Do you select the music you sing or does the repertoire select you? Successful young singer stories and repertoire selection. With whom do you identify? Part 1- Kiera Duffy
Kiera Duffy, Soprano, and Opera and Classical Contemporary Music Singer, says sometimes it selects you. Kiera grew up in a middle-class neighborhood with parents who had a large popular music collection and a love of musical theater. She started taking piano lessons at an early age. She practiced diligently because she wanted to. She loved making music and the discipline of practice. (A trait that would follow her to Westminster Choir College and her successful career).
In high school Kiera auditioned for the musicals and chorus and didn’t start taking voice lessons until junior year. In college, Kiera thought she wanted to be a choral conductor and to figure out how singing works. Somehow she was accepted to Westminster Choir College as a voice performance major. I am a musician who happens to sing! Kiera Duffy
Kiera admits that she is a technical singer whose technique is rooted in the Bel Canto tradition. She focuses on breath, space, phonation, and resonance (Classical Singer, November 2011). Despite her musical theater and piano start in music, Kiera developed into a coloratura soprano. A coloratura sings high and fast most of the time and is a delicate instrument. Kiera sang much Italian opera and found eventually that her voice is very well suited to German art song and arias. After completing her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Voice Performance and many auditions, she found herself in a series of opera roles and at the Metropolitan Opera National Auditions!
Although it was out her realm of coloratura repertoire, Kiera auditioned for a Tanglewood production of a brand new work with James Levine. When she was offered the role in Elliott Carter’s opera What Next?, she took it. Kiera credits this role to have really started her career. She ‘was pretty good at singing these kinds of complex scores, and people noticed me for it.’ She never saw herself as the next new music singer, but came to it naturally! There are more choices with a new role that one does not have with the classic opera roles she normally sings. Her personality gravitated to the music and the music suited her voice. www.classicalsinger.com November 2011.
The niche of new classical music chose Kiera’s ‘steely, silvery’ voice to catapult the new opera’s success and the success of her career.
Do you think repertoire selects the singer’s voice? Read more in next week’s article on another new singer, Tony Arnold.