Joseph Oparamanuike, Nigerian Operatic Powerhouse

This is the world of an engineer turned to the epitome of classical music in Nigeria especially when it comes to the field of singing. Joseph Oparamanuike popularly knows as "Mr Tenor" is the man. Joseph is an outstanding Nigerian classical musician who is well known for his brilliancy in Opera singing and performance. He has virtually performed at almost every major classical event in Nigeria especially in Lagos and some popular opera events around the world.

Joseph Oparamanuike was born into a musical family in the small town of Ulakwo, in Imo State, Nigeria. His father, an amateur Spinto Tenor and mother, an amateur Alto gave him all the necessary support needed. After his primary education in his home town he joined the St. Peter Claver Seminary School, Okpala, Imo State, Nigeria for his secondary school education where his call for music was notice. He sang in the school choir as an alto for the period of 6 years in the school. Leaving the seminary in 1995, he joined the Youth Choir of St. Joseph Catholic Church where he began singing tenor. In the same year he was made the choirmaster of the choir. In 1996, he was invited to join the parish choir, less than a year he was made the choirmaster.

In 1997 he gained admission to study Chemical Engineering in the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Nigeria, where he joined the choir of St. Thomas Aquinas Chaplaincy Choir and was made the part leader of the tenor. Jo never stopped working on his voice alongside his engineering study. He graduated with a 2nd class honours in Chemical Engineering in year 2001.

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He made his debut as a Tenor soloist on a big stage in year 1997 and ever since then has been appearing on stages. He belongs to great choirs in Nigeria just to mention a few CoroRosa, Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON) Choir; the Musical Director of the following choir; St. Agnes Catholic Church Choir, Queen of Angels Choir, Lagos Catholic Archdiocesan choir etc. He is the leader of the Klasique Tenors.

In 2003, alongside his engineering career, he won the MUSON Talent Hunt Competition. This earned him both MUSON membership and artiste. In 2004 he sat for MUSON Grade 4 Music Theory Examination and he passing with Distinction he was further pushed to train his voice further. In 2006, he made a bold step to quit his engineering career for music.

His love for Classical Music pushed him to seek more knowledge and in 2008, he sat for The Associated Board of Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) Grade 8 examination in Music Performance (Singing) Examination; passing with Distinction, he made the best result in West Africa. He also sat for ABRSM Grade 5 Theory of Music and passed with Distinction. He passed with Distinction in Grade 8 Singing Music Performance of MUSON School of Music as well as MUSON and ABRSM Grade 6 Theory of Music and Grade 2 Piano same year.

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He was the major artiste of the memorial Concert of Luciano Pavarotti hosted by the Italian Ambassador to Nigeria in 2008. Ever since then he has been performing for different embassies in Nigeria alongside some international artists. He has appeared on several federal and national events.

Watch Joseph Oparamanuike Performing: 

Mr. Tenor sat for the ABRSM Music Performance (Singing) Diploma in singing, he still made the best result in West Africa at the Diploma level in 2009. In 2010, he also furthered his career by sitting for Licentiate Diploma of The Royal Schools of Music London (LRSM) in Singing Music Performance and Diploma in Vocal Teaching from the ABRSM] London. He was the only successful candidate in 2010 ABRSM Diploma examinations in West Africa alongside with Christian Ubani (also a Nigerian) who sat for Diploma in Organ.

Since March 2012 he has featured in several tours with the International Choir of Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival (SHMF) from Germany, France, and Italy to China where he performed Mendelssohn’s Die Erste Walpurgisnacht, Puccini’s Turandot, Brahms’ Ein Duetsches Requiem, Orlf’s Carmina Burana, Rosinni’s Stabat Mater and some other works. From his good performances and comportment he was invited again and again to sing with the choir in all her events.

Joseph has performed at three events of the 2014 Commonwealth Week as part of the 2014 Commonwealth Game in the presence of her majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh. He did make his debut at 2014 Wexford Opera Festival and 2015 Bayreuth Festival. He is currently working on the role of Prunier in Puccini’s La Rondine for RCS Production in May, 2014. He sang the concert version of Edgardo in Donizetti’s Lucia Di Lammermoor with the Scottish Opera Company Orchestra in February, 2014. He sang the following roles; Tito in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito (RCS Production, January 2014), Iro in Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria (RCS Production, November 2013) and Monostatos in Mozart’s Die Zauberfloter (RCS Production,July 2012).

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He has sung many opera scenes at RCS, these include: Tonio in Donizetti’s La Fille du RĂ©giment, Don Ramiro in Rossini’s La Cenerentola, Nemorino in Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore (2 scenes), Alfred in Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, Hoffman in Offenbach’s Les Contes D’Hoffmann, Ernesto in Donizetti’s Don Pasquale and Pong in Puccini’s Turandot. He also sang as Monk in Prokofiev’s Betrothal in a Monastery in the RCS and National Scottish Opera company production. He sang the Evangelist of Charles Wood’s St Mark’s Passion in a historic church in Cheshire, England, other oratorios which he sang both in United Kingdon and Nigeria are Mozart’s Mass in C, Mozart’s Requiem Mass, Bach’s Mass in B minor, Beethoven’s Choral 9th Symphony, and Handel’s Messiah.

In 2015, he made two performance tours to Asia and North America with Chorakademie Lubeck. He recently directed and conducted 'Patience' by Arthur Sullivan for the 2016 graduation ceremony of the Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON). Similarly, he had a very wonderful production of L’Elisir D’Amore for MUSON. Joseph Oparamanuike sang 'Ernesto' in Donizetti’s 'DON PASQUALE' at the MUSON Centre Lagos when he launched Nigeria's First Opera Company called 'Comic Opera House', founded by himself, on Saturday 3rd September, 2016. He also did launch his new Opera House in Abuja Nigeria in December 2016, when he took on the role of 'Tamino' in Mozart’s Die Zauberfloter. He also peformed at the just concluded 2nd Edition of Steinway Piano Concert Series that took place on Saturday, 20th of May 2017.

Currently, he is the Opera Director for the MTNF/MUSON Diploma School of Music Lagos Nigeria and he is also one of the International Judges for the 'First Viola Competitions' - Nigeria's First International Choral Music Competition Platform. Jo has won several competitions, awards and has many media publications back in his home country, Nigeria. In addition to his Teaching Job at MUSON School of Music in Nigeria, he was the Musical Director of St. Agnes Catholic Choir, Maryland and once the Music Director of the Lagos Catholic Archdiocesan Choir, The Music Director of The Echoes and the leader of The Klasique Tenor. He is a MUSON Artiste and a core member of the MUSON Choir.

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