Born into a musical family, local boy and world-renowned opera singer Quinn Kelsey does-n’t hesitate when asked: “Where does your passion for music stem from?”
“It’s a family thing,” he says. “It’s something that defines us - it’s in our blood, we can’t deny it. And it’s only grown as I progressed through high school, into college and then on through the last seven years since I’ve lived in Chicago.”
Kelsey, a baritone, is back home in the Islands once more, this time to get married. He and fiancée Marjorie Owens, a young soprano in opera as well, recently wed after meeting in fall 2004, when Owens and her roommate at the time went to Chicago to pursue opera.
Kelsey also has taken this opportune time here to give back to those who have supported him throughout his musical career. On Jan. 20 at 7 p.m., Hawaii Opera Theatre and Hawaii Theatre Center will welcome Kelsey back to Honolulu to celebrate HOT’s 50th anniversary season with “Quinn Kelsey - A Star Recital,” showcasing his award-winning repertoire at Hawaii Theatre. He will be accompanied by Tamara Sanikisze on piano.
The program for the evening, Kelsey says, will explore the repertoire he currently works on and in turn give audiences a complete idea of who he is in his work.
“My main goal at this point in my career is to be able to come home and give audiences an idea of how I feel I’ve progressed in the almost seven years I’ve been away,” explains Kelsey, who began his operatic career in 1991 as a member of the HOT chorus. “I want to be able to honor all of those who’ve given so much of their time, effort and endless resources in order for me to have gone as far as I have up until now.”
Kelsey, a 1996 graduate of University Laboratory School, appeared on MidWeek‘s cover in February 2007. Since then, he’s debuted at the Metropolitan Opera in La Boheme as Schaunard and traveled the globe with different opera companies, including Wisconsin’s Madison Opera. Kelsey also has performed two debuts in San Francisco as part of the La Boheme cast and as a singer in a concert of Leonard Bernstein music with the San Francisco symphony and maestro Michael Tilson Thomas, along with singing in Japan and at Carnegie Hall in New York City, to name a few.
As for his most memorable experience in his musical career thus far, Kelsey says it’s a draw between his Metropolitan Opera debut and landing a contract with San Francisco Opera this past fall.
“Taking my opening night solo bow at the Met was hands down a huge moment for me in my career,” he says.
“On the other hand, hearing the rush of applause after finishing my aria in Il Trovatore is something to behold, indeed,” Kelsey adds.
Kelsey’s schedule is already filling up for the new year, having committed to return to NewYork City this March to sing the role of Sharpless in City Opera’s Madama Butterfly. This summer, Kelsey will visit Bregenz, Austria, to take part in Aida.
For now, he continues to have his mind set on next week’s recital. “If nothing else, I want people to come to this concert and glean a sense of pride in who I am,” he says. “I want them to feel that they are part of each and every piece that is offered.”
Tickets for the recital cost $50 and $25; a $75 VIP package includes premium orchestra seating and a post-recital cocktail reception with the artist at Hawaii Theatre. Call Hawaii Theatre Center Box Office at 528-0506 or visit www.hawaiitheatre.com for more information.
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