Singing at Florida Grand Opera's Don Giovanni
Title: "Strong cast of singers lifts Florida Grand Opera's cut-rate production of Mozart's Don Giovanni.
"Kelly Kaduce brought an unhinged intensity and pure-toned vocalism to the rejected yet maddeningly persistent Donna Elvira. The soprano was at her finest in Mi tradi quell'alm ingrata, with a sensitive and subtle recitative and vibrant, brilliantly sung aria. Kaduce showed admirable poise in ignoring the loud cell phone jingles, and overcame some hideous costuming, including a checked dress and a large feathered hat that looked like it was left over from a production of Hello Dolly."
Lawrence A. Johnson, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Rising star seizes complex Requiem
Flash back to 1999: specifically, April 11, 1999, when the finals of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions were held on the Met stage in New York. Among the winners was Boston University-trained soprano Kelly Kaduce, then 24.
``Winning the Met competition really was a big springboard for me,'' Kaduce said, speaking from her home in New Jersey.
Sure was. Now, nearly five years later, she's enjoying being a busy professional. And on Monday she sings for the first time the demanding soprano part in Benjamin Britten's ``War Requiem,'' with the BU Symphony Orchestra and Symphonic Chorus at Symphony Hall.
At 29, Kaduce is busy taking on leading operatic roles with companies throughout the country - and earning raves along the way.
Of her recent Mimi in ``La Boheme'' with the Florida Grand Opera, for example, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Lawrence A. Johnson wrote, ``This was not the standard weak, innocent waif but a vibrant and even passionate Mimi . . . Vocally, Kaduce's pure flexible soprano provided the evening's finest moments . . . .''
Not bad for someone who grew up in a small town in Minnesota singing in the church choir but never thinking of music, let alone opera, as a career until halfway through a biology degree at St. Olaf College in her home state.
``I took voice lessons because I loved to sing,'' Kaduce said. ``I couldn't believe you could take it and get credit for it!''
With encouragement from the voice faculty, she switched majors. And though Kaduce's family knew little about opera, they supported her decision. ``They play the proud parents very well,'' she said.
And she's a hometown hero, too. ``I sang Mimi in Minnesota, and my town brought a busload of over 100 people just to see it. Think of all those people from a small town at their very first opera!''
Kaduce next made her way to Cape Cod, where she sang two summers with the College Light Opera Company in Falmouth. She eventually moved to Boston (``I lived everywhere: Brighton, Dorchester, Chestnut Hill and ended up in Waltham'') to study at BU with Penelope Bitzas, who remains her teacher today.
After the Met win, Kaduce sang Musetta, the opera's ``second'' soprano lead, in BU's ``La Boheme'' - and not long afterward left for a year of pavement-pounding.
``It was at least a full year of just auditioning, with no work,'' Kaduce said. ``It was a really hard year - and then the school loans started to kick in. When I finally got a gig, my first Mimi (`Boheme' again) in Delaware, I was so excited to be doing the role and getting this paycheck, which I thought was so much money. But after I paid my management fees and my bills, I had nothing left for myself!
``You spend so much money at the beginning of a career to better yourself so you can get the work,'' she explained. ``I racked up a lot of debt, and to chip away at that and continue studying was difficult.''
Despite the sacrifices, Kaduce doesn't feel she's missed much fun by spending her 20s devoted pretty single-mindedly to her career, making debuts with the Santa Fe Opera, Atlanta Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, New York City Opera and others. She even understudied Mimi in Baz Luhrmann's 2002 Broadway production of - you guessed it - ``La Boheme.'' Shealso has returned to Boston to sing at BU as well as with Opera Aperta and other local groups.
``I certainly had my fun in college and high school before I really got serious about singing,'' she said with a laugh, before adding more seriously, ``I guess there've been times when I think of friends going to the local bar to have a drink, and I can't go because I have an audition in a couple of days. And when I'm out performing and have a month of rehearsals before a show in a town I've never seen, I'd rather stay home and rest than go out. I guess I miss out in that way.''
But the rewards are many, including, she said, ``the interesting people you get to meet and spend time with, doing something creative and artistic. Opera is really an all-encompassing art.''
T.J. Medrek, The Boston Herald, Friday, November
Kelly Kaduce sang one of the children In Hansel and Gretel for New York State Theater.
Paul Griffiths, The New York Times, November 22, 2002
Ms. Kaduce replaced the lead in Faust for the Florida Grand Opera on Wednesday, January 9, 2002.
Lawrence A. Johnson, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, January 2002