Kimberly Barber, mezzo-soprano

Concerts >PERFORMING | Opera highlights


Opera: Where, When, Who, About



Oksana G (Aaron Gervais)

Tapestry Opera 2017 (World Premiere)
Director Tom Diamond, Conductor Jordan de Souza 

"The standout for me as Asa, the tarot reader, was mezzo-soprano Kimberly Barber. She absolutely shines in this role. Wisdom and clarity in a lovely smoky low register, I found myself immediately captured by her presence onstage.” —Greg Finney,

Mrs. Patrick De Rocher

Dead Man Walking
(Jake Heggie)

Opéra de Montréal 2013
Conductor Wayne Marshall, Director Alain Gauthier; Allyson McHardy, Etienne Dupuis

Winner: OPUS Award for Musical Event of the Year (2012-13)

“Kimberly Barber distinguishes herself and gives this production its touch of humanity. A great lyric artist was revealed…”
- Daniel Turp, Le blogue lyrique, March 2013

Sister Helen Prejean

Dead Man Walking
(Jake Heggie)

Calgary Opera 2006 (Canadian Premiere) Conductor David Agler, Director Kelly Robinson; Judith Forst, Daniel Okulitch, Gregory Dahl

National Broadcast on CBC Radio 2, Saturday Afternoon at the Opera

"Barber was remarkable, her portrayal nuanced and sensitive in charting the nun's odyssey to religious forgiveness and compassion.”
- Kenneth DeLong, Opera Canada, March-April 2006

“In the role of Sister Helen, Kimberly Barber is outstanding, balancing gawky, self-assurance with a kind of radiant self-doubt that is quite touching… wonderfully affecting.”
- Bob Clark, Calgary Herald, January 29, 2006

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Ariadne auf Naxos (Strauss)

Seattle Opera 2004; Conductor Gerard Schwarz, Director Chris Alexander; Jane Eaglen, Richard Stilwell, Philip Cutlip

Frankfurt Opera, 1989/1990/1992/1997; Conductor Stefan Soltesz, Director Peter Mussbach; Ben Heppner, Anna Tomowa-Sintow

Chicago Lyric Opera 1998; Conductor Robert Spano; Director John Conklin; Deborah Voigt, Laura Aiken, Russell Braun, Victor Braun

Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Dusseldorf; Oper Freiburg--both 1990

Canadian Opera Company Ensemble 1985; Director Lotfi Mansouri


Seattle Opera
“Kimberly Barber was enchanting, her voice perfectly placed and full of subtle colours.”
- John F. Hulcoop, Opera News, February 28, 2004

Frankfurt Opera
“Kimberly Barber’s Composer—perhaps the actual discovery of the evening—with her slender and powerfully evocative voice and impressively calm portrayal underscored the starkness of this production’s stand-out images.”
- Elmar Krekeler, Die Welt, December 29, 1989


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Rinaldo (Handel)

Recording Naxos Records 2005

Toronto Opera in Concert 2004;
both Aradia Ensemble, Conductor Kevin Mallon, Laura Whalen, Barbara Hannigan

"The luminous mezzo-soprano Kimberly Barber…plumbed the opera's moment of deepest humanity in a heart-wrenching performance... her voice alive with infinite tenderness and nobility, her face ravaged by grief."
--Tamara Bernstein, National Post, March 26, 2004

“Barber's title role interpretation was strong and absorbing, particularly refined in the lower registers, hypnotically moving in the famed aria 'Cara sposa'-"
- Geoff Chapman, Toronto Star, April 4, 2004

New Productions - New Roles:
Kimberly Barber sings Rinaldo for Toronto Opera in Concert
- Opera Canada Magazine,
Summer 2004 Read PDF Article

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Palais Garnier 2002

Ariodante (Handel)

Opéra de Paris 2001 (debut) —jump-in for Anne-Sofie von Otter; Les Musiciens du Louvre, Conductor Marc Minkowski; Laura Claycomb, Patricia Petitbon

Toronto Opera in Concert 2001; Conductor Gary Wedow; Barbara Hannigan, Allyson McHardy

Barber was luminous as Ariodante—her voice exhilaratingly free, her face transparently reflecting the Prince’s emotions…
- Tamara Bernstein, National Post, April 3, 2001

Barber…here again nails a title role, particularly grand and poised, singing with vivid focus and finely sculptured phrasing
- Geoff Chapman, The Toronto Star, April 2, 2001



Xerxes (Handel)

Canadian Opera Company 1999; Conductor Noel Davies, Director Stephen Wadsworth; David Daniels
Broadcast nationally on CBC Radio 2 Saturday Afternoon at the Opera

Seattle Opera 1997; Conductor Daniel Beckwith, Director Stephen Wadsworth; Brian Asawa, Susannah Waters


Canadian Opera:
"Kimberly Barber's Serse… carried the show…from her opening Ombra mai fu…she sang with firm, luscious tone, her phrasing, style and decoration in the repeats all outstanding."
- Peter Dyson, Opera, June 1999

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La clemenza di Tito (Mozart)

Opéra de Paris 2001; Conductor Gary Bertini, Production Herbert Wernicke; Vesselina Kasarova, Christine Goerke

Netherlands Touring Opera 1991
South West German Radio Orchestra 1991; Conductor Hans Zender; Doris Soffel

Frankfurt Opera (debut) 1989/1990/1992/1993; Director Cesare Lievi, Conductor Gary Bertini; Keith Lewis


Frankfurt Opera
“Kimberly Barber’s… slender, bright mezzo voice surprised with its power and absolute security, taking the top notes effortlessly.”
- Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, April 6, 1989


L'heure espagnole

L'heure espagnole, (Ravel)

Seiji Ozawa Opera Project 2003, Japan Tour-Cover (Frederica von Stade), Conductor Seiji Ozawa, Director Laurent Pelly; Roberto Saccà, Jean-Paul Fouchécourt, José van Dam

London Symphony Orchestra at Barbican Hall & Recording Deutsche Grammophon 1997;
Conductor André Previn; John Mark Ainsley, Kurt Ollmann

Deutsche Grammophon
"Kimberly Barber's ... pronunciation, the elasticity and charisma of her voice unavoidably bring to mind a comparison with Felicity Lott. With the charm of her timbre, her strong expression and fine sense for lyrical and subtle nuances, she sings her way to the heart of this recording."
- M. Fiedler, Das Opernglas, October 1999

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Gianni Schicchi (Puccini)

Seiji Ozawa Opera Project, Japan Tour 2003; Conductor Seiji Ozawa, Director Laurent Pelly; José van Dam, Danielle de Niese, Donato di Stefano, Roberto Saccà, Jean-Paul Fouchécourt



Regina (Blitzstein)

Pacific Opera Victoria (Canadian premiere) 2008; broadcast nationally on CBC Radio on Saturday Afternoon at the Opera

"From the moment mezzo-soprano Kimberly Barber first sings, she’s in full command of the stage with her rich, brandy-smooth voice. She makes her evil role seem effortless, despite its huge acting demands"
- Grania Litwin, Victoria Times-Colonist, April 19, 2008

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