Canadian mezzo-soprano Kimberly Barber recently celebrated 30 years of continued activity on international operatic and concert stages (Paris, Chicago, New York City, London, Rome, Tokyo, Frankfurt, Montreal, Seattle and Toronto are among her stomping grounds) in a diverse and eclectic repertoire. This season sees her return to Toronto’s Tapestry Opera, creating the role of the fortuneteller Aza in the world premiere of Aaron Gervais and Colleen Murphy’s THE ENSLAVEMENT OF OKSANA G. Director Tom Diamond and conductor Jordan de Souza lead an all-star Canadian cast. Kimberly also appears with TorQ Percussion Quartet and harpist Angela Schwarzkopf in a newly commissioned work, THIS LAND, by composer Abigail Richardson-Schulte, to commemorate the Canadian sesquicentennial for NUMUS in Waterloo, Ontario.
An artist who defies categorization, she is recognized for the verisimilitude, intensity and depth of her interpretations of Strauss’s Composer, Handel’s Xerxes (for which she was nominated for Toronto’s Dora Award as Best Singing Actress) and Blitzstein’s Regina among many others.
She has recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, Naxos, CBC Records, Teldec and Dutton Classics. Grounded in the traditional, but a champion of new music, she has performed numerous world and Canadian premieres, collaborating with musicians of all stripes; in March of 2015, she reprised her world premiere performance of Canadian composer Veronica Krausas’ MIDAREGAMI/TANGLED HAIR with the Penderecki String Quartet at Waterloo’s Perimeter Institute. Calgary Opera was the platform for her Canadian premiere performances as Sister Helen Préjean in Jake Heggie’s DEAD MAN WALKING and she became the first interpreter of this role to make the leap to another leading role in the same work when she embodied Mrs. De Rocher for Opéra de Montréal to rapturous reviews in March 2013. This production won the coveted OPUS Award for Musical Event of the Year 2012-13.
A breaker of intellectual and musical boundaries, Ms. Barber added the role of broadcaster to her performing arsenal in the 2015-16 season, taking on the mantle of once-monthly co-host alongside veteran Tom Quick for Women in Music on FM 98.5 CKWR. Kimberly was recently licensed as an Andover Educator®, teaching Body Mapping as part of her holistic approach to teaching the next generation of musicians. She brings an adventurous spirit to the voice and opera programs at Wilfrid Laurier University, where she has been on faculty since 2002. Starting July 2017, she will take on the role of Associate Dean—External for Laurier’s Faculty of Music.