Department of Music faculty soprano Kiera Duffy performs with the Berlin Philharmonic

Author: College of Arts and Letters

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Soprano Kiera Duffy, recently appointed as head of undergraduate voice studies in Notre Dame's Department of Music, will make her debut with the Berlin Philharmonic in late January 2018 in Ravel's opera L'enfant et les sortilegès.

The Berlin Philharmonic is consistently rated among the preeminent orchestras in the world, alongside the Vienna Philharmonic and the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. 

Duffy sings the major roles of the Fire, the Princess, and the Nightingale in Ravel's masterpiece, and joins an internationally recognized cast of singers. The performance will be led by Finnish conductor Mikko Franck, who has appeared with many of the world's finest orchestras. In March, Duffy will reprise her roles in L'enfant with the legendary conductor Seiji Ozawa at his Ongaku-Juku Festival in Japan.

According to Department Chair Peter Smith, singing a major role with the Berlin Philharmonic and performing in Japan under Seiji Ozawa represent the highest level of achievement in the classical music world.

"In terms of both artistic stature and financial resources, these institutions could engage any soprano in the world and they have chosen specifically to engage Kiera," Smith said. "This recognition is a distinctive honor for Kiera and by extension for the department and University."

Duffy's artistry has also been recognized by a 2017 Hunt Family Award for Emerging Artists from New York’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. She has appeared with other major orchestras worldwide, including the New York Philharmonic, London Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, New World Symphony, Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk Orchester, Atlanta Symphony, National Symphony, Simon Bolivar Orchestra, and Detroit Symphony. 

In 2013, she made her debut with the Metropolitan Opera as Das Erste Blumenmädchen in Richard Wagner's Parsifal under Daniele Gatti, and with the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Stella in Andre Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire.

Still, the opportunity to perform with the Berlin Philharmonic represents a jewel in the crown of these achievements.

"The Berlin Philharmonic is the crème de la crème of the world’s orchestras," Duffy said. "As an undergraduate student at Westminster Choir College, I had the good fortune of singing as a chorister with the Berlin Phil at Carnegie Hall, but I would have laughed (loudly!) in the face of anyone who would have told me I’d sing with them again . . . as a soloist.

"This is an extraordinary opportunity and I am very grateful for it."

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