When Guy Sebastian made Australia’s Eurovision debut in 2015, he wasn’t the only Australian taking part in the competition. Armenia's representatives 'Genealogy' featured six singers of Armenian heritage from around the world, one of them being Australia’s own soprano Mary-Jean O’Doherty.
Mary-Jean was actually born in Houston, Texas in 1982 to an Australian father and an Armenian mother from Greece. She studied at both the North Carolina School of the Arts and East Carolina University and has a Bachelor of Music degree majoring in voice and flute performance and a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Psychology.
After graduating, Mary-Jean moved to Sydney and took part in the 2006 Operatunity Oz talent search where she was one of the finalists. In 2007 she won the ABC Symphony Australia Young Vocalist Award and in 2008 was the inaugural recipient of the Australian International Opera Award. Part of this prize included a scholarship to study at the Cardiff International Academy of Voice in Wales.
On completion of her studies, Mary-Jean began her professional career and has perfomed with various companies across the globe including Wales, England, Czech Republic, Australia, Italy, Spain, Israel and Austria. Her notable operatic roles include: The Queen of the Night (Die Zauberflöte), Lucia (Lucia di Lammermoor), Konstanze (Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Zerbinetta (Ariadne auf Naxos), and Lulu (Lulu). She was also a finalist at the 10th Aragall Singing competition in Sabadell, Spain in 2010 and the Stuart Burrows International Vocal Competition in Wales 2011. In 2013, she took first prize at the prestigious Paris Opera Awards.
In March 2015, it was announced that Mary would form part of Armenian supergroup ‘Genealogy’ to represent Armenia at the Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna. Armenian first lady Rita Sargsyan handpicked six singers of Armenian heritage from across the globe to make up the group. Apart from Australia’s O’Doherty, other members were Inga Arshakyan (Armenia), Vahe Tilbian (Ethipia), Tamar Kaprelian (United States of America), Stephanie Topalian (Japan) and Essai Altounian (France).
The group’s song ‘Face The Shadow’ was written by Inna Mkrtchyan and composed by Armen Martirosiyan. O’Doherty told the Sydney Morning Herald Martirosiyan “showcased our unique voices and captured our individual styles brilliantly in the song - each of us add something very special to the song and I'm thrilled to be representing the 'operatic' element."
"I feel so excited and hugely honoured to be part of Genealogy. My mum is so proud of me! She cried when she found out I was selected."
An accompanying video for 'Face the Shadow' was released at the same time.
Along with the other foreign members of Genealogy, Mary-Jean received an Armenian passport from President Serzh Sargsyan on 28 April 2015, just a few weeks before the group’s Eurovision performance.
'Face The Shadow' finished seventh in the first semi-final at Eurovision, progressing through to the Grand Final where it finished in 16th place.
Mary-Jean, who is married to Welsh pianist Caradog Williams, has kept out of the spotlight since her Eurovision performance with most of her social media sites having no updates for a number of years.
She appears to be most active on her Facebook page and YouTube channel where she last posted several videos of herself singing in 2019, including this performance of the 'Italian Queen's Aria'.
You can find out more about Mary-Jean here -
YouTube channel - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6W5KD0E0XYSyLED0Hv45vg
Twitter - @MaryJeanSoprano
Instagram – maryjean_odoherty
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