Collaborative Piano, Librettist, Opera Coach
Kathleen Kelly
(She/Her)  KATHLEEN KELLY’s recent projects include "Force of Nature," a recording with soprano Emily Albrink; conducting the world premiere of Matt Bohler’s opera FAT PIG: and appearing in Kamala Sankaram's INTERSTATE, now streaming on Marquee TV. She has appeared in recital internationally, including at Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and Vienna’s Musikverein. She has worked with many companies including the San Francisco, Metropolitan, Houston Grand, and Vienna State Operas, and she writes on womens’ issues in the opera industry.
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Currently Performing
Arizona District Auditions
The Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition
ADA Artist Management, Maplewood, NJ
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Recent Highlights



Kathleen Kelly

 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 of four world premiere song cycles, music directorship of 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. 


Kathleen’s recital career includes appearances at Wigmore Hall, Weill Hall, Zankel Hall, the Kennedy Center, Vienna’s Musikverein, the Mahlersaal of the Vienna State Opera, the Neue Galerie, the Schwabacher Series in San Francisco, and the Tucson Desert Song Festival. Her notable partners have included Jamie Barton, Emily Albrink Katz, Michael Kelly, Karen Slack, Ryan McKinny, Christine Goerke, Troy Cook, Elena Villalon, Laura Levoir, Amber Wagner, Sorin Coliban, Ariana Strahl, Martha Guth, Karen Slack, and Jennifer Holloway. She has curated art song series for the Houston Grand Opera and the Vienna State Opera.


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 of Michigan, the Peabody Conservatory, University of Washington, Westminster Choir College, and Interlochen. She has served on the juries of the Wirth Prize at McGill University, the Dallas Opera Guild competition, the Kristin Lewis Foundation Scholarship auditions, the Cooper-Bing competition, the Richard Tucker Foundation, the Jensen Foundation, and the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions. 


Kathleen’s commitment to new music, particularly American music, is a major part of her musical life. She is active as an emcee for Sparks and Wiry Cries’ songSLAM events, which supports new work. In 2022, she will perform or conduct world premieres by Matt Boehler, Reinaldo Moya, Jake Heggie, Naila Nombeko, Rene Orth, and Steven Rouse. A published poet and essayist, Kathleen has created several new opera translations and libretti. Her poem “”You” was chosen as one of five poems for Jake Heggie’s new cycle “What I Miss,” composed for Jamie Barton. Her poems have also been set by composers David Hanlon, Jamie Leidwinger, and Juliana hall. Her English adaptation of Hansel and Gretel, commissioned by Tri-Cities Opera, is now in use alongside her chamber orchestra arrangement of the work. For Arizona Opera, she created a multilingual version of Emmerich Kalman’s Arizona Lady, and she wrote the libretto for David Hanlon’s Wolf Trap premiere Listen, Wilhelmina! Her English adaptation of Smetana’s The Bartered Bride premiered in 2019, and her English adaptation of La boheme commissioned by Opera Columbus premiered in 2021. 


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Kathleen Kelly

Kathleen Kelly

Collaborative Piano, Librettist, Opera Coach

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