Remembering Jodie Devos

Jodie Devos, the celebrated Belgian soprano, passed away last Sunday, June 16, as a result of rapidly-progressing breast cancer. She was 35. At the time of her death in Paris, she was surrounded by family.

In a social media post, soprano Barbara Hannigan remembered Devos as “a beautiful artist, vibrant and radiant of sound and presence.” In a statement to Belgian news channel VRT, conductor Dirk Brossé said, “We have lost one of our very greatest Belgian musicians.”

Devos began singing classes at the age of five, and went on to earn a master’s degree from the Royal Academy of Music in London. In 2014, she won second prize at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels. The same year, she joined Opéra-Comique in Paris. Devos performed throughout the world, and released three solo albums: Offenbach – Colorature in 2019, And Love Said in 2021, and Bijout perdu in 2022.

Devos excelled in coloratura repertoire such as Mozart, Rossini, Donizetti, and Verdi. Here is a sample of her recordings:

Mozart: Idomeneo, Act II Scene 2: “Se il padre perdei”

In Mozart’s 1781 opera, Idomeneo, re di Creta, K. 366, Ilia, the daughter of the defeated King Priam, has been taken to Crete following the Trojan War. She falls in love with Idamante, the son of the Cretan King Idomeneo. The King is dealing with a catastrophe. He was saved from a shipwreck, only after promising Neptune (god of the sea) that he would sacrifice the first living person he sees. That person turns out to be his son, Idamante.

Meanwhile, in the poignant and majestic second act aria, Se il padre perdei (“I have lost my father”), Ilia, moved by the King’s kind words, declares that, although she has lost everything, she is happy in Crete, and she sees him as her new father.

Mozart: The Magic Flute, Queen of the Night Aria

Mozart’s iconic “Queen of the Night” aria (“Hell’s vengeance boils in my heart”) is the raging rant of a vengeful mother. Jodie Devos performs with effortless virtuosity:

Debussy: Apparition

Claude Debussy’s 1884 song, Apparition, is a setting of a poem by Stéphane Mallarmé. It depicts the hazy memory of a lover’s first kiss, and the woman’s illusory reappearance in a sun-drenched street during the evening. This performance, with pianist Daniel Thonnard, was recorded live at the 2014 Queen Elisabeth Competition:

Walton: Daphne, Three Songs from “Façade

A setting of a poem by Edith Sitwell, Daphne is part of William Walton’s, Façade – An Entertainment. The work features primarily spoken words over music, but the Three Songs, published in 1932, are sung. Here, Jodie Devos is joined by pianist, Nicolas Krüger:

Arlen: “Over the Rainbow”

Written for the 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz, with music by Harold Arlen and lyrics by Yip Harburg, here is Over the Rainbow. Jodie Devos is joined by pianist Ismaël Margain:


About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

4 thoughts on “Remembering Jodie Devos”

    • Hmm. That’s a very interesting hypothesis.

      We all certainly know women who had breast cancer in the decades before 2020, so I wouldn’t jump straight to the same conclusion you’ve reached.

      However, there has certainly been an obvious increase in these highly aggressive cancers since 2021, and studies should be done looking at these cancers and common chemical exposures since then — not just new injectable technology as you have mentioned, but also things like exposure to RoundUp weedkiller (I don’t understand why it’s still on the market in the US), toxic environmental exposures (such as the train derailment in East Palestine Ohio in 2023, living downstream from DuPont’s TFal factory, etc. There was even a movie about that last one, see — gotta wonder how many children/grandchildren of those victims have significantly higher risk of cancer.

      I would also like to see studies comparing the risk of aggressive breast cancer between women who do frequent international travel and those who do not. I do not trust that the TSA are capable of ensuring that their body scanners do not raise the risk of breast cancer in susceptible women (or any cancers). On top of that, even the EPA admits that long-haul air travel exposes passengers/crew to higher doses of cosmic radiation. See,short%2Dhaul%20flights%20to%20Europe.

      While that would seem to be the most obvious potential factor for an internationally-renowned musician, a really good study would look at several potential factors, and might be able to find a potential link between multiple factors, say, receiving a new-technology vaccine shortly before embarking on multiple long-haul international flights.

      Rest in peace, Jodie Devon


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