Professor Kimberly Barber
Mezzo-soprano Kimberly Barber, Coordinator of the Opera Program, has been on Faculty since July 2002. Her 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), offers Prof. Barber the unique opportunity to pass on immediate knowledge of the profession to her students.
Recent outings include the following array of operatic highlights: she took on the role of Agatha (sharing the stage with a series of life-size puppets) in a major revival of John Beckwith’s CRAZY TO KILL with Toronto Masque Theatre, debuted as Cecilia March in the Canadian premiere of Mark Adamo's LITTLE WOMEN for Calgary Opera and again at Utah Opera, and sang a searing portrayal of Ottavia in Monteverdi's L'INCORONAZIONE DI POPPEA for Toronto's Opera Atelier. 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. Patrick de Rocher for Opera de Montréal in March 2013.
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. Her ensemble L'accordéoniste were featured artists with Toronto’s Opera in Concert (2011), twice at Ottawa’s Chamberfest (2009, 2011) and at Waterloo’s Jazz Room (2013). In recent concert performances, Kimberly Barber performed Mahler’s KINDERTOTENLIEDER with Quintet Pentaèdre at Barrie’s Colours of Music Festival and DAS LIED VON DER ERDE with NUMUS in both Toronto and Waterloo. A breaker of intellectual and musical boundaries, she brings an adventurous spirit to the voice program.
Laurier's Voice and Opera programs continued and cemented an ongoing partnership with Tapestry New Opera, a Toronto company committed to the creation and performance of new Canadian works for the lyric stage, through this workshop and presentation of the opera Ruth by WLU music grad Jeffrey Ryan. This workshop involved Laurier full-time voice faculty member Kimberly Barber (in the role of Naomi), CAS faculty member Emily Hamper (as rehearsal/performance collaborative pianist), Wayne Strongman (Conductor/Artistic Director, Tapestry New Opera), Canadian director/dramaturg Tom Diamond, composer-librettist team Jeffrey Ryan and Michael Lewis MacLennan, current Laurier student Jayne Hammond (chorus/Orpah), WLU Voice alumna Stephanie Yelovich (title role) and emerging artist baritone Geoffrey Sirett (as Boaz). The chorus was formed by 17 current WLU voice students from freshmen to Opera Diploma, who were also understudying principal roles. The clinicians worked intensively with the students, giving instruction in how to prepare a contemporary score and approach creating a role, while preparing the work for performance.