Baritone and librettist Michael Kelly has been praised as “expressive and dynamic” and “vocally splendid," having recently performed with the Santa Fe Opera, Carnegie Hall, New York City Opera, the New World Symphony, Seattle Symphony, and the Cincinnati May Festival. He also performed Bernstein’s Masswith the Mostly Mozart Festival under the baton of Louis Langrée and gave the world premiere of a new chamber work by David Del Tredici at NYC's Symphony Space. In recent seasons he has been heard in Die schöne Müllerin with celebrated guitarist David Leisner, the role of Hannah Before in Kaminsky, Campbell, and Reed’s As One, the role of Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, Ein deutsches Requiem, and the title role in the NY premiere of Carlisle Floyd’s last opera Prince of Players.
Mr. Kelly is also an accomplished librettist; his poetry has been set by composers John Glover and Ben Moore, and he has upcoming projects that include creating adaptations and original libretti for Laura Kaminsky and Kamala Sankaram.
Kelly welcomes the current season with a solo cabaret at Joe’s Pub, followed by Tulsa Opera as the Pirate King in their production of The Pirates of Penzance as well as Kentucky Opera as Hannah Before in their production of As One. Last season’s engagements included the Master Voices production of Carmenand Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas with the Belle-Ile Festival, in addition to touring with Camerata RCO and featuring in the workshop for Laura Kaminsky’s upcoming world premiere February with Opera on the Avalon. [read more...]
“... a master storyteller-singer…” – American Record Guide
Die schöne Müllerin – “More than most recordings, this one makes you feel you are in the presence of a master storyteller-singer more than being at a traditional recital. Kelly uses his light lyric voice effectively with prudently applied rubato and lovely soft singing. His articulation of the text is lucid and is as thoughtfully delivered as Bostridge's but without a sense of fussiness. He uses a great range of vocal coloring and dynamics effectively, from a near whispering in 'Die Liebe Farbe' to snarling indignation in 'Der Jager.'"
"full command of the material" – Front Row Center
"The Pleasing Recollection" – "Kelly has full command of the material, from every wink of a shoulder to a dramatic high note, revealing a tenor-like sweetness at the top of this range, bolstered by the strength of his baritone center. With a simple turning of his back, a stroll around a chair to sit down again, or leaning on the piano, Kelly utilizes the whole space, refreshing the page with each intentional gesture."
"as mesmerizing as it was emotionally devastating" – Seen and Heard International
"Testaments", Brooklyn Art Song Society – "Baritone Michael Kelly’s performance of the Songs and Proverbs of William Blake was as mesmerizing as it was emotionally devastating. His voice dripped with irony as he sang Proverb II [...] and the combination of lightness and horror that he instilled into ‘The Chimney-Sweeper’ made the plight of the young lad heart-wrenching."
"his singing is sensational" – Talkin' Broadway
Kiss Me Kate, St. Petersburg Opera Company – "Michael Kelly plays Fred Graham and his singing is sensational ... His diction is superb, and he rattles off the Shakespearean dialogue ... with aplomb."
“a versatile baritone” – New York Classical Review
Prince of Players, Little Opera Theatre of New York – “As the title character, Michael Kelly showed a versatile baritone, first in scenes requiring him to portray a woman singing and later, a man … Kelly’s sensitive acting chops were impressive.”
“captures the fear and wonder of the character’s younger self” – Orlando Sentinel
As One, Opera Orlando – “Though the English libretto is projected, the singers’ diction is understandable without reading. Michael Kelly as “Hannah (Before)” captures the fear and wonder of the character’s younger self, while Elise Quagliata, as “Hannah (After),” has a more mature sensibility. Both find the moments of pain — and the moments of radiance.”