance and Literature (2020), and an Artist Diploma (2018) at Western University. After completing his BMus (2012), during the several years of private and solo voice studies, he enrolled full-time at the University of Waterloo to focus on learning as much about theater acting within one year; here he learned all the acting skills he had hoped for. He also enjoyed working numerous jobs while patiently waiting for his authentic voice to emerge. His most important musical mentors to date include Silvio Camilleri, Paul Stoia, James Westman, Simone Luti, and Todd Wieczorek. During the first two years of the pandemic, he virtually connected with a few established international opera repetiteurs and pianists to continue his ongoing research and musical studies. The technical, artistic, and personal evolution he experienced between 2020-2022 has been most remarkable.

Besides voice performance and vocal pedagogy, some of his interests include transposing & transcribing music, the art of communication, health & fitness, psychology, theater-acting, spending time outdoors, walking, photography, researching, reading, writing, guitar, piano, deep thinking, being innovative, and being solution oriented.

The opera and (music) theater roles he has performed at universities, summer programs, and various small Canadian opera companies include Bartolo in Le Nozze di Figaro, Zuniga in Carmen, Hunding in Die Walküre, all three bass roles in Don Giovanni, the title role in The Mikado, Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte, Frid/ Mr. Lindquist in A Little Night Music, Citizen in Shakespeare’s Richard III, The Minstrel in Pippin, and Bell ringer/ Goody in Vinegar Tom. He has also performed in the chorus of Beethoven’s 9th symphony, L'elisir d'amore, Così fan tutte, and Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers. His opera-excerpt and scene performances range from Ariadne auf Naxos, La Traviata, Manon, to L’incoronazione di Poppea, Dido and Aeneas, Così fan tutte, and Nabucco. He continues to study, explore, and familiarize himself with various low bass roles from the operatic canon during his spare time.

Shantanu has taught voice and beginner piano at various points during his musical studies – time and energy permitting. Today, he approaches each student differently – helping each student achieve their personal goals. His incredible intuition and empathic abilities allow him to be an excellent interpreter of operatic roles, a captivating recital singer, and an exceptional pedagogue. Since 2005, he has also been part of various church choirs, chamber choirs, and university choirs.

Currently, he is pleased to be in the doctoral program at UWO while embarking on the next chapter of his life. During the 2022-23 season, he prepares to perform the role of Pistola in Verdi’s opera Falstaff - conducted by M° Simone Luti. In May 2023, Shantanu will also be presenting a recital with his vocal coach and mentor M° Luti.

For his DMA thesis, he will explore a topic that desperately needs immediate attention in the music world: “The art and science of transposing songs for the bass voice: with a closer look into identifying the 5 types of bass voices.”