Ariana Strahl, soprano & Kathleen Kelly, piano

Ariana Strahl

Ariana Strahl, soprano & Kathleen Kelly, piano

Kathleen Kelly





Ariana Strahl, soprano & Kathleen Kelly, piano

Adoring & Adored: The Good Girls of Art Song

  • $30 Assigned Rows 1-2
  • $20 Assigned Rows 3-5
  • $15 General Admission
  • $5 Student
  • Ariana Strahl, soprano
  • Kathleen Kelly, piano

Event Details

German-born and Ann Arbor-based soprano Ariana Strahl ("a real star presence", Opera Today) joins beloved opera coach and pianist Kathleen Kelly for a program of art song written by and about women. The program will include works by Clara Schumann, Fanny Mendelssohn, and more!

This performance is supported in part by an award from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts. Art Works.

Ariana Strahl

Irish-American Soprano Ariana Strahl has been called ‘the discovery of the night’ (Voralberger Nachrichten) and has been celebrated as a singer with ‘fearless, accurate vocalism’ (Opera Now), who sings with 'devastating brilliance and incredible ease' (Opera Tattler).

Ms. Strahl has most recently made her American debut as Blanche Dubois in Andre Previn's 'Streetcar named Desire' with Opera San Jose, working with world-renowned director and 'Streetcar' specialist Brad Dalton. This show-stealing success brought critics to declare Ms. Strahl 'a real star presence [...], a ringing soprano possessed of considerable beauty, assured technique, and consummate musicianship (Opera Today).'

Before singing her first Blanche Dubois, Ms. Strahl was last seen as a young artist at the Komische Oper Berlin. During her two seasons at the Komische Oper, she debuted such roles as Ännchen in Calixto Bieto’s Der Freischütz, Sandman and Dew Fairy in Hänsel und Gretel, Micaela and Frasquita in Carmen, the First Wood Sprite in Rusalka, Papagena in Die Zauberflöte, Mrs. Pasek in Cunning Little Vixen, and the roles of Fortuna, Damigella, and Drusilla in Monteverdi's Poppea (adapted by Elena Kats-Chernin for Barrie Kosky’s Monteverdi Trilogy). Additionally, she worked in the Children's Opera of the Komische Oper, premiering the roles of Sirin in the Turkish-German adaptation of Taner Akyol's Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, and Glowworm Finn in Christian Jost's Mikropolis. She also debuted as the First Cercatrice in Suor Angelica with the Deutsche Symphonie Orchester, under the direction of Hans Graf.

During her studies, Ms. Strahl debuted such roles as First Lady in Die Zauberflöte, La Ciesca in Gianni Schicchi, Peep-Bo in The Mikado, Suor Genovieffa in Suor Angelica, Monica in The Medium, Mrs. McLean in Susannah, and the title role in Handel's Semele. Her broad abilities also brought her to the concert stage in the role of the Mother in Stephen Paulus' The Three Hermits and as the Soprano soloist for John Rutter's Mass of the Children. Following her studies Ms. Strahl moved to Vienna Austira, where she debuted as the Kurfürstin in Der Vogelhändler and Fiordiligi in Cosi fan Tutte with Musiktheater Schönbrunn.

Beyond the opera stage, Ms. Strahl is also an active art song singer. She developed a lieder series with pianist Miles Graber, and together they have performed Schumann's 'Frauenliebe und Leben', Barber's 'Hermit Songs', Manuel de Falla's 'Siete Canciones Populares Espanolas', and Canteloube's 'Songs of the Auvergne.' In 2016 she also explored the works of Fanny Mendelssohn and Clara Schumann with pianist and musicologist Nicholas Mathew, in conjunction with The Mendelssohn Project at the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life.

Ms. Strahl is equally active on the competition stage. She is winner of the East Bay Opera League competition, winner of the ZAV Young Talent Auditions in German, semi-finalist at Neue Stimmen Gesangswettbewerb, third prize winner at the James Collier awards, Additionally, she is a three-time winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council District Auditions (and one of the youngest winners at age 20). She has participated in masterclasses with Soprano Dawn Upshaw, Mezzosoprano Joan Wall, Dr. Karen Peeler, Dr. Laurel Miller, as well as with artistic coaches Russell Ryan, John Norris, Claus Unzen, and Anette Berg.

In the 2016-2017 Season, Ms. Strahl will join La Jolla Symphony for Verdi Requiem, as well as the Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra for Mozart Requiem, and Dvorak Stabat Mater.

Ariana Strahl was born in Munich, Germany and raised in Fort Worth, Texas. Ms. Strahl studied privately with Darlene Marks while in Fort Worth, before earning her Bachelor of Music from Illinois Wesleyan University in 2007. After completing her Degree, she moved to Vienna, Austria to study with Paulette Vineyard-Herbich. During her time at the Komische Oper, she continued her private studies with Gregory Lamar and Kammersängerin Deborah Polaski. Ms. Strahl is based in the Bay Area and Ann Arbor, Michigan, and studies with soprano Ruth Ann Swenson. 

Kathleen Kelly

Kathleen Kelly’s 2016-17 season includes debuts with Opera Columbus and the Alexandria Symphony, song recitals with tenor Stanford Olsen, master classes at the University of Toronto, performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the University of Michigan, and her first audience of more than 100,000 people when the UM Marching Band welcomes her as a guest conductor.

Kathleen enjoys a wide-ranging and dynamic musical life as a pianist, opera coach, conductor, and master teacher. The first woman and first American named as Director of Musical Studies at the Vienna State Opera, Kathleen joined the faculty of the University of Michigan in 2015 as that school’s first Coach/Conductor of Opera. There, she has led performances of Giulio Cesare, Gianni Schicchi, L’heure espagnole, and Cosi fan tutte.

Since her return to the US, Kathleen has led performances of Le nozze di Figaro at Wolf Trap, the premiere of Emmerich Kálmán’s Arizona Lady at Arizona Opera, and Francesca Zambello’s critically acclaimed Ariadne on Naxos at the Glimmerglass Festival; that production was a finalist in the 2015 International Opera Awards. She also conducted the West Coast premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s A Coffin in Egypt, starring Frederica von Stade.

Kathleen has performed internationally as a recital pianist: at Weill Hall, the Terrace Theater at the Kennedy Center, Vienna’s Musikverein and in the Mahlersaal of the Vienna State Opera, Manhattan’s Neue Galerie, on the Schwabacher Series in San Francisco, at the Tucson Desert Song Festival, and at numerous universities and colleges across the United States. Her recital partners have included Jamie Barton, Christine Goerke, Michael Kelly, Troy Cook, Amber Wagner, Susan Graham, Albina Shagimuratova, Valentina Nafornita, Joyce DiDonato, and Thomas Hampson. She has curated art song series for the Houston Grand Opera and the Vienna State Opera, and currently is co-artistic director of the SongFusion series in New York.

Kathleen has taught master classes all over the country, most recently at Arizona Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, the Castleton Festival, Arizona State University, Western Ontario University, Vanderbilt University, Rutgers University, and Baylor University.
Kathleen is 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, Michigan Opera Theater, and the Houston Grand Opera. While on faculty at the University of Texas at Austin, she was the principal coach of the Butler Opera Center.

Kathleen Kelly was trained in the Merola Program at the San Francisco Opera, after which she joined the house music staff as pianist, rehearsal conductor, and prompter. She was an assistant to James Levine at the Metropolitan Opera from 1997-2006, specializing in the works of Wagner, Strauss, and Berg. During that time, due to 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 2003-2008 Kathleen was also the Music Director of the Berkshire Opera, conducting two productions each summer and overseeing the young artist program.

Kathleen moved on at the invitation of Maestro Patrick Summers to become the music director of the Houston Grand Opera Studio as well as that company’s Head of Music Staff from 2006-2010. Highlights of these years include conducting her own chamber music arrangement of Hansel und Gretel in remarkable production by Basil Twist, serving as pianist each year for the Eleanor McCollum competition, and curating the HGOS recital series at Rienzi.

At the Vienna State opera from 2010-2013, Kathleen oversaw the daily musical life of more the fifty ensemble singers in more than fifty operas, the world’s biggest and busiest season. At the Staatsoper she also curated a recital series in the house’s famous Mahlersaal, and served as the series’ principal pianist. She was the recitative accompanist for new productions of Le nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni, and assisted Maestro Franz Welser-Möst on new productions of Kat’a Kabanova and Z mrtvého domu.

Kathleen has also been notably associated with the Glimmerglass Festival’s Young American Artist Program, the CoOperative Training Program at Westminster Choir College, the Seattle Opera, Opera Australia, and the Moscow Conservatory.

Additionally, Kathleen 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. 2015 saw the premiere of Texanische Liebeslieder, a song cycle by David Hanlon for which she provided the text. Currently, she is creating a new English translation of Hansel und Gretel for Tri-Cities Opera, and working on an original libretto.