Recital tour with mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton

London Times

“American mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton brought...Kathleen Kelly, a pianist with a voice and imagination as distinctive, versatile and capacious as hers, and a programme that combined grandeur, fantasy and relatability — that much-mocked ability to cut through the perceived limitations of art song and touch a kind of folk memory.”

Washington Post

“And Strauss’s “Cäcilie,” on paper a conventional recital closer, was a little slower, a little more significant and resonant than the usual breathless outburst, something underscored by the rich playing of Kelly, the pianist, an adept partner throughout.”

New York Times

“Ms. Barton and Ms. Kelly then created real drama of love, loss and “Big Sister Says,” Ms. Kelly made light work of an ingenious piano part that somehow married honky-tonk with the beastly finale of Prokofiev’s Seventh Sonata.”

Boston Classical Review

“Barton had a sensitive partner in pianist Kathleen Kelly, who deftly rendered the honky-tonk accompaniment to “Big Sister Says.” In “Empty Song” her Debussyian phrases wafted in the air like perfume. The final song of the set, “I Make My Magic,” unfolded dense cluster chords in hushed dynamics.”

Madama Butterfly, Opera Columbus, Columbus OH

Peter Tonguette, Columbus Dispatch

Conductor Kathleen Kelly led the Columbus Symphony through music that was at once exultant, ethereal and exotic — and grandly tragic”-

Schwabacher Summer Scenes Concert, Merola Opera Program, San Francisco, CA

Janos Gereben, San Francisco Classical Voice
“Among some 30 Merola opening concerts I’ve seen, many provided great discoveries, but the intensity of the entire 2018 edition...seemed unique...under Kathleen Kelly’s dynamic musical direction and former “Merolina” Aria Umezawa’s restrained staging...Kelly’s orchestra throve apace and once again the conductor secured the primacy of voices.”

Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle
“a strong musical offering...Kathleen Kelly conducted, a little insistently, but with an excellent sense of what the singers were up to.”

Bay Area Reporter
“Conductor Kathleen Kelly led the well-balanced orchestra from behind the playing area, giving the performers rich additional support.”
“The orchestra...was ably and energetically conducted by former Merola apprentice coach Kathleen Kelly...The orchestra sounded fine throughout the evening.”

Berkeley Daily Planet
“Throughout this concert, conductor Kathleen Kelly led the orchestra with a firm hand.”

Carmen, Opera Columbus, Columbus OH

The Columbus Dispatch

“The Columbus Symphony was well-managed by guest conductor Kathleen Kelly, who summoned rich playing during orchestral passages and subtle support during the singing. Kelly also was attentive to the chorus”

Le nozze di Figaro, Wolf Trap Opera, Vienna VA

Part of that eloquence came from the tasteful application of embellishment, which all the principals employed throughout the performance to valuable effect...In the pit, Kathleen Kelly conducted a generally tidy, smartly-paced account of the score...articulated with a flair that matched the continual spark onstage.”

-Opera News 

“...conductor Kathleen Kelly [who] whipped orchestra and singers into a seamless entity…”

                                                                                        -The Washington Post

“...strong musical direction by conductor Kathleen Kelly…”

                                                                                        - Ionarts

“...beautifully conducted and performed by Kathleen Kelly and her group of talented musicians…”

                                                                                        -  DCMetroTheaterArts

Ariadne in Naxos, Glimmerglass Festival, Cooperstown, New York

“Kathleen Kelly’s incisive conducting...complemented Ms. Zambello’s antic directing in Act I and expanded into supportive, long-breathed phrases in Act II.”

                                                                                        -The Wall Street Journal

“More essential was Strauss’ “Ariadne”...lucidly conducted by Kathleen Kelly.”

                                                                                                -The New York Times

“The conductor Kathleen Kelly draws polished playing from the chamber orchestra.”

                                                                                                -The Financial Times

“Und auch das hervorragende Orchester unter [Kelly] entfacht schliesßlich geheimnisvollen Zauber.”


Strauss’ chamber-sized orchestra, sensitively led by Kathleen Kelly , sounded especially fine in the intimate  Alice Busch Opera Theater.”

                                                                                                      -Classical Voice America

A Coffin in Egypt, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Arts, Los Angeles

All the elements of this production seem to fall effortlessly into place, from the striking the fine musical direction by conductor Kathleen Kelly.”

                                                                                                      -The Huffington Post

“Kathleen Kelly conducts skillfully and in evident mind-melding with her diva”

                                                                                                    -LA Drama Critics Circle

“Conductor Kathleen Kelly rules.”        

                                                                                                           -Opera Theater Ink

Tucson Desert Song Festival, recital with soprano Christine Goerke

"Ride On" also showcased Kelly's immense talent. She played with an intuition that showed the depths of her history with and respect for Goerke.”

                                                                                                 -The Arizona Daily Star                                                                                        

Recital Series, Vienna State Opera's Mahlersaal; recital with soprano Daniela Fally and baritone Clemens Unterreiner

"Last, but not least muss die engagierte, hochgeschätzte und sehr umsichtige Klavierbegleitung der Studienleiterin der Staatsoper, Kathleen Kelly besonders hervorgehoben werden. Die ganze Matineereihe steht unter ihrer Patronanz."

“Last but not least, the engaged, highly prized, and very sensitive piano accompaniment of the Studienleiterin of the Staatsoper, Kathleen Kelly, must be especially emphasized. The whole concert series stands under her care."

Der Neue Merker

Le nozze di Figaro, Vienna State Opera

"Die Proben können zu den Feiertagen nur minimal gewesen sein. Aber das  individuelle  „Aufbau-Training“ durch die neue Studienleiterin  Kathleen Kelly, die am Hammerklavier  auch während der Vorstellung die Rezitative „betreut“,  greift."

“There could only be minimal rehearsal during the holidays. But the training through the new Studienleiterin, Kathleen Kelly, to whom the recitatives on hammerklavier are also entrusted, takes hold."

Der Neue Merker, 2012

DVD of children's version of Wagner's "Die Feen" from the Vienna State Opera

"Kathleen Kelly leitet das kleine Orchester sicher und geschmackvoll durch die Märchenhandlung."

“Kathleen Kelly leads the orchestra securely and tastefully through the fairy tale."

Der Opernfreund

Hansel and Gretel, Houston Grand Opera

(Kelly was conductor and arranger of the score for chamber ensemble. The arrangement has since been played all over the country.)  "Twist shares the success of the production with Kelly, whose reduction of Humperdinck’s Wagnerian orchestra to an ensemble of a mere eight — string quartet, horn, flute, clarinet and piano — gives the opera a whole new lease on life"…"Kelly conducted the overwhelmingly charming and convincing staging."

Opera Today, 2006

Recital with Jamie Barton, Weill Hall

“Pianist Kelly played divinely, as if she were hearing the music in orchestral colors, and

acquitted herself in each musical style with convincing authority.”

—Joanne Syndey Lesser, Opera News, 2010

Recital with Jamie Barton, Washington Vocal Arts Society at the Kennedy Center

“Kathleen Kelly, the head of the Houston Opera Studio, was a strong and expressive accompanist.”

—Anne Midgette, The Washington Post, 2009

Recital with Troy Cook, Kosciuszko Foundation

"Mr. Cook offered a thoughtfully constructed program of songs in English, German and French, and benefited from the support of Kathleen Kelly at the piano... songs in which mood and coloration shift quickly, and both Mr. Cook and Ms. Kelly negotiated those changes expertly"

—Allan Kozinn, The New York Times, 2001


Bringing the VIennese Style Home

Adam J. Goldman, Opera News, June 2014: “in a house like Vienna with so much activity going on, it can't be perfect every night. Some nights are wonderful and some nights are not. It's not that people don't care if it's good enough. Of course, they do. Of course, that discerning public demands excellence. On the other hand, they have a deeper, daily relationship with artists and the act of performing that go back centuries. So, there's almost a more human understanding of it.” Continue Reading (subscribers only)-->

Behind the Scenes: Kathleen Kelly, Prompter, Metropolitan Opera

Robert J. Hughes, Wall Street Journal, 2005:  “Few opera houses and fewer theaters use prompters these days, but at New York's Metropolitan Opera, prompters are essential. "There's no other place in the country that has the sheer bulk of repertoire that we do," says Kathleen Kelly, one of four prompters at the Met.” Continue Reading-->

Key Player

Laura Chandler,, 2006: "’Outside the box,’ even though the phrase has become a cliché, is nonetheless a good description of the thinking that has always guided Houston Grand Opera. It's also a good description both figuratively and literally for Kathleen Kelly, who will become HGO's head of music staff this fall.” Continue Reading-->