Soprano Kimberly McCord has been described by Opera magazine as possessing “the ideal mix of drama, power and sensitivity.” The Chicago Tribune praised her "luscious, billowing voice, superb technique and fine expressive command" as Handel's Rodelinda. She has performed with the Peninsula Music Festival in Verdi’s Requiem, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, and Barber's Knoxville, Summer of 1915. With Chicago's Music of the Baroque she has sung Mozart’s Solemn Vespers, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, Handel’s Dixit Dominus and Vivaldi’s Gloria. After receiving a Fulbright award to study Baroque music in London with Dame Emma Kirkby, Kimberly lived in Europe for eight years. While there, she appeared as Medée in Lully’s Thesée with conductor William Christie and toured with the Gabrieli Consort under Paul McCreesh as Dido in Dido and Aeneas. With Maestro McCreesh she also sang Créuse in Charpentier's Medée at the Dartington Festival, England, and recorded the Bach Magnificat and Oster Oratorium for Deutsche Grammophon. McCord is an accomplished recitalist and has performed throughout England and the Netherlands. She is currently a member of the chorus of Lyric of Opera of Chicago.
What is the story of how you first came to love music and opera?
I don’t remember a time when I didn’t sing, but opera came a bit later, in high school. I don’t cry easily, especially not back then, but my mom caught me watching the end of The Marriage of Figaro on “Great Performances” on PBS with tears in my eyes. I’d never seen an opera before, living in rural Missouri. I was hooked by the emotional power of it.
What is the biggest challenge you face as an artist?
Figuring out what I need to do to bridge the gap between the score and the audience.
Do you have a favorite performer?
I love performers who take risks and give their all to the audience, like Anna Netrebko and Joyce di Donato.
Do you have a favorite role? Aria? Opera?
Few roles show as many facets of a single woman as Cleopatra in Giulio Cesare (Handel). My favorite opera is Don Giovanni.
What are you reading?
I’m buried in several gardening books at the moment.
Who are your favorite 17th and 18th century composers?
Monteverdi, Purcell, Bach, Handel and Mozart. The usual suspects, I suppose.
If you were stranded on a desert island, is there one piece of music you would like to have with you?
Bach Mass in B Minor.
What do you love about HOC?
I love the full on, total commitment HOC brings to their productions. They believe that early opera has something to offer modern people. By remaining faithful to the original concept, they allow the operas to speak directly to audiences.
Do you have a favorite memory from a past HOC event?
There were several moments in the rehearsal process for the Haydn that my colleagues had me so tickled I wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to remain in character.
What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not making music?
Home renovation. I’m just starting to up my game by getting into woodworking.
What is the first thing you think about in the morning?
Wouldn’t you like to know!
Do you have any heroes/heroines?
My heroes are people who have been dealt a difficult hand in life yet still manage to have generosity for others.
What music do you listen to most often?
If you had not entered into your current career what do you think you would have done instead?