Jarvis Dams

Jarvis Dams. Photo: WinkiPoP Media

An interview with Jarvis Dams


Jarvis Dams, winner of The Sydney Eisteddfod Opera Scholarship 2018, talks  about his passion for singing and what attracted him most to the world of opera.

What inspired your passion for opera?

In my opinion opera is one of the most amazing art forms ever. There are so many aspects of it that make it great, however, I would have to say that my favourite part of opera is the stories that they tell. There are a few mediums like opera that can truly convey the absolute joy of a story like La Cenerentola or the tragedy of Madam Butterfly.

Who inspired you to start singing?

I started singing at the early age of 9 years old. My older sister entered me as a duet partner in a local singing competition and I managed to catch the bug from there.

 How did you discover your operatic voice?

I discovered my passion for singing opera when I was sixteen years old and was cast as the lawyer in Opera Factory’s production of Gianni Schicchi. It was my first time performing a role in a staged production and I absolutely fell in love with it from then on.

Who inspires you and why?

There are so many, however, my greatest inspiration comes from one of my first singing teachers Betty Miller, who taught me how to really love singing and that making music should always be fun!

Tell us a little bit about one of the pieces you performed at the Semi-Final and why you chose it.

One of the aria’s I performed was Hai gia vinta la causa from Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro. This opera is an absolute staple for all opera lovers. The level of complexity in the plot makes it an absolute joy to perform and watch and it’s a must see for anyone that is interested in opera.

Which other performers do you most like to listen to, and why?

I really love listening to a lot of different singers, but my absolute favourites for the moment would have to be Leo Nucci and Renato Bruson. Both of these singers are absolute technical masters of the voice and it is really inspiring to see how they utilise the text as much as possible to guide them dramatically.

What is the best piece of performance advice you've ever heard?

One of my coaches once told me “the devil is in the detail” and one of the key parts of being a performer is the preparation of your music. There is so much information that is already given to us by the composer that we can find and use to help us.