Kathleen Battle Comes to Mayo Performing Arts Center, 5/4

Soprano Kathleen Battle performs at Mayo Performing Arts Center on Saturday, May 4, 2013 at 8 pm. Tickets are $49-79.

Beyond the glory of her singing, in a career filled with countless accolades, honors and major milestones, what has perhaps distinguished her most is her almost magical ability to create an unwavering emotional bond between herself, her music and her audience.

In her youth, this native of Portsmouth, Ohio, the youngest of seven children, sang in church and school, and envisioned a future as a music teacher. Fortunately for audiences around the world, she found other ways to share her love of music-and through her natural gifts, innate intelligence, and hard work, her soaring voice has carried her to the heights of the classical music world. Indeed, throughout a remarkable career that has brought her to the stages of the world's leading opera houses and major concert halls, critics have never tired of rhapsodizing over her limpid, unmistakable sound. In quite poetic terms, they have compared it to "the ethereal beauty of winter moonlight" (The Washington Post), "a paradoxical meeting of earth and sky" (Philadelphia Inquirer), and "cream from a miraculous, bottomless pitcher" (The New York Times).

The range of Miss Battle's repertoire spans three centuries from the Baroque era to contemporary works. She has enjoyed some of her greatest successes in the opera house in repertoire ranging from Handel (Cleopatra in the Metropolitan Opera's premiere staging of Giulio Cesare) to Richard Strauss (Sophie, Zdenka, Zerbinetta). For her Covent Garden debut as Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos, Miss Battle became the first American to be honored with a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Performance in a New Opera Production. She has similarly distinguished herself as one of our generation?s finest interpreters of Mozart (Susanna, Despina, Pamina, and Zerlina), as well as the bel canto operas of Rossini (IL Barbiere di Siviglia) and Donizetti (L?Elisir d'Amore, Don Pasquale, La Fille du Regiment). In the words of critic Tim Page, "Miss Battle's natural territory is music of sweetness, serenity, and girlish ecstasy. Within this repertoire she is all but unequaled."

In recital, Kathleen Battle, the winner of five Grammy awards, has mesmerized audiences around the globe with her unique artistry and vocal beauty. Of her Carnegie Hall recital debut, New York Newsday declared, "In an age when the vocal recital has practically gone the way of the dinosaur, this was a thrilling case for its return." For the CD of this recital, released on DG, Miss Battle received one of three Grammy Awards for Best Classical Vocal Soloist; Miss Battle has won a total of five Grammy Awards. The Australian echoed the sentiment of critics around the world, saying, "The Sydney Opera House has played host to any number of great singers...but it's unlikely there has ever been (or perhaps ever will be) a performance to match the recital American soprano Kathleen Battle gave."
Kathleen Battle's gifts as a singer extend beyond the realm of classical music. Her work as a great interpreter of spirituals is documented on a joint recital with Jessye Norman, Spirituals in Concert (DG). Her pure emotional power in this music of joy and sorrow cuts through all cultural boundaries. As the Vienna Kurier put it, "Kathleen Battle sang so beautifully in the spiritual „Heaven is one beautiful place,? she came pretty close to heaven."

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