Kelli Butler

Biography

Coloratura soprano Kelli Butler is no stranger to the stage, whether it be in opera, recital, or musical theatre. As a child from a military family, Kelli was raised in a multitude of locales, including Germany & the Eastern US, where her love of opera blossomed at an early age.

In February 2018, she made her house debut to critical acclaim with St. Petersburg opera as the formidable Königin der Nacht in Die Zauberflöte, a role she has twice shone in with Purchase College Opera; once as a college freshman, and later as a guest artist in an award-winning production; in June of the same year, she made her role debut as Musetta with New Rochelle Opera in La Bohème, where she would also debut her Violetta in La Traviata in June 2019. Kelli’s 2016 season included the world premiere of Anthony Davis’ Five, based on the 1989 Central Park Five rape case and the miscarriage of justice that followed. Kelli was also featured in a PBS documentary chronicling Five’s creation and its premiere. A versatile performer, Kelli has also recently bowed as The Lady of the Lake in Spamalot for the Curtain Call Theater, and debuted at The Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice in their prestigious Voices of Distinction concert.

A familiar face in New York’s opera scene, Kelli is a frequent collaborator with both New Rochelle Opera and Underworld Opera. For New Rochelle Opera she has bowed as Adele in Die Fledermaus, and has appeared frequently in concert, singing excerpts as Gilda (Rigoletto), Musetta (La Boheme), Cunegonde (Candide), and Sophie (Der Rosenkavalier). Kelli debuted with Underworld Opera in 2013 as Riccardo in the rarely-seen Scarlatti opera Il trionfo dell’onore, and returned the next year as Dinah in Trouble in Tahiti at Symphony Space.

Kelli made her New York City debut in 2010 in Die Zauberflöte, this time as Erste Dame, with the Martina Arroyo Foundation Prelude to Performance. She has also apprenticed with Bel Canto at Caramoor, where she appeared in their opening night performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and was featured as a soloist in their Bel Canto at Caramoor Young Artist concerts. Kelli has also trained at Renata Scotto’s summer academy, where she studied bel canto repertoire with Ms. Scotto. This was followed by a trip to Italy in 2007 to perform in Lucca, Barga, and Castelnuovo di Garfagnana in a series of operatic recitals featuring repertoire by Verdi, Puccini, and Donizetti. In 2008 saw her debut with the Altamura/Caruso International Opera Festival, where she both placed as a finalist and portrayed Valencienne in their adaptation of The Merry Widow, under the baton of Maestro Anton Coppola.

Kelli studied at the Purchase College Conservatory of Music, where she sang a number of principal roles including the Königin der Nacht (Die Zauberflőte), Adele (Die Fledermaus), Hanna in The Merry Widow, as well as the Dew Fairy in their award-winning adaptation of Hansel and Gretel. She continues her vocal studies with Metropolitan Opera mezzo-soprano Shirley Love and the acclaimed Canadian soprano Susan Eichhorn Young.

Kelli also tweets and creates content under her #OperaGeek brand. She is an active member of the streaming community, appearing regularly on Twitch playing Dungeons & Dragons, Tabletop RPGs, & streaming videogame playthroughs. You can follow her geekery on her Twitter page here.

Kelli currently resides in New York with her husband Justin and their highly illogical pets, Bones & Scotty. In 2019, she returns to St. Petersburg Opera in the title role of Léhar’s beloved The Merry Widow.

Repertoire

ROLES PERFORMED
Composer Role Work Company Year
Léhar Hanna Glawari The Merry Widow St. Petersburg Opera 2019
Verdi Violetta La traviata New Rochelle Opera 2019
Puccini Musetta La bohème New Rochelle Opera 2018
Mozart Die Königin der Nacht Die Zauberflöte St. Petersburg Opera 2018
Davis District Attorney Five (world premiere) Trilogy: An Opera Company 2016
Bernstein Dinah Trouble in Tahiti Underworld Opera NYC 2014
Du Prez/Idle/Innes Lady of the Lake Spamalot Curtain Call, Inc. 2014
Scarlatti Riccardo Il trionfo dell’onore Underworld Opera NYC 2013
J. Strauss II Adele Die Fledermaus New Rochelle Opera 2011
Mozart Queen of the Night Die Zauberflöte Purchase Opera Company (guest artist) 2010
Mozart First Lady Die Zauberflöte Martina Arroyo Academy 2010
Léhar Valencienne The Merry Widow Altamura Opera Festival 2008
Léhar Anna Glawari The Merry Widow Purchase Opera Company 2003
J. Strauss II Adele Die Fledermaus Purchase Opera Company 2003
SUGGESTED REPERTOIRE
Composer Role Work
Bellini Giulietta I Capuleti e i Montecchi
Bellini Amina, Lisa La sonnambula
Berg Lulu Lulu
Bernstein Cunegonde Candide
Britten Tytania A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Delibes Lakmé Lakmé
Donizetti Adina, Gianetta L’Elisir d’amore
Donizetti Marie La fille du Régiment
Donizetti Lucia Lucia di Lammermoor
Gilbert & Sullivan Josephine HMS Pinafore
Gilbert & Sullivan Mabel The Pirates of Penzance
Handel Cleopatra Giulio Cesare in Egitto
Handel Semele Semele
Monteverdi Poppea L’incoronazione di Poppea
Moore Baby Doe The Ballad of Baby Doe
Mozart Konstanze Die Entführung aus dem Serail
Mozart Madame Herz, Madame Silberklang The Impresario
Offenbach Olympia Les contes d’Hoffmann
Poulenc Soeur Constance Dialogues of the Carmelites
Puccini Musetta La bohème
Rossini Rosina Il barbiere di Siviglia
Rossini Amenaide Tancredi
Rossini Fiorilla Il turco in Italia
R. Strauss Zerbinetta, Najade Ariadne auf Naxos
Verdi Oscar Un ballo in maschera
Verdi Gilda Rigoletto
ORATORIO/CONCERT
Composer Work
Bach Mass in B minor
Bach St. John Passion
Bach St. Matthew Passion
Fauré Requiem
Handel Messiah
Handel Samson
Mozart Exsultate, Jubilate
Mozart Mass in C minor
Mozart Requiem
Mozart Vesperae Solennes de Confessore
Orff Carmina Burana
Vivaldi Gloria

In The Press

LA TRAVIATA

“Kelli Butler was an amazing Violetta, convincing in her ailing beauty act, which was at times so touching that I forgot it was not real and felt emotionally distressed. Moreover, she offered an impeccable and exciting singing performance, worthy of much more famous venues.” – Opera My Love magazine

THE MAGIC FLUTE

“Kelli Butler as The Queen of the Night nails all of the insanely high, high notes (4 F’s above high C) and lets face it, this role is about those notes. Both of her arias are strongly sung…” –William S. Oser, Talkin’ Broadway

“Kelli Butler adds a critical leg to the casting as the queen, culminating in a jaw-dropping coloratura performance of one of the most difficult arias ever written, ‘Der Holle Rache (The Revenge of Hell).'” –Andrew Meacham, Tampa Bay Times