Bella Sorella – Nova and Susanna Jiménez (sopranos) with piano and violin accompaniment – is an award-winning soprano ensemble that combines classical and contemporary styles in melodic and powerful duets. Bella Sorella’s unique music, magnetic stage presence and remarkable personal story has earned them acclaim and recognition throughout California and abroad.
Bella Sorella officially formed in the fall of 2005 but has been years in the making. What they’ve accomplished since releasing their self-produced debut CD, “Popera” is nothing less than remarkable. With music that spans more than 300 years and seven languages, Bella Sorella has dazzled audiences throughout Northern California in live performances at Villa Montalvo, the Empire Plush Room, the Little Fox Theater, El Campanil Theatre, Community Concerts Concord, AT&T Park, Saint Joseph Cathedral, Santa Clara University, Mission Santa Clara, San José State University and the San José Italian Festa. Their Southern California performances include the San Diego Indie Music Fest, the Lyceum, Palomar College, La Jolla’s Athenaeum, The Coffee Gallery, and The Gig in Hollywood. Bella Sorella has also performed at Coachman Park in Clearwater, Florida, and Nagoya, Japan, where they were featured musicians at the Villaggio Italia’s Primavera Festival. Bella Sorella’s angelic sound has graced the airwaves radio stations in the Bay Area and Japan.
They’ve given live television performances on NBC in San Diego and the Bay Area’s Bruce Latimer Show, the longest-running television variety show in the United States. Industry professionals have already taken notice of this spectacular ensemble. The Los Angeles Music Awards unanimously selected Bella Sorella as the 2007 Vocal Group of the Year.
Bella Sorella has a story that is unique as their music. Fate brought Nova and Susanna together as roommates during their freshman year at University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music in Stockton, California. As vocal performance majors, they shared all of the same classes and their common love of music made Nova and Susanna best friends. The two discovered their vocal chemistry when they began spontaneously singing songs with two part harmony as a break from long hours of study. Nova and Susanna were excited by their unique sound and searched the library for opera and art-song duet repertoire. They then brought these beautiful duets to life in concert throughout their college years.
Fate brought Nova and Susanna together again, this time at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. During their graduate studies, as in college, Nova and Susanna were roommates and best friends. While carrying a full load of classes, taking voice lessons and rehearsing for opera productions, they made ends meet by working the 6:00am shift at a local café in Boston’s Back Bay. They often sang during their shifts, and customers began requesting songs. These occasional, impromptu performances soon turned into regular one-hour salon concerts for audiences that packed the store on Sunday afternoons. Nova and Susanna eventually took their act to larger audiences, debuting at Boston’s famous Hatch Shell Theater as part of WCRB Radio’s Summer Concert Series.
Susanna eventually moved back to California while Nova remained on the East Coast to pursue independent singing careers. But nothing provided the joy that they found in singing together. Nova came back to the West Coast to join Susanna in forming Bella Sorella. The marriage of Nova’s and Susanna’s voices mirrors their personal life. Nova and Susanna married brothers, hence the name, Bella Sorella, or, “Beautiful Sister.”
While fate brought Nova and Susanna together, their friendship and love of music keeps them together. From their time in college, to their 6am work shifts, and to Japan and back, what Nova and Susanna have built is captured by a phrase from a song they perform from the opera, Norma: “Compagna tua, compagna m’avrai” – “Truly I’ll prove to you a companion.” The beauty and sincerity of Bella Sorella’s music reflect the special companionship, love and friendship Nova and Susanna share.