Mezzo-soprano, Kaarin Cecilia Phelps, garners enthusiastic praise from critics and peers, not only for her “beautiful line and effortless high notes,” but also her dramatic and hilarious interpretation of diverse repertoire.
She has excelled in roles such as Augusta Tabor in The Ballad of Baby Doe, Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel, the Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Clarissa in The Love for Three Oranges, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly and Carlotta Vance in William Bolcom’s Dinner at Eight. In her time at the Moores Opera Center, Ms. Phelps also performed Clarissa in Prokofiev´s The Love for Three Oranges, Isabella in L’Italiana in Algeri and Lady Sneerwell in the American premiere of Robert Nelson’s The School for Scandal. In early 2020, she took on the roles of the Old Woman/Cake Shopper in the professional debut of Yeltsin in Texas! with Opera in the Heights and Armelinde in Pauline Viardot's rarely performed Cendrillon with Operativo Houston.
For the 2020-2021 season Kaarin joins Opera in the Heights as a Resident Artist, taking on multiple roles and community outreach performances. In the fall she joins the Decameron Opera Coalition in a daring update of Boccaccio's Decameron, a collaboration of nine U.S. Opera Companies- Ms. Phelps performs as Elena in Donia Jarrar's chapter "Seven Spells." In the winter and spring, Kaarin takes on the roles of Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor and Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro. Ms. Phelps will also perform the alto solos in Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle at Mandell Park in Houston, Texas in late 2020.
Kaarin was featured in in the 2015 Musica e Musica Festival in Mercatello sul Metauro, Italy, where she sang concerts and scenes as Giovanna Seymour in Anna Bolena, Dorabella in Così fan tutte, Maddelena in Rigoletto, and Suzuki in Madama Butterfly. Not long after, Kaarin joined Hubbard Hall Opera Theatre as Suzuki in Madama Butterfly and Phobia in Seymour Barab's La Pizza con Funghi. That same season, she was also seen with Hartford Opera Theatre, as Betty Parris in The Crucible and in the American premiere of Kevin Malone's Mysterious 44, which she performed at the historic Mark Twain House in Hartford, Connecticut.
Experienced in concert works as well, Kaarin has appeared as a soloist in Mahler's Lieder eines fahrenden gesellen, Haydn's Paukenmesse and the Mozart Requiem. She has on various occasions been the alto soloist of Handel's Messiah. In a recent recital, Ms. Phelps performed Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder and Rossini’s rarely heard cantata, Giovanna D’Arco. In 2021, Kaarin will join the Houston Masterworks Chorus in collaboration with the Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra to sing the alto solos in Beethoven's Mass in C.
Having had much success in the national competition circuit, Kaarin was the first place winner of the San Antonio Tuesday Musical Club Young Artist Competition and third place winner of the Ruth Burr Vocal Competition with the Houston Tuesday Musical Club in 2018. Ms. Phelps has been a finalist in American Opera Idol Competition three times, and took home the Amy Jane and James Cohen Artist Encouragement Award in 2017, (third place) and the Lynne Strowe Piccolo Award in 2018 (second place). She has received awards from both Opera Theatre of Connecticut's Amici Competition and the Madame Rose Palmai- Tenser Competition with Mobile Opera and was a finalist in the Kristin Lewis Foundation Scholarship Competition. Singing selections from Alcina and Semele, Kaarin was awarded first place in the Moores School of Music Concerto Competition and performed with the Moores Chamber Orchestra. Kaarin Cecilia Phelps recently graduated with a Master's degree from the University of Houston and also holds a Bachelor's degree from The Hartt School in Hartford, Connecticut.