Peruvian-American mezzo-soprano Kelly Guerra was most recently noted as a "standout" in the Wall Street Journal, for her performance at the Tanglewood Music Center as Mrs. Doc in Leonard Bernstein's A Quiet Place. Spring 2018, Guerra "created a sensation" (BravoCalifornia) singing the role of Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro in Santa Barbara. Guerra won first place in the Performing Arts Scholarship Foundation competition in 2018 as well. For the past year, Guerra has been workshopping the opera Iphigenia by Wayne Shorter and Esperanza Spalding, and will be performing scenes from the opera as part of the REACH Festival at the Kennedy Center this September.
This 2019-2020 season, Guerra will be an Opera Santa Barbara Chrisman Studio Artist. She will cover the roles of Suzuki (Madama Butterfly), Doña Rosa (Il Postino), and will perform the role of Stéphano in Roméo et Juliette during their season. Spring 2020, Kelly will premiere Katherine Balch’s Cantata for Orchestra and 3 Voices with the California Symphony.
Guerra has been featured at the Lucerne Festival, Tanglewood Music Center, and the Bard Music Festival. Guerra has performed with a variety of ensembles including the Albany Symphony, Santa Barbara Symphony, Garden State Philharmonic, The Orchestra Now, Contemporaneous, Opera Parallèle and BluePrint.
As a performer of contemporary music, Kelly starred as Jennie The Sealyham Terrier in a National Opera Association award-winning production of Oliver Knussen’s Higglety Pigglety Pop! at the Bard College Conservatory of Music. Standard roles in Kelly’s repertoire include Cherubino, Dorabella, Zweite Dame, Cendrillon, and Charlotte.
As a recitalist (and as a human on this planet), she hopes to produce several concerts that raise awareness about the importance of social justice and inclusivity by programming contemporary composers, female or non-binary composers, and composers or poets of color, as well as raising money for those in need.
A graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Guerra is a recipient of the Vocal Excellence award. Guerra holds a master’s degree from the Bard College Conservatory’s Vocal Arts Program, where her closest mentors were Dawn Upshaw and the late Sanford Sylvan. Kelly is in candidacy for her DMA in Vocal Performance at the University of California Santa Barbara. Her dissertation topic is Peruvian-American composer Gabriela Lena Frank’s opera, El último sueño de Frida y Diego. ~August 2019~