A Tony Award-Winner, A Rising Star and a Diva

Three Amazing Vocal Talents to Make Kansas City Debuts

Presenting great vocal artists has always been an important component of the Harriman-Jewell Series. Three spectacular singers will be making their Series debuts next season.

On Oct. 12, Kelli O’Hara, who is currently starring in a critically acclaimed Broadway production of Kiss Me, Kate, will perform songs of Broadway as well as American and pop standards. Honoring America’s musical theatre heritage has also been an important part of the Harriman-Jewell Series.

A winner of a Tony Award and nominated for five others, O’Hara is one of today’s biggest Broadway stars. She’s also a triple threat, singing opera at the Metropolitan Opera, acting in television shows like Masters of Sex and, of course, knocking them dead on Broadway. Some of O’Hara’s stand-out Broadway productions include
The Pajama Game (2006), South Pacific (2008) and The King
and I (2015), for which O’Hara won the Tony for Best Leading Actress in a Musical.

Entertainment Weekly writes that “Kelli O’Hara’s effervescent voice is like a natural anti-depressant, its pure tone and sweet sound instantly lifting the mood of anyone lucky enough to hear it.” In these troubling times, Kelli O’Hara is just what the doctor ordered.

Operatic soprano Nadine Sierra may not yet be a marquee name, but that is soon to change. She is the youngest person to ever win the Marilyn Horne Foundation Vocal Competition and the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. She has also won the 2017 Richard Tucker Music Foundation Award and the 2018 Beverly Sills Artists Award, two of the most coveted awards in the world of opera. She’s won a ton of other awards, as well.

Sierra was a young artist for the Palm Beach Opera when she was only 14. When she was 15, she appeared on National Public Radio singing Puccini’s “O Mio Babbino Caro.” From there it’s been one starring role after another. From Susanna in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro at the Met to Norina in Donizetti’s La Pasquale with the Paris National Opera, Sierra is one of the most in-demand young singers today.

Sierra’s charisma is also starting to reach those beyond the world of classical music. She’s been featured in Vogue, Nylon and Bon Appétit, showing she has the same kind of crossover appeal as classical artists like Itzhak Perlman and Yo-Yo Ma. It’s a rare treat to hear such a consummate artist as she’s about to be launched into superstardom.

Soprano Angela Gheorghiu is already enthroned as one of the greatest divas in the world today. Because of the vagaries of international travel and a host of other issues, she has never appeared on the Harriman-Jewell Series. But that will change on April 26, 2020, at Helzberg Hall, when the Series presents Gheorghiu for the first time in Kansas City.

The New York Sun calls Gheorghiu “the world’s most glamorous opera star,” and it’s hard to argue with that assessment. Since making her international debut at the Royal Opera House singing the role of Zerlina in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, the Romanian-born Gheorghiu has captured the hearts of opera lovers around the world. Gheorghiu is the soprano opera houses call when they need star power. Her incandescent stage presence electrifies any performance.

What the British newspaper The Observer wrote about Gheorghiu’s portrayal of the title character in Adriana Lecouvreur could be applied to almost any of her performances: “It’s hard to imagine anyone bettering Angela Gheorghiu in this part. Her voice, feather-light and creamy yet with a core of steel, matches the liquid way she moves on stage.”

For anyone who cares about vocal music, Gheorghiu’s Helzberg Hall recital is not to be missed.

Kelli O’Hara and Angela Gheorghiu are performing at Helzberg Hall, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Nadine Sierra’s recital is at the Folly Theater. For tickets and more information, call 816-415-5025 or go to
www.hjseries.org.

–Patrick Neas

About The Author: Contributing Writer

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