Kimberly Barber, mezzo-soprano


Profile ArticlesReview Archive: In Opera | In Concert | In Recording

IN Opera:

Dead Man Walking, Opéra de Montréal 2013
"The supporting cast was excellent. Most moving was Kimberly Barber as De Rocher's mother. Her Act II pleading was heart wrenching."
--Ossama el Naggar, Opera Canada, Summer 2013

“In her role as the mother of Joseph De Rocher, mezzo-soprano Kimberly Barber distinguishes herself and gives this production its touch of humanity. A great lyric artist was revealed on the stage of the Salle Wilfrid Pelletier and it is to be hoped that she will be seen again at Opéra de Montréal.” 
--Daniel Turp, Le blogue lyrique, March 2013

 “Dead Man Walking is additionally four exceptional performances in secondary roles...Kimberly Barber as the mother of the murderer...”
--Christopher Huss, Le Devoir, March 11, 2013

 “Five performances to single out: Kimberly Barber, as the mother of the murderer, in her wrenching (and useless) plea in favour of her son...”
--Claude Gingras, La Presse, March 10, 2013

 “Kimberly Barber’s shapely mezzo stood out as De Rocher’s frightened, confused and still proud mother...” 
--Lev Bratishenko, Montreal Gazette, March 11, 2013

Crazy to Kill, Toronto Masque Theatre 2011
“Barber is a consummate professional. Her voice has deepened into a rich, fruity sound with wonderful low notes. Her onstage assurance speaks of her many years of experience.” 
--Paula Citron, Opera Canada, Winter 2012

L’incoronazione di Poppea, Opera Atelier 2009
“The only performer who forcefully used language as well as voice to project a mood in this most declamatory of operas was Kimberly Barber in the short but powerful role as the wronged queen, Ottavia.” 
--Carl Morey, Opera Canada, Fall 2009

“Kimberly Barber gives a riveting performance vocally and dramatically as the spurned Empress, Ottavia. This is her first performance with OA and let’s hope they find more roles for her.”
--Michael Johnson,, May 2009

Regina, Pacific Opera Victoria 2008
“Kimberly Barber was transfixing in the title role.”
--Opera Canada, Summer 2008

“Canadian mezzo-soprano Kimberly Barber, in the title role, has a velvet (and leopard skin) voice.” 
--Michael Harris, The Globe and Mail, April 29, 2008

“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...she manages to nail her high C and low G and is wonderfully aggressive in two thrilling arias.”
--Grania Litwin, Victoria Times-Colonist, April 19, 2008

Cosi fan tutte, Seattle Opera 2006
“Canadian mezzo Kimberly Barber has a graceful Mozart style with a core of steel that never belied her character’s feisty inner spirit.  She instantly established Despina—no longer a maid, but a “personal assistant”—when she flounced in with a couple of venti Starbucks lattes for Fiordiligi and Dorabella.”
--Robert Jordan, Opera Canada, May-June 2006

“Kimberly Barber was a terrific Despina.”
--Melinda Bargreen, Seattle Times, February 27, 2006

Werther, Vancouver Opera 2006
“Mezzo Kimberly Barber was wonderful as Charlotte…She had a telling way of giving just the right shading to crucial words and was very affecting in her long passage where she realizes her feelings for Werther.” 
--Lloyd Dyck, Vancouver Sun, October 16, 2006

 “Kimberly Barber carried Charlotte’s elegance and contained suffering well.  She showed genuine concern for Werther in that gorgeous first act duet, while her voice rang out strongly during a highly charged Letter Scene.”
--Christopher Darling, Opera Canada, January-February 2007

Dead Man Walking, Calgary Opera 2006
“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.”
--Bob Clark, Calgary Herald, January 29, 2006

 Cosi fan tutte, Vancouver Opera 2005
“As her less strong-willed sister, Kimberly Barber’s tall, red-headed Dorabella made a good physical contrast to Selbig’s petite blond.  Barber did well in portraying her character’s flickering changes in mood, and she is a very good comic actress…the dramatic effects were always dead on.”
--Christopher Darling, Opera Canada, Summer 2005

“Mezzo-soprano, Kimberly Barber as Dorabella, really takes the cake as a woman who lives for the moment…Brimming with warmth, her voice expresses her passion for the moment, for the immediacy of what the heart speaks.” 
--Grace Cameron, The Boards, March 2005

Rinaldo, Opera in Concert 2004
“The female leads were particularly effective, with mezzo Kimberly Barber, in the title role, showing her mastery of the musical idiom right from the opening number…Her account of the lament, ‘Cara sposa’, was achingly languid and beautiful; her martial music was thrilling in the precision of its execution.” 
--Wayne Gooding, Opera Canada, Summer 2004

 “The singing was of a particularly high level, artists quickly illuminating character…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

 “The luminous mezzo-soprano Kimberly Barber likewise needed no costume to transform herself into the shining knight Rinaldo.  Yes, strictly speaking she uses more vibrato than is stylistically appropriate.  But Barber plumbed the opera’s moment of deepest humanity in a heart-wrenching performance of the famous aria Cara sposa—her voice alive with infinite tenderness and nobility, her face ravaged by grief.”
--Tamara Bernstein, National Post, March 26, 2004

Ariadne auf Naxos, Seattle Opera 2004
“The singing was essentially glorious…Canadian mezzo Kimberly Barber was a sensation as the Composer…[she] thoroughly deserved her enthusiastic applause at curtain.” 
--Robert Jordan, Opera Canada, Summer 2004

“Kimberly Barber threw heart and soul into the role of the Composer, from her first appearance… [she] looked the part and sang it with all the passion of the despairing but hopeful artist.” 
--Melinda Bargreen, Seattle Times, March 1, 2004

“Kimberly Barber’s portrait of the Composer was a breath of freshness.”
--R.M. Campbell, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, March 1, 2004

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

Ariodante, Opera in Concert, Toronto 2001
“Barber was luminous as Ariodante—her voice exhilaratingly free, her face transparently reflecting the Prince’s emotions…Barber never settled for mere display: The coloratura always sprang directly from the emotions…”
--Tamara Bernstein, The National Post, April 3, 2001

“Barber…is a trouser role veteran and 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

Vanessa, Seattle Opera 1999
“Ultimately the focus of the evening fell on the Erika, Kimberly Barber, whose cool Nordic beauty and warm lyric mezzo made her an enchanting, enigmatic figure.  Her Erika was all frigid reserve in public, barely able to bend physically or emotionally.”
--Theodore Deacon, Opera, July 1999

“Kimberly is beautiful as the idealistic Erika…cannily portray[ing her] vulnerability, and the steely character beneath it, in a portrayal of real depth; vocally she's right on target.”
--Melinda Bargreen, The Seattle Times, March 1, 1999

“I loved Kimberly Barber's Erika.  She is first a marvelous singer, one of musical breadth, firm voice and shining timbre...”
--R. M. Campbell, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, March 1, 1999

Ariadne auf Naxos, Chicago Lyric Opera 1998
“Barber quickly warmed to the difficult part…A natural trouser-role actress, she captured the feel of a young man torn between artistic purity and the first stirrings of romantic passion.” 
--Andrew Patner, Chicago Sun-Times, November 24, 1998

L'heure espagnole with London Symphony Orchestra/Barbican Hall 1997
"Frederica von Stade had been scheduled to sing Concepción but was indisposed; in her absence, the Canadian mezzo Kimberly Barber proved a most alluring deputy, coy, beguiling, bitchy, full of fun and vocally distinctive."
--Robert Cowan, The Independent, June 14, 1997

Xerxes, Seattle Opera 1997
“Barber gives a different reading of the title role than Frederica von Stade, who sings in the Gold Series.  She is more robust and less refined, almost earthy, on occasion.  Her foot taps out the rhythm of a tune; she does a somersault across the floor.  Her ebullience is catchy and attractive…Her singing is excellent…”
--R.M. Campbell, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, February 1997

 “As Xerxes, Kimberly Barber commanded plenty of firepower, with an attractively even mezzo-soprano that rises to an impressive high register.”
--Melinda Bargreen, Seattle Times, Feb. 24, 1997

L’étoile, Opera Zuid 1993
"Fascinating to behold was the singing and acting presence of Canadian mezzo-soprano Kimberly Barber as Lazuli.  Never before has a mezzo-soprano so convincingly and with such passion, so naturally embodied a trouser role."
--Doron Nagan, Algmeen Dagblad, September 20, 1993

"Lazuli is, however, the key figure of the piece.  With her scintillating phrasing, razor-sharp timing, and astonishingly plastic body language, Barber made a great impression.  "
--Michael Davidson, Opera, December 1993

"Star of the evening was the Canadian mezzo-soprano Kimberly Barber as Lazuli.  She sang brilliantly.  The role also fitted her personality as if it had been written for her."
--John Hoenen, De Limburger Vridag, September 1993

L’étoile, Opéra Français de New York 1993
"Kimberly Barber made an exceptional Lazuli, the travesti peddler, shining in the title ode..." 
--Richard Traubner, Opera News, September 1993

“Outstanding in the leading role of Lazuli was mezzo-soprano Kimberly Barber, a stage-wise performer with a lovely, warm voice, now a leading artist with the Frankfurt Opera.”
--William H. Wells, Opera Monthly, September/October 1993

“Kimberly Barber was a radiant Lazuli”
--Bernard Holland, The New York Times, May 18, 1993

Hoffmanns Erzählungen, Oper Frankfurt 1991
“Kimberly Barber accompanied Hoffmann as a disguised Muse with theatrical wit and beautifully-sounding mezzo timbre throughout the entire opera”
--Rolf Heron, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, April 15, 1991

The Gambler, English National Opera 1990
“The Canadian mezzo-soprano Kimberly Barber makes an impressive British debut as Pauline, singing warmly while giving toughness to the character.”
--Edward Greenfield, The Guardian, March 16, 1990

Ariadne auf Naxos, Oper Frankfurt 1989
“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

La clemenza di Tito, Oper Frankfurt 1989
“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