Rachel Kelly is a recent graduate of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden’s Jette Parker Young Artist Programme where she attracted considerable attention for her portrayals of Zaida (Il turco in Italia) conducted by Evelino Pidò, Javotte (Manon) conducted by Emmanuel Villaume, Mercédès (Carmen) conducted by Alexander Joel, and Pisana (I due Foscari) conducted by Sir Antonio Pappano. Her performance as Mirinda in Kasper Holten’s L’Ormindo conducted by Christian Curnyn (which marked the first ever collaboration between the Royal Opera House and Shakespeare’s Globe) was singled out by Opera Today for its “rich sensuality of voice” and “glowing warmth”, her appearance as the Cat in El gato con botas (Puss in Boots) at the Linbury Theatre was described by The Telegraph as “a special delight” and she earned unanimous praise for her Proserpina (Orfeo) at London’s Roundhouse.
Last season saw Rachel Kelly earn acclaim as Nerone (Agrippina) with the Irish Chamber Orchestra under Jonathan Cohen, make a company debut as Nancy (Albert Herring) with Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and create the role of Catherine (The Devil Inside) for Scottish Opera, subsequently on tour in the UK and Canada. A performance of Jomelli’s little-known Il vologeso with Classical Opera and Ian Page gave Rachel Kelly an opportunity to shine in the title role, and she joined Orchestre de Chambre de Paris and Christopher Franklin as Teresa (La sonnambula) at Paris’ Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. After impressing him in Operalia, Rachel Kelly was invited to make a special guest appearance alongside Plácido Domingo in concert at Dublin’s 3Arena.
The current season brings a return to Opera di Firenze as Idamante (Idomeneo) in the opening production of the 2017 Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, and a role-debut as Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni) with Northern Ireland Opera. In concert, Rachel performs Cavalli’s La calisto with La nuova musica at London’s Wigmore Hall and Haydn’s La canterina with Classical Opera at Haydn Festival Eisenstadt as well as making guest appearances with Ulster Orchestra under Jac van Steen, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra under Matthew Halls, and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under John Wilson.
Earlier opera experience includes Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro) for Lismore Music Festival and, for the Royal Academy of Music, Fanny Price in the London premiere of Jonathan Dove’s Mansfield Park, Wu in the world premiere of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’ Kommilitonen! and Beatrice in John Copley’s production of Béatrice et Bénédict conducted by the late Sir Colin Davis.
A native of Ireland, Rachel Kelly studied at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, London’s Royal Academy of Music and the National Opera Studio, and she has taken master classes with Sir Antonio Pappano, Sir Mark Elder, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Ann Murray, Ileana Cotrubas and Sir Thomas Allen.