Kimberly Barber, mezzo-soprano

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

IN CONCERT:

Das Lied von der Erde, NUMUS 2011
“Barber exuded zest and life’s fullest joy in the fourth movement Von der Schönheit (Of Beauty), her fabulously rich and expressive voice was a joy to hear.”
--Stephen Preece, Kitchener-Waterloo Record, October 10, 2011

L’accordéoniste: Latin Heat, Jane Mallett Theatre 2011
“Often when opera singers attempt ‘cross-over’ repertoire, their training and technique mean that they still sound like opera singers. Not Kimberly Barber—listening to her Noel Coward and Kurt Weill this afternoon, one would never have guessed that she’s had a major career as a celebrated Xerxes, Rinaldo, Octavian and Composer.  A versatile artist, Barber sings this material completely idiomatically, with all the right inflections, accents and great attention to the words and drama. A high mezzo for her whole career, the voice has darkened with maturity while retaining much of the gleam and richness...”
--Joseph So, La Scena Musicale, Oct 2, 2011

Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, Elora Festival 2007
“Kimberly Barber, the beautiful mezzo-soprano, gave wings to Elgar’s angel with her elegant grace.”
--Kelly Waterhouse, Fergus-Elora News Express, July 18, 2007

“Festival artistic director Noel Edison, who conducted, had invited a stellar, all-Canadian vocal cast…mezzo-soprano Kimberly Barber [was] the very embodiment of the guiding angel…”
--John Terauds, Toronto Star, July 16, 2007

“Mezzo-soprano Kimberly Barber gave an outstanding performance as the angel…[she] filled the hall with her operatic quality voice, her performance stood out for capturing the subtle nuances and phrasings of the intimate moments, which were often incredibly moving and transcendental.” 
--Daniel Ariaratnam, K-W Record, July 16, 2007

 “[Barber’s] rich and luscious mezzo was used in a dramatic way; never singing just to project but rather to express the meaning of the musical lines and the Angel’s important message...she moved many in the audience to tears. Barber enfolded us with her eloquence and in the end one forgot that this was a singer performing a musical role, but really Elgar’s Angel.” 
--Mary-Lou Vetere, Operatoday.com, July 2007

Schoenberg String 4tet with Penderecki String Quartet at Perimeter Institute, Waterloo
“The movement also includes a soprano part with an ethereal text by Stefan George, performed exquisitely by mezzo-soprano Kimberly Barber.”
--Daniel Ariaratnam, K-W Record, October 17, 2005

R. Murray Schafer’s The Garden of the Heart, Open Ears Festival, KWSO 2005
“Barber’s beautiful voice floated above the accompaniment, entreating, pleading, reminiscing, every note pure and clear, pitch-perfect, no matter the sometimes difficult melodic line.  The Schafer with Barber was without doubt the high point of this program.” 
--Harry Currie, K-W Record, April 27, 2005

Recital with Frederica von Stade and Steven Blier 2003
“The draw was von Stade, of course, the world’s reigning mezzo, proving the she is at the peak of her vocal powers and career, but WLU’s Barber, performing with her friend and idol, displayed a voice with an uncanny resemblance to that of her mentor—so much so that she might very well be considered the heir apparent…some of the audience said they closed their eyes during these trade-offs and it sounded as if only one voice was singing the entire piece—high praise, indeed, for Barber…the two divas didn’t just sing superbly, they acted, gestured, moved, used facial expressions and felt every nuance of the songs they were singing, conveying this to the audience and capturing every rapt listener with their musical storytelling.” 
--Harry Currie, K-W Record, November 20, 2003

“I got to know Barber through her touching portrayals of Handel heroes, whom she invests with vulnerability as well as nobility. So I am always floored by her equally brilliant gift for 20th century music, and the ease with which she slips into the skin, say, of a New Jersey gangster’s daughter.  Her performance of ‘Hosing the Furniture’, with its volcanic rage simmering just beneath the comic surface, was a tour de force…Barber’s voice also soared thrillingly in the handful of duets on the program…one felt truly blessed to be, if only for a few hours, a Babe in Mezzoland.”
--Tamara Bernstein, National Post, November 20, 2003

A Few Words about Chekhov, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra 2003
“The premiere of the new edition was the high point of Saturday’s concert by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra…Argento’s idiosyncratic writing was eloquently realized by Swedish baritone Håkan Hagegård (as Chekhov) and Canadian mezzo-soprano Kimberly Barber (as Knipper).” 
--Larry Fuchsberg, St. Paul Star Tribune, March 24, 2003

“What a shining night…a luminous tale of romantic marriage…Argento’s song cycle ‘A Few Words about Chekhov’ illuminates the short marriage of playwright Anton Chekhov and actress Olga Knipper during the last six years of Chekhov’s life…Kimberly Barber’s rich mezzo-soprano filled Olga with the passion of a leading lady.  Hagegård and Barber sang intricate rhythms and pitches that skipped all over the staff as if they were the simplest of tunes.” 
--Joan Oliver Goldsmith, St. Paul Pioneer Press, March 24, 2003

Popera, Opera Ontario 2002
“The four soloists…simply could not be improved on…Barber continued with ‘Una voce poco fa’, displaying wonderful range and control as she portrayed the coquette…Barber had fun as Carmen the temptress in a Bizet aria…but the two flower duets were studies in perfection, one from Madama Butterfly and the other from Lakmé…Whalen and Barber breathed fresh life into the lovely music, and their superb interpretation could not have been bettered by any two sopranos on the planet.”
--Harry Currie, K-W Record, Dec. 2, 2002

Messiah, Grand Philharmonic Choir 2002
“Barber’s sound is cultured, yet dramatic.  She lingers on cadences, so you hear the music with your entire physical and emotional being.”
--Colleen Johnston, K-W Record, Dec. 16, 2002

Recital Waterloo 2002
“Having perfected her vocal and expressive technique to the pinnacle of virtuosity, it’s no wonder Barber has been invited to sing on the major international stages…Barber’s is a precisely honed voice, which can easily move listeners to laughter or tears.  It’s plummy, ripe, sincere and whether very soft or belted out, always honest…Her ability to conjure intelligently crafted and believable scenes from a short song…and lavish such understated sweet sadness…is astonishing.”
--Colleen Johnston, K-W Record, June 8, 2002

COC Orchestra, In Performance Series, Glenn Gould Studio 2001
“Vocal honours fell to outstanding members of the younger generation of Canadian singers.  Their successful appearance together in the Canadian Opera Company’s 1999 production of Handel’s Xerxes made two such singers, soprano Kathleen Brett and mezzo-soprano Kimberly Barber, logical candidates for paired exposure, both blessed with near-ideal voices for Mozart…both singers produced firm, clear tones, phrased expressively and sang for emotional meaning…”
--William Littler, Toronto Star, Feb. 28, 2001

Stravinsky’s Pulcinella, Avery Fisher Hall, NY, Mostly Mozart Festival 1999
“Kimberly Barber...performing beautifully, made her condition touching.”
--Paul Griffiths, New York Times, August 19, 1999

Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Duruflé and Fauré Requiems 1998
“The excellent Kimberly Barber transformed herself from the almost-white soprano register to the full-bodied vocalism of the mezzo-soprano.”
--Mya Tannenbaum, Il Corriere della Sera, June 8, 1998

Brahms and Britten Liederabend with Staatstheater Wiesbaden 1997:
“The opera singer in Kimberly Barber is noticeable: the ability to quickly slip into a role, imbuing each character of a song with unfailing sensitivity for text content and compositional refinement, all were played out to perfection…the consistent flexibility and brilliantly colored intensity of her interpretation and the richly-nuanced spectrum of her mezzo-soprano fascinate.”
--Daniela Koreimann, Wiesbadener Kurier, May 26, 1997

New York Festival of Song:
“Kimberly Barber, mezzo-soprano, was touching, pure and lovely in...Mr. Bolcom's Casino Paradise.” 
--Paul Griffiths, New York Times, January 17, 1997

Orquesta Ciudad de Granada, Les nuits d’été, Conductor Yves Abel 1992
“In Les nuits d’été of Berlioz, conductor and orchestra realized an excellent collaboration in accompanying Kimberly Barber, a mezzo with a beautiful voice, excellent phrasing and diction, with great sensitivity and capacity for expression. Her warm and evocative voice offered us text and music of great beauty.”
--Jose Antonio Lacarcel, Ideal, Granada, Nov. 11, 1992