Kathleen Kelly’s projects and repertoire are wide-ranging and diverse. From Mozart to commissioned works by her peers, she is both deeply experienced in the classical vocal canon and engaged in new creation. Recent notable projects include a recording with soprano Emily Albrink, FORCE OF NATURE, of four world premiere song cycles which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Traditional Classical Chart. Additionally, she music directed the opera FAT PIG, composed for activist soprano Tracy Cox, and the filmed opera Interstate, composed by Kamala Sankaram, co-authored and performed by Kathleen and soprano Jennifer Cresswell, produced by Minnesota Opera, and now streaming on Marquee TV.
The first woman and first American named as Director of Musical Studies at the Vienna State Opera, Kathleen’s operatic experience is the backbone of her career. Trained at the San Francisco Opera, she joined the company’s music staff and moved from there to a long association with the Metropolitan Opera. She was head of music at Houston Grand Opera, and music director of the Berkshire Opera before moving to Vienna. Kathleen has conducted at the Glimmerglass Festival, Wolf Trap Opera, Arizona Opera, El Paso Opera, Opera Columbus, the Merola Program, and the Alexandria Symphony, and has been a visiting master coach for the prestigious young artist programs of Chicago Lyric Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Washington National Opera, and the Canadian Opera Company. [read more...]
"... most unforgettable is the final song, “You”..." – San Francisco Chronicle
Jamie Barton in Recital – "Perhaps most unforgettable is the final song, “You,” with a text by the pianist and educator Kathleen Kelly, Barton’s longtime recital partner. The words convey the power of distance and memory in shaping onscreen interactions between loved ones, and Heggie sets it to music of almost translucent emotion. Small wonder that Barton teared up in the course of delivering it, and she was hardly alone."
"... a pianist with a voice and imagination..." – London Times
Recital Tour with Jaime Barton – "American mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton brought...Kathleen Kelly, a pianist with a voice and imagination as distinctive, versatile and capacious as hers, and a programme that combined grandeur, fantasy and relatability — that much-mocked ability to cut through the perceived limitations of art song and touch a kind of folk memory.”
"... Kathleen Kelly’s dynamic musical direction..." – San Francisco Classical Voice
Schwabacher Summer Scenes Concert – “Among some 30 Merola opening concerts I’ve seen, many provided great discoveries, but the intensity of the entire 2018 edition...seemed unique...under Kathleen Kelly’s dynamic musical direction and former “Merolina” Aria Umezawa’s restrained staging...Kelly’s orchestra throve apace and once again the conductor secured the primacy of voices.”
"... with a flair that matched the continual spark onstage..." – Opera News
Le nozze di Figaro – “Part of that eloquence came from the tasteful application of embellishment, which all the principals employed throughout the performance to valuable effect...In the pit, Kathleen Kelly conducted a generally tidy, smartly-paced account of the score...articulated with a flair that matched the continual spark onstage.”
"... Kathleen Kelly’s incisive conducting..." – Wall Street Journal
Ariadne auf Naxos – “Kathleen Kelly’s incisive conducting...complemented Ms. Zambello’s antic directing in Act I and expanded into supportive, long-breathed phrases in Act II.”
"... fine musical direction by conductor Kathleen Kelly..." – Huffington Post
A Coffin in Egypt – “All the elements of this production seem to fall effortlessly into place, from the striking set...to the fine musical direction by conductor Kathleen Kelly.”