Gubaidulina with the New European Ensemble

In early October I sang on several concerts honoring the composer Sofia Gubaidulina with the New European Ensemble. I first encountered her magisterial Hommage à T. S. Eliot at West Cork Chamber Music Festival several years ago; I couldn’t believe the sheer force of the music and the sympathy of the text setting. It was a huge pleasure to revisit the piece with these stellar players, and we got an excellent review in the NRC:

“In Hommage à T.S. Eliot (1987) liet sopraan Katharine Dain de volle reikwijdte van haar stem horen: quasi-spreekgezang en met lucht omklede fluisteringen in de laagte, via expressief uitgespuugde lettergrepen, tot vlammend hoge uithalen.”

(“In Hommage à T. S. Eliot (1987) Katharine Dain let loose the full range of her voice: quasi-sprechstimme and airy whispering in the low range, syllables expressively spat out, to eviscerating, flaming highs.

My first Cunégonde

I’ve been singing the showpiece “Glitter and be gay” for years, but finally I got to sing the whole role of Cunégonde in Leonard Bernstein’s Candide in Banff. This role is a keeper; I had so much fun getting to know her, finding her unique physicality and voice, and being as much of a diva as possible. The Calgary Herald reviewed the whole show positively and had these kind words about my performance:

“Casting Katharine Dain’s dark-hued Cunégonde was the right choice for the outdoor performance. Dain has a faithful and solid tone throughout her entire range, and a mature, modulated coloration that is truly enviable. There has been a swing of late toward light lyric/soubrette-styled performances of the role the past 20 years, but Dain reminded us what the richer lyric coloratura fach ought truly to sound like in her tightly controlled performance of the epic cavatina/cabaletta Glitter and be gay. Bernstein’s parody of Marguerite’s “Ah! Je ris, de me voir si belle” in Gounod’s Faust, satirized the addiction to jewelry and Cunégonde’s incapacity to resist it. Dain pulled off the cynical, saucy line “If I’m not pure, at least my jewels are!” disturbingly well.”

Watch a video of the whole aria here.

Praise for Konstanze in Massy

I was very happy to read the following review on Olyrix after our final Entführung of the season in Massy:

“Également lauréate du Concours international de chant de Clermont-Ferrand 2017, Katharine Dain est la révélation de cette soirée. Sa voix ample et soyeuse, ses phrasés souples et son timbre chaleureux se révèlent dès son premier air (“Ach ich liebte, war so glücklich“, acte I). Son interprétation subtile semble donner envie à l’Orchestre de l’Opéra de Massy (et au chef Dominique Rouits) de se surpasser.READ MORE

Win at the Armel Opera Competition

I enjoyed a recent success as a laureate of the Armel Opera Competition in Paris. Organized by the Armel Festival in Budapest, the competition grants roles in a production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni that will receive its premiere in 2019 in Cuenca, Ecuador and then travel to Budapest, where it will be broadcast live on ARTE Concert. I was chosen as Donna Anna, a role I have sung in concert and will be so happy to revisit in a full production with a very exciting team, including acclaimed Hungarian director Róbert Alföldi and German-Mexican conductor Michael Meissner.

Positive reception in Rouen

Our Rouen outing for Mozart’s Enlèvement (as I am now beginning to call it–Entführung, Abduction) has been widely praised, and I got some especially nice mentions this time.

“La soprano américaine  Katharine Dain ne déçoit pas les espérances que son « Marten aller Arten » au concours de Clermont-Ferrand avait fait naître. Avec son chant aérien aux aigus faciles et ses vocalises précises, elle remplit toutes les exigences vocales du rôle.” (“The American soprano Katharine Dain does not disappoint the hopes raised by her “Martern aller Arten” at the Clermont-Ferrand Competition. With precise vocalism and ease in the most precipitous heights, she satisfies every vocal challenge of the role.”) –Forum OpéraREAD MORE


I’m delighted to announce that I will sing Cunégonde in Leonard Bernstein’s Candide in Banff (British Columbia, Canada) in July 2018. This production and other performances are presented as part of an intensive residency titled Opera in the 21st Century at the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity, led by members of Against the Grain Theatre. More details forthcoming.

Raves for Konstanze in Avignon

I’ve just wrapped up my second stint of Konstanzes in Avignon, and the reviews are in:

“Katharine Dain, soprano américaine au lyrisme clair et pur, passe des tons les plus chauds aux notes les plus aigües avec une belle aisance, elle offre au personnage de Konstance toute la sincérité du rôle.” (“Katharine Dain, an American soprano of clear and pure lyricism, moves from the warmest tones to the highest notes with beautiful ease. She brings to the character of Konstanze all the sincerity the role requires.”) –Paroles d’Opéra


Live broadcast of Schoenberg 2nd string quartet

My performance in Amsterdam’s first String Quartet Biennale festival of Schoenberg’s second string quartet with Cuarteto Quiroga (on a concert also featuring Cappella Amsterdam in a world premiere of José Maria Sánchez-Verdu) will be broadcast live on NPO Radio 4. On February 1st at 8:15 pm Netherlands time, tune in to hear a live stream of the concert.

Update: if you missed it, you can listen back here. The Schoenberg starts at 1:38:30.


First reviews of Entführung

My first Konstanze in Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail (in January in Clermont-Ferrand, and touring afterwards to Avignon, Rouen, Massy, and Reims) is garnering excellent reviews. Forum Opera says: “hyper technicienne et flamboyante de passion vécue pour un ‘Martern alle Arten’ de haute volée. Cette autre lauréate du 25e Concours de Chant déploie une projection radieuse, qu’elle sublime dans un ‘Ach, ich liebte’ aux fins aigus vertigineux d’une noblesse désespérée qui n’a d’égal que l’admirable puissance dramatique du ‘Welcher Wechsel.'” (“An extreme technician, blazing with passion in a first-rate ‘Martern aller Arten.’ This laureate of the 25th International Competition projects a radiant presence, sublimated from the slimmest vertiginous heights of ‘Ach, ich liebte’ to a desperate nobility which nothing can equal but the admirable dramatic power of ‘Welcher Wechsel.'”)READ MORE

buzz for Entführung

Several French publications are excited about my upcoming Entführung. Diapason lists this production in its top three performances not to miss in January, calling my performance at the Clermont-Ferrand competition a “revelation.” La Montagne did a nice preview article with an interview, and Zap Magazine published a very different, very fun interview about some of my extra-Mozartean musical interests. All three clippings can be seen here.


CD release of Jan van de Putte’s Pessoa Cyclus

On December 3rd, my first commercial recording as a soloist will be released on the Etcetera label: a live recording of the world premiere in Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw of Insonia, one huge movement from Dutch composer Jan van de Putte’s monumental Pessoa-Cyclus. The CD, which also features sopranos Barbara Hannigan and Keren Motseri, mezzo-soprano Barbara Kozelj, Cappella Amsterdam, and Asko|Schönberg under the direction of Reinbert de Leeuw, will be available for purchase here in a few weeks.READ MORE

review of my first Marschallin

“Katharine Dain was an unusually youthful Marschallin, lovely in the Act One Monologue. At the close of the act, her line “…da drinnist die silberne Ros’n” with its arching high piano was beautifully done, as was the opening line of the Final Trio.” Musical Toronto, 12 June

Indeed, I’m “unusually youthful” compared to this role’s usual casting, although the character herself is meant to be close to my age. I hope this was the first of many chances to dive into this most beautiful of roles and operas–what a joy. Bravi tutti.

review of Matthew Passion with King’s College Cambridge

“Soprano Katharine Dain’s delivery of the plaintive, tender melody, ‘Aus Liebe, Aus Liebe’, with flute accompaniment, held everyone spellbound and caught at precisely its right moment the sheer depth of a sorrow that would only be finally alleviated by the warm reassurance of the aria, ‘Mache dich, mein Herze,’ sung with robust conviction by impressive bass Brindley Sherratt.” Cambridge News, 12 April 2017


website 3.0

After a huge amount of work, I’m delighted to present my new website. I’ve come a long way since iWeb and my earliest WordPress days. Please do send me any feedback–problems you spot or things you like. I’ll keep tweaking, but this project has been yet another labor of love, and I’m happy to have invested the time and learned a lot as I went.