CCM Interim Dean bruce d. mcclung has announced the addition of Kathleen Kelly as the college’s new Associate Professor of Opera Coaching. An accomplished opera coach, conductor, pianist and teacher, Kelly’s appointment begins on Aug. 15, 2018.
Kelly currently serves as an associate professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre and Dance. She joined the faculty in 2015 as the school’s first coach/conductor of opera. While there, she conducted performances of Giulio Cesare, Così fan tutte, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Dinner at Eight, the difficulty of crossing a field and L’heure espagnole/Gianni Schicchi, which won the American Prize in Opera Performance. She also led workshops for The Dream of the Red Chamber, Kept and Black Clown and oversaw the musical preparation for the university-wide performances of the new critical edition of Porgy and Bess.
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.
Most recently, Kelly wrote a new English translation Hansel und Gretel for Tri-Cities Opera. She was also commissioned by Wolf Trap Opera to write the libretto for Listen Wilhelmina!, a children’s opera that premiered in May 2017.
Interim dean mcclung thanks the search committee, co-chaired by Alan Yaffe and Robin Guarino, and committee members Amy Johnson, Marie-France Lefebvre and Michelle Conda for their work on finding CCM’s new associate professor of opera coaching. He adds,
“Professor Kelly brings a wealth of experience and artistry both nationally at the Metropolitan Opera and internationally at the Vienna State Opera to CCM’s nationally ranked and internationally renowned opera program.”
Please join us in welcoming Kathleen Kelly to the CCM family!