Celia Lobo, opera diva and mother of choreographer Ashley Lobo, dies at 87

Touted as India’s only opera diva, Celia is survived by her son, celebrated choreographer Ashley Lobo, and her daughters, Deirdre Lobo, a vocal coach, and Carolyn Vincent, a philanthropist

Published - June 21, 2024 12:56 pm IST

Celia Lobo

Celia Lobo | Photo Credit: @ashley.lobo/Instagram

Vocal coach and musical theatre director Celia Lobo has died following a prolonged illness, her family said on Thursday. She was 87.

Celia passed away on Tuesday morning at her home surrounded by family, including her son and celebrated choreographer Ashley Lobo.

Ashley, known for his work in Imtiaz Ali films such as Jab We Met, Love Aaj Kal, and Tamasha, penned a heartfelt note on Instagram in memory of his mother.

Touted as India's only opera diva, Celia is also survived by daughters Deirdre Lobo, a vocal coach, and Carolyn Vincent, a philanthropist.

Born in 1937, the artiste was raised by the Baptistas, a musical family steeped in operatic traditions. In the 1960s, she joined the Bombay Madrigal Singers Organisation (BMSO), which staged operas in Mumbai.

She went on to study at London's Guildhall School of Music & Drama, and subsequently worked with the BMSO once she returned to India.

At BMSO, Celia played the female lead in "Tosca" by Giacomo Puccini, Gaetano Donizetti’s "Lucia di Lammermoor", Giuseppe Verdi’s "La Traviata" and "Rigoletto", and Vincenzo Bellini’s "Norma".

After BMSO shut down, Celia ventured into writing, directing, and vocal training. Singers Sunidhi Chauhan, Shweta Shetty, Sunita Rao, Neeti Mohan as well as choreographer Shiamak Davar are some of her illustrious students.

She also directed plays and musicals and performed concerts in Mumbai, Delhi, Goa, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Apart from being an accomplished musician, Celia also worked as a corporate executive.

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