Kyle Sackett, baritone, holds an M.M. in voice and opera performance from Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music and a B.M. in music education from SUNY Fredonia. Based in Chicago, Mr. Sackett works extensively, teaching voice and performing. He joined the voice faculty at Carthage College (Kenosha, WI) in 2015, where he continues to teach both classical and musical theater voice students. His opera credits include Owen Hart (Dead Man Walking), Guglielmo (Così fan tutte), Friedrich Bhaer (Little Women), Schaunard (La Boheme), The Four Villains (Les contes d’Hoffmann), and Herr Fluth (Die Lustigen Weiber von Windsor). He has performed numerous times with maestro Glen Cortese and the Western New York Chamber Orchestra, including the roles of Guglielmo (Cosi fan tutte) and Mr. Kofner (The Consul), and the bass soloist for Haydn’s Missa Sancti Nicolai and Vivaldi’s Magnificat. During the 2015-16 season, he sang the role of Papageno in Opera for the Young’s touring adaptation of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. He has been a featured baritone soloist for many concerts and oratorio, including Handel’s Judas Maccabeus, Mozart’s Requiem, Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs, and Duruflé’s Requiem. A passionate choral singer, Mr. Sackett has performed and recorded with top-tier ensembles including the GRAMMY-nominated new music ensemble The Crossing (Philadelphia), Music of the Baroque (Chicago), Grant Park Symphony Chorus (Chicago), Chicago Symphony Chorus, Vocális Chamber Choir (Buffalo), and Berkshire Choral International. He is also a founding member of the Chicago-based Constellation Men’s Ensemble. As a conductor and educator, Mr. Sackett served as the assistant music director of the Hannah Hasbrouck Petersen Concert Series in Fredonia, NY, and as chorus master for the 2012 Hillman Opera production of Suor Angelica. He is thrilled to join Berkshire Choral International as a staff instructor in the summer of 2017 after two previous seasons as an apprentice.
What is the story of how you first came to love music and opera?
When I was 8 years old, my mother tried to find an outlet for her very energetic son and enrolled me in a youth acting camp. I was very comfortable on stage and enjoyed performing and entertaining people. That quickly evolved into dance classes, voice lessons, and musical theater work. I remember seeing my first opera when I was 13 years old, Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah, at the Chautauqua Institute and thinking “This is like a musical, but better!” From that point on, I knew the performing arts would be the focus of my career, in whatever form possible.
What is the biggest challenge you face as an artist?
I think the biggest challenge I face as an artist is making time to sing for fun. In a professional setting, I truly love what I do. I love what performing offers to me and the world around me. I love how I feel when I’m singing. But I also miss those unique moments of freedom when I just sing for the joy of it -- those “shower singing” moments, so to speak.
Do you have a favorite performer?
I adore Joyce DiDonato. She is not only a stunning vocalist, but an intentional, caring actress. The detail she provides to each tiny moment of a performance is remarkable. She’s also an incredibly inspiring speaker and philanthropist.
Do you have a favorite role? Aria? Opera?
Lots to choose from here, but I absolutely love Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress. I think its style is so cleverly composed and Tom Rakewell’s journey is fascinating. I would love to sing the devilish Nick Shadow in this piece.
Do you have any favorite books about music?
An enormous part of my life is teaching voice, so I am often working my way through vocal pedagogy books and NATS journals. I’m currently reading Kenneth Bozeman’s Practical Vocal Acoustics.
What else are you reading?
I’m also reading Phillip Levine’s final book of poetry, The Last Shift.
Who are your favorite 17th- and 18th- century composers?
Bach and Handel, of course, but I also cherish singing choral works of Dietrich Buxtehude. His Membra Jesu Nostri is a favorite of mine.
If you were stranded on a desert island, is there one piece of music you would like to have with you?
I would probably say Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs. Not only is it stunningly beautiful music, but George Herbert’s words would likely be very comforting in a desert island situation!
What do you love about HOC?
While this is my first time performing with HOC, one thing I love is being able to perform rare, unearthed gems. There are few companies with a mission and execution as effective as HOC’s.
What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not making music?
I am a huge sports fan. I will watch and get way too invested into any sporting event you put in front of me. I also love being outside on my bicycle, cruising along the lakefront.
What is the first thing you think about in the morning?
“Will I have time for a nap today…?” I’m not exactly a morning person.
Do you have any heroes/heroines?
My late Grandma Grace. There’s never been a more selfless, dedicated, and strong individual.
What music do you listen to most often?
I listen to a wide range of things. I teach a lot of musical theater majors, so I often explore new Broadway cast albums. I also really love James Taylor and Joni Mitchell.
If you had not entered into your current career what do you think you would have done instead?
It is very hard to imagine not teaching in some capacity, asI love sharing something I’m passionate about with others. But to go in a very different direction, I would say sports journalism and broadcasting.