Possessing a voice of uncommon allure, musical sophistication far beyond her years, and intuitive and innate dramatic artistry, the Grammy® Award-winning mezzo-soprano Kelley O'Connor has emerged as one of the most compelling performers of her generation.
During the 2015-16 season, the California native’s impressive calendar includes Mahler’s Second Symphony with Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Andrew Litton and the Colorado Symphony, Leonard Slatkin and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony, Mahler’s Third Symphony with Franz Welser-Möst and the Cleveland Orchestra and Giancarlo Guerrero leading the Nashville Symphony, Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with Donald Runnicles at the Grand Tetons Music Festival, Lieberson’s Neruda Songs with Robert Spano and the Minnesota Orchestra, and Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette with Leonard Slatkin and the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra.
Performances of the past season included Donizetti’s Anna Bolena at the Lyric Opera of Chicago conducted by Patrick Summers and directed by Kevin Newbury, Suzuki in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly with the Minnesota Orchestra, and La traviata with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl. She joined Louis Langrée and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra for the Mozart Requiem and returned to the Philadelphia Orchestra for Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass conducted by Alan Gilbert. With Donald Runnicles conducting the Berliner Philharmoniker, she gave performances of Debussy’s La Damoiselle élue and Duruflé’s Requiem, and presented the world premiere of Christopher Theofanidis’s Creation Oratorio with Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
Recent concert seasons include performances of Beethoven’s Mass in C during an international tour with Franz Welser- Möst and the Cleveland Orchestra, John Adams’ El Niño under the baton of Vladimir Jurowski with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, a US recital tour with soprano Jessica Rivera and pianist Robert Spano including a performance at Carnegie Hall, Ravel’s Shéhérazade with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia Orchestra at the Edinburgh Festival, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony as well as with Roberto Minczuk and the Calgary Philharmonic, Stravinsky’s Les Noces with David Robertson and the St. Louis Symphony, and Elgar’s Sea Pictures and Britten’s Spring Symphony with Edward Gardner and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. John Adams wrote the title role of The Gospel According to the Other Mary for Kelley O’Connor and she has performed the work, internationally, both in concert and in the Peter Sellars production, under the batons of the composer, Gustavo Dudamel, and Grant Gershon.
Miss O’Connor’s operatic highlights include performances of Suzuki in Madama Butterfly in a new production by Lillian Groag at the Boston Lyric Opera and at the Cincinnati Opera under the baton of Ramón Tebar, Ursule in Berlioz’s Béatrice et Bénédict at Opera Boston, Meg Page in Falstaff with the Santa Fe Opera, and Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Canadian Opera Company.
Miss O’Connor’s international debuts include the Proms Festival with Jirí Belohlávek and the BBC Symphony Orchestra in performances of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony and the Edinburgh International Festival with James Conlon and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in performances of Adams’s El Niño. She has sung Lieberson’s Neruda Songs with Christoph Eschenbach and the National Symphony Orchestra, with Bernard Haitink and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, as well as with David Zinman and the Berliner Philharmoniker and the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich. In addition, she has performed Berio’s Folk Songs with Daniel Harding and the London Symphony Orchestra at the Berlin Festival and Mahler’s Third Symphony with Edo de Waart and the Hong Kong Philharmonic. She toured with Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra in performances of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and with Andrew Manze and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin in performances of Mendelssohn’s Elias.
Miss O’Connor has given numerous performances with Gustavo Dudamel, including Bernstein’s “Jeremiah” Symphony on an international tour with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony with the Simón Bolívar Orchestra. With Christoph Eschenbach and the National Symphony Orchestra, she offered excerpts from Roussel’s Padmâvatî and the world premiere of a vocal work written for Miss O’Connor by the legendary Indian musician, Zakir Hussain. Additional performanes include Ravel’s L'enfant et les sortilèges with Lorin Maazel and the New York Philharmonic, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Bernard Haitink and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Weill’s Die sieben Todsünden with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and Stravinsky’s Les Noces with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The artist enjoys a rich musical collaboration with Franz Welser-Möst and the Cleveland Orchestra with whom she has sung Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Bernstein’s “Jeremiah” Symphony, staged performances of Falstaff both in Cleveland and at the Lucerne Festival, and Stravinsky’s Requiem Canticles.
Kelley O’Connor has received unanimous international, critical acclaim for her numerous performances as Federico García Lorca in Osvaldo Golijov's Ainadamar. Miss O'Connor created the role for the world premiere at Tanglewood, under the baton of Robert Spano, and subsequently joined Miguel Harth-Bedoya for performances of Golijov’s piece with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. She reprised her “musically seductive, palpably charismatic” (Washington Post) portrayal of Lorca in the world-premiere of the revised edition of Ainadamar at the Santa Fe Opera in a new staging by Peter Sellars during the 2005 season, which was also presented at New York City’s Lincoln Center and Madrid’s Teatro Real. For her debut with the Atlanta Symphony in Ainadamar, she joined Robert Spano for performances and a Grammy® Award-winning Deutsche Grammophon recording. Her discography also includes Lieberson’s Neruda Songs with Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony as well as Adams’ The Gospel According to the Other Mary with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Franz Welser-Möst and the Cleveland Orchestra, both for Deutsche Grammophon.