A PERSONAL TAKE
Teaching is at the heart of our profession. We all have to learn how to decipher the road maps left to us by composers in the form of scores. We have to learn from practitioners how to make good noise. We learn a whole host of traditions, tips, and tricks from those who have gone before. And if you’re lucky enough to stick around for a while, you get younger mentors, who teach you new perspectives on all that history through their fresher eyes. To be involved in teaching is to be constantly renewed! When I’m not doing that, I’m trying to feast my eyes on other inspiring sights.
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. Her 2021-22 season finds her on recital stages in Washington DC, Lawrence, Louisville, and Cincinnati, on the podium leading a world premiere opera in Charlottesville, judging competitions in Lexington and New York City, and immersed in teaching residencies in Wichita, Fort Worth, Washington DC, and Houston. Most notably, Kathleen was featured alongside co-librettist and soprano Jennifer Cresswell in the filmed opera Interstate, composed by Kamala Sankaram and produced by Minnesota Opera and Helio Arts.
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.
In demand as a mentor of rising artists, Kathleen has given masterclasses and workshops across North America, among others at the University of Toronto, the Schulich School at McGill University, University of Cincinnati, Baylor University, Vanderbilt University, University of Texas at Austin, University