About Kelly

Kelly GuerraSelect credits: Roméo et Juliette (Stéphano), The Crucible (Betty Parris), Il Postino (Donna Rosa cover), and Madama Butterfly (Suzuki cover) with Opera Santa Barbara; A Quiet Place (Mrs. Doc) with The Tanglewood Music Center; Le Nozze di Figaro (Cherubino), The Mock Marriage (Juliane) with UCSB Opera Theatre; Serse (Amastre), Agrippina (Narciso), Little Women (Jo March cover) with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Awards: Performing Arts Scholarship Foundation Competition (2018)—First Place.
Education: Bard College Conservatory of Music (Master of Music, 2016), San Francisco Conservatory of Music (Bachelor of Music, 2014).

Visit Kelly's Website


To Watch

Virtual Sing-In, Part 2

Opera Invasion 1: Ballads on Balconies, Tour C

Cocktails, Concerts, and Conversations, Week 3

”I Moved Here During All of This” (Chautauqua Opera Song Cycle)

Week Three Master Class

Opera Invasion 2: Opera Open Book

Opera Invasion 3: Miller Bell Tower Sing-a-long

Week Eight Master Class

Opera Invasion 4: Grand Finale - A Musical Tour of the Institution Grounds

Young Artist Interview

Kelly Guerra HiggletyQ: What is your hometown?
Simi Valley, CA.

Q: What was the first opera you saw and how old were you?
A: My first opera was the Die Zauberflöte when I was 18 on a choir trip in NYC!

Q: What was the first opera in which you performed?
A: My first opera ever was Don Giovanni and I was in the chorus. My first role was Narciso in Agrippina

Q: Opera features some pretty iconic characters. Who is your favorite operatic character and why?
A: One of my favorite operatic characters is Brünnhilde. She's a warrior that fights for what she believes in, even if she has to sacrifice herself in the process. Also that MUSIC! ICON. LEGEND. STAR. Hearing Christine Goerke sing in Die Walküre was life changing...

Q: Who are your opera singing idols?
A: LISETTE. OROPESA. SHE IS A GODDESS!!! Other goddesses include: Baltsa, Callas, Fleming, Freni, Horne, Sills, Sutherland, Troyanos, Te Kanawa.... This list could be miles long! I wonder which idol will be listed the most? My guess is Callas. 

Q: What do you love most about opera?
A: I think that opera, and specifically the aria, took over Italy and eventually the rest of Europe because opera gives performers and audiences the license to feel and express in a big way. Living in the moment has always been difficult for people, and opera extends what could have been fleeting into something timeless. Opera fulfills my escapist tendencies with raw emotion in the form of glorious music. I like being in the audience almost as much as I love being onstage. 

Q: Chautauquans love their ice-cream! What is your favorite flavor?
A: Anything that has cherries in it. Is there anything more heavenly than a frozen cherry chunk? 

Photo caption: Kelly Guerra as Jennie the Sealyham Terrier in Bard College Conservatory's Higglety Pigglety Pop! by Oliver Knussen. Photo credit: Karl Rabe.

Spotify Playlist

Each week, two of our Young Artists will draw inspiration from Chautauqua Institution’s weekly theme and weekly interfaith theme to curate Spotify playlists for your listening pleasure. We hope these playlists provide inspiration, joy, and a chance to engage with these themes in a different way.

For Week Three, Kelly Guerra drew inspiration from the theme Art and Democracy 

She says:

“I made this playlist on the eve of Independence day, with the topic of democracy front and center in my mind. It feels like a strange time to be celebrating our country's independence while there are protests and deep systemic wrongs still needing to be righted. Along with our social and political climate, we are still in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, which has locked us in our homes for the good of our community's health.  

Art is like a mirror that displays the rights and wrongs of society, as well the qualities that reflect our humanity. Many composers risked their lives and careers in order to create music that stood for their ideals, even if it did not fit in with the political status quo. So, in this playlist, I chose not to shy away from difficult subjects, but to actually meditate on these issues. In a democracy we have certain and unalienable rights, which include the right to vote and of free speech. Protesting for change and fighting for those whose voices are silenced is a right. This playlist honors those who had their lives taken away from them too soon, and is a plea to end violence with unity and love for humankind.

I have sung many of the vocal pieces in this playlist, except for the pieces that are brand new to me, which are "Seven Last Words of the Unarmed" by Joel Thompson, and “And They Lynched Him on a Tree” by William Grant Still. These masterfully composed pieces are full of sorrow and anger, and are absolutely glorious.  I recommend that you look these composers up, and try to get these pieces, as well as more of their music, programmed.

I try to end the playlist on a hopeful note, first with the final movement of the beautiful piano piece “The People United Will Never Be Defeated” by Frederic Rzewski and then with “Va Pensiero” from Nabucco by Verdi, to drive the point that together, we can fight for what is right. Black Lives Matter.  Credit to Molly Phelan of  https://www.classicaladventureleague.com/canon-fodder  for information and inspiration.“