News

Sewanee Welcomes Kallen Esperian as Artist in Residence

The Department of Music at the University of the South welcomes Ms. Kallen Esperian as Artist in Residence for vocal studies for the 2018-2019 academic year.

Please click here to see this link produced in 2017 by the Tennessee Arts Commission:

Opera singer Kallen Esperian, quite simply, is one of the greatest singers in the
world. As a measure of her stature, she is the only one of "The Three Sopranos" who
has performed individually with each one of the "Three Tenors" in concerts and in opera
houses around the world. Kallen Esperian catapulted to the world stage as a winner of
the Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competition in her early twenties, becoming
one of the leading sopranos of our time. She has paired many times with the greatest
male opera vocalists of our era: Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, and Jose
Carreras, both in opera performances and in concert. Ms. Esperian’s career has seen
her in leading roles at every major opera house in the world, including the Metropolitan
Opera, Milan’s La Scala, the Vienna Staatsoper, the Royal Opera House at Covent
Garden, Munich’s Bayerische Staatsoper, both the Staatsoper and the Deutsche Oper
in Berlin, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the San Francisco Opera, Opera National de
Paris, Gran Teatro de Liceu of Barcelona, Teatro Communale di Bologna, Arena di
Verona, Orange Festival France, Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Los Angeles Opera and
the Washington National Opera. Of note is that, for more than two centuries, the opera
house, La Scala, in Milan, Italy, has been regarded as the most revered opera stage in
the world, and it is Kallen Esperian of Tennessee, who was told that, with seventeen
curtain calls after her performance of the title role in Verdi's Luisa Miller, she holds the
record for greatest number of curtain calls at La Scala. Ms. Esperian has performed
with the world’s greatest conductors, including Riccardo Muti, James Levine, Zubin
Mehta, Sir Colin Davis, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Robert Shaw, Danielle Gatti, James Conlin,
Daniel Oren and David Zinman. She has sung numerous concert performances
throughout the world, including those with Placido Domingo, and those with teacher,
mentor, friend, and greatest male voice of the last hundred years: Luciano Pavarotti.
Ms. Esperian appeared as Mina opposite tenor Jose Carrreras in La Scala’s first-ever
performance of Verdi’s Stiffelio.


Many of Ms. Esperian’s performances, both operatic and concert, have been recorded,
and many televised throughout the world. Ms. Esperian is featured in the film
documentary, Distant Harmony, which highlights her groundbreaking performances in
China with Luciano Pavarotti. As one of “The Three Sopranos”, Kallen’s voice is
recorded on Atlantic Records, and the concert was filmed live in London, and broadcast
on PBS, before touring extensively in Eastern Europe and South Africa. Other
recordings include Pavarotti: Live from Royal Albert Hall on the Decca label and Maria
Stuarda on the Serenissima label. Some of the many recordings of Kallen’s unmistably
identifiable voice are the following: Kallen Esperian Live – Arias; Lover Come Back;
Tibor Rudas Presents the Three Sopranos; Pavarotti Plus; Enchanted Reverie:
Christmas with Kallen; Donizetti: Maria Stuarda; Verdi – Requiem: Kallen Esperian,
Luciano Pavarotti, Dolora Zajick, Carlo Colombara, Daniel Oren, San Carlo; Tibor
Rudas Presents The Three Sopranos: Cassello, Esperian, Lawrence – Live in Los
Angeles; and Pavarotti in China by Kallen Esperian and Luciano Pavarotti. One
objective gauge of Ms. Esperian’s popularity throughout the world can be experienced
by googling the World Wide Web for limitless entries of Kallen Esperian on youtube,
Amazon, Opera, Soprano, and the list goes on and on.


When Kallen debuted at The Metropolitan Opera in New York City, she was informed by
the box office that on that evening the house held more attendees from a performer’s
home state than had ever supported any other single artist: more than 400
Tennesseans were in the house! Kallen has performed with Jackson Symphony
Orchestra, with Nashville Opera (Madame Butterfly), and many, many times with
Memphis Symphony Orchestra. Never has Kallen performed opera in Memphis to a
house that was not a complete sellout! For years she cleared her international calendar
every other year to perform in Tennessee with Opera Memphis. Among her many
performances with Opera Memphis at the Orpheum Theater in Memphis, Kallen has
performed Marguerite in "Faust" Gounod, Leonora in " Il Trovatore" Verdi, Violetta in "La
Traviata" Verdi (2 different productions), Norma in "Norma" Bellini, Cio Cio San in
"Madame Butterfly" Puccini, Tosca in "Tosca" Puccini, and Carmen in "Carmen" Bizet.
As testament to Kallen’s commitment to Tennessee, let it be known that Memphis is the
only home town city of any of The Three Sopranos in which one of them - Ms. Kallen
Esperian - provided a concert of The Three Sopranos, when they appeared at the
MidSouth Coliseum! Kallen is currently performing a concert series with fellow
Tennessean and international pianist, Gary Beard.


Giving to hospitals, charities, and other organizations associated with children, comes
straight from Kallen’s heart, for, as she says, “children are our future.” Her performance
for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital at Memphis’ Orpheum Theater was televised
and aired nationally. She performed at the Groundbreaking for the new Le Bonheur
Children’s Hospital and for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. She has
performed many times with the Memphis Boys Choir, and taught at summer camp. She
has taught Master Classes with Memphis City Schools through ArtsMemphis. A favorite
teaching stint for young people was summer camp at Stax Music Academy. Kallen has
also performed for the Kidney Foundation, the Heart Foundation, Friends for Life, Dixon
Gallery and Gardens, Germantown Performing Arts Center, IRIS Orchestra, the
Opening of Katherine the Great in the Wonder Series, Memphis Botanic Garden with
the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, and Memphis in May Sunset Symphony.


Although Kallen’s personal belief is “what matters is what you give”, she has received
many honors. She has been honored to sing for such notable figures as Tennessee
Governor Bill Haslam, U.S. President George and First Lady Barbara Bush, General
Colin Powell, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, French President Francois Mitterand,
and Laura Bush. Kallen partnered with Luciano Pavarotti at the Paladium in London to
sing for Queen Elizabeth II and Princess of Wales Diana Spencer. She holds an
Honorary Doctorate from Rhodes College, presented by President James Daughdrill.
Kallen has a Key to the City of Memphis, as presented by Mayor Dick Hackett. Kallen
holds the title of Emissary of Memphis Music, as designated by the Memphis & Shelby
County Music Commission. She was selected to perform for Governor Haslam at the
Opening of the Tennessee State Museum’s Original Proclamation of Emancipation Civil
War Exhibit in 2013. Kallen is also the recipient of the highly esteemed Amphion Award
from the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, created in 1983 to honor an individual for
outstanding international contribution and service to the arts. Kallen has received the
Dorothy B. Chandler Performing Arts Award in Los Angeles, California. Finally, when
Kallen received the 2010 Distinguished Achievement Award in the Creative and
Performing Arts from the College of Communication and Fine Arts of the University of
Memphis, she received it for being who she is and has been throughout the last 30
years: “International Opera Star”. In 2015 Esperian was the featured performer of the
Final Memphis in May Sunset Symphony with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra on the
banks of the Mississippi River. In 2017 she received the Tennessee Governors Arts
Award for Distinguished Artist. While she continues to perform on the great opera
stages of the world, Ms. Esperian remains true to her origins by making her home in
Memphis, TN, with her son, close to her mother’s Mississippi beginnings. It is here that
a diva is simply called “Kallen.”