Soprano Kearstin Piper Brown just made her San Francisco Opera debut covering the role of Dame Shirley in the world premiere of John Adams’s Girls of the Golden West. Recently, Ms. Brown performed with Rochester Oratorio Society in the Vaughan-Williams Dona Nobis Pacem and Emancipation Oratorio. She also toured Israel as Bess in Gershwin’s masterpiece, Porgy and Bess. This season Ms. Brown will returned as a guest artist with the Chaliapin Festival at the Kazan Opera Theater in Russia and in the spring, she will also begin work singing the lead role in the new opera, Promised Land: An Adirondack Folk Opera. Next season brings Ms. Brown back to the West Coast for Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the San Jose Chamber Orchestra and a return to San Francisco Opera to sing the Clara in Jake Heggie’s, It’s a Wonderful Life. She will also sing her role debut as Pamina in The Magic Flute with Opera in Williamsburg and make appearances in the KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival.
Ms. Brown also made her debut with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestraunder conductor Robert Spano in the role of the High Priestess in Aïda, and was also invited to sing concerts under the auspices of the Lebanon Symphony and Chorus, Cincinnati Opera and the Finger Lakes Opera Company. In previous seasons she was heard as Violetta with Utah Lyric Opera, Musetta with Dayton Opera, Micaëla with Arbor Opera Theater, and Clara in Porgy and Bess at the Teatro di San Carlo. She performed Euridice in Gluck's Orpheus with Opera Memphis, and she portrayed the role of Mrs. McDowell in the world premiere of Rise for Freedom: The John P. Parker Story by composer Adolphus Hailstork with Cincinnati Opera. She also sang with the Center for Contemporary Opera in New York as Epiphany Proudfoot in the world premiere of Mark Scearse's Falling Angel. Ms. Brown also made her successful return to Utah Festival Opera as Bess in Porgy and Bess and Sarah in Ragtime.
Ms. Brown has performed the role of Bess worldwide with Opera Kazan, Skylight Music Theatre, Dayton Opera, Virginia Opera, Utah Festival Opera and the Belarusian State Philharmonic Orchestra, Minsk. In addition, the European Porgy and Bess tour of New York Harlem Productions brought her Bess to such prestigious venues as the Hamburgische Staatsoper, the Semperoper Dresden, the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, and the Komische Oper Berlin. Another touring production of the Gershwin classic was with Cape Town Opera, where she went on tour to the Edinburgh Festival, the Royal Festival Hall London, and the Israeli Opera.
Ms. Brown starred in a gala concert Our Songs – The Music of African American Composers at the Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center with Opera Ebony, and the year before she was heard at Jazz at Lincoln Centerunder the auspices of the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation. The versatile soprano has also sung with the American Spiritual Ensemble, toured with the 3 Mo’ Divas (sister group of the 3 Mo’ Tenors), and scored an early success as Sarah in the Light Opera Works Chicago regional premiere of Ragtime, earning her a “Best Actress in a Musical” nomination from the Black Theater Alliance in Chicago. She recently made her triumphant returned to the role in with the Utah Festival Opera. In addition, she has appeared in theater productions in the Washington DC area with the Studio Theater, Roundhouse Theatre, Arena Stage, and the Kennedy Center Theatre for Young Audiences.
Highlights of Ms. Brown’s performances as a concert soloist include an appearance at the Palais Augarten in Vienna, a gala of American music with the Moscow City Symphony Orchestra, Handel's Messiah with the Lebanon Symphony, a concert with the Rochester Early Music Festival, the Festival Classique’s Opera Under the Stars concert with the Residentie Orkest in The Hague and the Edison Awards Gala 2010 with the Amsterdam Sinfonietta, both of which were televised LIVE in the Netherlands, as well as concerts with the Pasadena Symphony and Pops, the Cedar Rapids Chorale and Symphony, and the Hines-Lee Opera Ensemble at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Ms. Brown was a young artist at the International Institute of Vocal Arts in Italy, the Opera Colorado and the Utah Festival Opera, as well as an Artist-in-Residence with Dayton Opera, Opera Memphis, and Cincinnati Opera. She has been a prize-winner in several international competitions, including the Montserrat Caballé International Competition, the William Matheus Sullivan Foundation, the Gerda Lissner Foundation Vocal Competition, and the Licia Albanese-Pucinni Foundation International Vocal Competition.
A native of Alexandria, Virginia, Ms. Brown is a graduate of both Spelman College and Northwestern University.