American mezzo-soprano, Kathryn Leemhuis, is widely gathering acclaim for having “a large, beautiful, dark instrument, intelligently used, and spot-on dramatic timing” (St. Louis Today). Her voice has been described as having a “sweet, penetrating vocal timbre and refined fit” (La Nacion Line), that is “stunning in its combination of musical and dramatic nuance” (Living at the Opera).
The 2012-2013 season will find Ms. Leemhuis singing the mezzo solo in Haydn’s Missa in Angustiis with Chicago’s Music of the Baroque, singing the mezzo solo with the Apollo Chorus of Chicago in Handel’s Messiah, and performing one of her staple roles, Hänsel, in Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel with the Macon Symphony Orchestra. She will return to DuPage Opera as Dorabella in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, and will perform Berlioz’s Les nuits d'été with the Richmond Symphony. The 2011-2012 season found Ms. Leemhuis returning to the Lyric Opera of Chicago as an alumna of the Ryan Opera Center to understudy the role of Giulietta in Offenbach’s Les contes d’Hoffmann. She made her role debut as Suzuki in DuPage Opera’s production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, and sang the mezzo solo in Mendelssohn’s Die erste Walpurgisnacht with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra. She also returned to Opera Theatre St. Louis as Dorabella in a new production of Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte to great success.
Ms. Leemhuis’ 2010-2011 season included her role and company debut as Amaltea in Rossini’s Mosè in Egitto at the Chicago Opera Theater. The performances proved a success as Opera News praised her for delivering “an excellent Amaltea, biting off her consonants like a scrappish piranha and coursing through the queen's volatile writing with precision and flash." She also sang the role of Paquette in Bernstein’s Candide both with the esteemed Ravinia Festival and with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl. Making her DuPage Opera debut, Ms. Leemhuis sang the role of Zita in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, and rounded off her season as Zerlina in Opera Theatre St. Louis’ production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. In the 2009-2010 season, she continued in the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center, where she sang the roles of Giovanna in Verdi’s Ernani and Glasa in Janácek's Kát'a Kabanová. She also covered the roles of Marguerite in Berlioz's La damnation de Faust, Siebel in Gounod's Faust, and Varvara in Janácek's Kát'a Kabanová. Ms. Leemhuis made two large role debuts; Donna Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Rosina in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia, both in Ryan Opera Center productions. Ms. Leemhuis joined the Ryan Opera Center for the 2008-2009 season in which she performed the roles of Javotte in Massenet’s Manon and Kunstgewerblerin in Berg’s Lulu. During that season, she covered the roles of Kate Pinkerton in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly and Lola in Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana.
Ms. Leemhuis is a 2012 National Semi-Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. She is also the first place winner of the 2010 Musicians’ Club of Women Competition, the 2009 American Opera Society Competition, the 2009 Union League Civic of Chicago Competition, and the 2007 Opera Columbus International Vocal Competition. She is the recent second place winner of the 2011 Gerda Lissner Foundation Vocal Competition, the 2011 Bel Canto Vocal Competition, and the 2010 Fort Worth McCammon Competition. She is the third place winner of the 2010 Licia Albanese-Puccini Competition, and the 2009 Florida Grand Opera Competition. Ms. Leemhuis has also received prizes from the Sullivan Foundation and the George London Foundation. She is a native of Columbus, Ohio.