American soprano Kiera Duffy is recognized for both her gleaming high soprano and insightful musicianship in repertoire that encompasses Handel, Bach, and Mozart to the modern sounds of Berg, Glass, and Zorn.
In 23/24 Kiera returns to Opera Philadelphia for the world premiere of Rene Orth’s 10 Days in a Madhouse. Recent engagements include Pierre Lunaire with Long Beach Opera, a debut with the Cleveland Orchestra in Mozart’s Exsultate, jubilate conducted by Harry Bicket, and returns to the Los Angeles Philharmonic for Knussen’s “O Hototogisu! fragment of a Japonisme” conducted by Daniela Harding, appearances with the Berlin Philharmonic as Le Feu/Princesse in L’enfant et les sortilèges, Lembit Beecher’s world premiere opera Sophia’s Forest in Philadelphia, and a solo recital at the Midland Center for the Arts in Michigan. Ms. Duffy also sang a world premiere by composer Michael Hersch with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra at the Ojai and Edinburgh Festivals. Upcoming engagements include a residency at the University of Iowa in collaboration with Miró String.
Kiera Duffy recently earned the highest critical praise for the world premiere of Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek’s Breaking the Waves as Bess McNeill at Opera Philadelphia. “Duffy rolled back time to become what great opera singers are supposed to be but usually aren’t now—an unforgettable embodiment of profound emotion through music” (Parterre Box). She has also been seen as Le Feu/La Princesse in the Laurent Pelly production of Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges at the Seiji Ozawa Music Academy in Japan under the leadership of Maestro Ozawa, her Metropolitan Opera debut as a Flower Maiden in the new production of Parsifal conducted by Daniele Gatti, which was an HD broadcast, and at the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire. She was seen at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival in “The Illuminated Heart” in selections from Mozart’s operas. A specialist in modern and rarely heard operas, she has been seen as Queen Tye in Philip Glass’ Akhnaten Atlanta Opera, Ghita in Vicente Martín y Soler’s rarely performed opera Una cosa rara at Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Violet Beauregard in the European premiere of The Golden Ticket and Florestine in Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles at the Wexford Festival, as well as the Center for Contemporary Opera’s new production of Morton Feldman’s only “anti-opera” Neither at the Brut Wien.
Ms. Duffy’s prolific concert career has seen her with many of the world’s greatest orchestras and conductors. She has been seen at Carnegie Hall in Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire with James Levine and the MET Chamber Ensemble; New York Philharmonic (Boulez’s Pli selon pli: “Improvisation II sur Mallarmé” conducted by Lorin Maazel; Venus in the critically acclaimed performances of György Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre under Alan Gilbert); Los Angeles Philharmonic (Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 conducted by Gustavo Dudamel; Symphony No. 2 conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas; György Ligeti’s Aventures and Nouvelles Aventures; Pierrot Lunaire; Unsuk Chin’s Cantatrix Sopranica; Mozart’s Exsultate, jubilate under Dudamel and Berio’s Recital for Cathy in the Green Umbrella Series); San Francisco Symphony (Handel’s Messiah; Mozart’s Requiem; Feldman’s Rothko Chapel, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 conducted by Herbert Blomstedt); Chicago Symphony Orchestra (Pierrot Lunaire); National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center (Messiah); London Symphony Orchestra (Cunegonde in Candide under Kristjan Järvi); Bergen Philharmonic (Mozart’s Mass in C minor with Nathalie Stutzmann conducting); Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (Carmina Burana with Andreas Delfs); Detroit Symphony (Carmina Burana with Leonard Slatkin); Atlanta Symphony (Debussy’s La damoiselle élue with Donald Runnicles; Mozart’s Coronation Mass under Roberto Abbado; Carmina Burana with Robert Spano); Houston Symphony (Fauré’s Requiem); St. Louis Symphony (Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915); American Symphony Orchestra (Lulu Suite with Leon Botstein at Bard Summerscape); New World Symphony (Mahler’s Symphony No. 4; David del Tredici’s Syzygy in Miami and San Francisco Symphony in San Francisco, then on tour to Ann Arbor and Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall in New York, both with Michael Tilson Thomas); Australian Chamber Orchestra (Mahler’s Symphony No. 4); Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig (Carmina Burana under Kristjan Järvi). In addition to her varied work in modern music, Ms. Duffy excels in baroque music and has worked extensively with the baroque ensemble Apollo’s Fire, most notably for performances and a recording of Handel’s music written for the British monarchy and in Michael Praetorius’s Christmas “Vespers”, as well as baroque performances with Boston Baroque and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.
Her first commercial recording “Richard Strauss: The Complete Songs, Volume 5” with legendary pianist Roger Vignoles is available on Hyperion Records. Her discography also includes Carmina Burana on Sony with Mitteldeutsche Rundfunk, Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 on Deutsche Grammophon with Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Philharmonic, and Fairouz’s No Orpheus on Naxos. She debuted at Wigrmore Hall in recital with Vignoles in an all-Strauss program and performed Ginastera’s Quartet No. 3 with the Miro Quartet at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, where she also was seen in a complete George Crumb program. Ms. Duffy has appeared with much success at the Tanglewood Festival with the Boston Symphony Orchestra as Despina in Così fan tutte, Tebaldo in Don Carlo, and the US premiere of Elliot Carter’s What Next?, all under the baton of James Levine.
Ms. Duffy was a finalist in The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and is featured in the film “The Audition” which has recently been released on DVD by Decca. She was an accomplished pianist before pursuing singing and holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from Westminster Choir College. Ms. Duffy is the recipient of numerous awards and recognition from such esteemed organizations as the Metropolitan Opera National Council, the Philadelphia Orchestra Greenfield Competition, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and the Young Concert Artists International Competition. In addition to her active performing career, Ms. Duffy is Associate Professor and Head of the Undergraduate Voice Studies at the University of Notre Dame.