Title: Associate Professor of Opera Coaching
Office: 225 Dieterle Vocal Arts Cntr
Kathleen Kelly was the first woman and first American named as director of musical studies at Vienna State Opera, where she oversaw the daily musical life of more than 50 ensemble singers in more than 50 operas from 2010 to 2013. She also curated a recital series in the opera house’s famous Mahlersaal and served as the series’ principal pianist. She was the recitative accompanist for new productions of The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni, and assisted Maestro Franz Welser-Möst on new productions of Kát’a Kabanová and Z mrtvého domu.
Before moving overseas, Kelly served as the music director of the Houston Grand Opera Studio as well as the company’s head of music staff from 2006 to 2010. Highlights of these years include conducting her own chamber music arrangement of Hansel und Gretel in a remarkable production by Basil Twist, serving as pianist for the Eleanor McCollum competition and curating the HGOS recital series at Rienzi.
From 1997 to 2006, Kelly served as an assistant to the music director at the Metropolitan Opera, specializing in the works of Wagner, Strauss and Berg. During that time, because of her success as a prompter and musical assistant, she was the focus of a Wall Street Journal article and a Metropolitan Opera radio broadcast feature. From 2005 to 2008 Kelly was also the music director of the Berkshire Opera, conducting two productions each summer and overseeing the young artist program.
As a conductor, Kelly has led the 2018 Schwabacher Concerts at the San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program, Francesca Zambello’s critically acclaimed Ariadne auf Naxos at the Glimmerglass Festival (nominated for an International Opera Award), The Marriage of Figaro at Wolf Trap, the premiere of Emmerich Kálmán’s Arizona Lady at Arizona Opera, Carmen and Madama Butterfly at Opera Columbus, Hansel und Gretel at El Paso Opera and the Alexandria Symphony in Virginia. She also conducted the West Coast premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s A Coffin in Egypt, starring Frederica von Stade.
Kelly earned Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees in piano performance from Arizona State University and received a Fulbright Scholarship in Music to study at the Musikhochschule Lübeck in Germany. She has performed internationally as a recital pianist, including performances at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Vienna’s Musikverein and Tucson’s Desert Song Festival. Her recital partners have included Jamie Barton, Thomas Hampson, Renee Fleming, Christine Goerke, Albina Shagimuratova, Valentina Nafornita, Patrick Carfizzi, Michael Kelly, Jill Grove and Troy Cook.
Kelly has taught master classes in the United States and internationally, including at Interlochen Academy, CCM, Baylor University, Vanderbilt University, Arizona State University, Western Ontario University, Peabody Conservatory and Moscow Conservatory, among others. She is also a regular guest coach for Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz program, and works regularly with young artist programs nationally, notably at the Los Angeles Opera, the Chicago Lyric Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Seattle Opera and in the CoOperative Training Program at Westminster Choir College.
Additionally, Kelly is gaining recognition as a writer of articles, translations and original texts. She has written lead program articles for Wolf Trap, Houston Grand Opera and Arizona Opera. For the Arizona Lady performances, she created a new trilingual adaptation of the libretto. She also wrote the text Texanische Liebeslieder, a song cycle by David Hanlon, which premiered in 2015.