Kimberly Barber. Mezzo-soprano, teacher, b Guelph, Ont, 21 Dec 1959; B MUS (University of Toronto) 1983. Kimberly Barber studied voice with Patricia Kern at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Music, graduating in 1983, and earned a diploma from the Opera Division in 1985. Upon graduating, she became a member of the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble 1985-87. She made her CBC Radio debut recital in 1985 at Hart House and received a Canada Council career development grant 1987. Barber was a district winner, Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Buffalo 1987 and regional finalist and third place winner again in Toronto 1988. That year, while in Germany on her audition tour as part of the career development grant, Barber won a contract with Oper Frankfurt 1989-94, and following that, freelanced.
During her stay in Germany with Oper Frankfurt, Barber appeared as Cherubino in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, Dorabella in Mozart's Cosi fan tutte, Rosina in Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia, der Kompanist in Richard Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos, Annio in Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito, and Ramiro in Mozart's La Finta Giardiniera, performing many of the principal "trouser roles" that form a substantial part of her repertoire.
Barber made her New York City Opera debut in spring 2002 as Nero in Handel's Agrippina, and her Paris Opera debut as Annio in La Clemenza di Tito. In the 2002-3 season, her debut with the St Paul Chamber Orchestra preceded a tour of Japan in L'Heure Espagnole and Gianni Schicchi, conducted by Seiji Ozawa. She made her debut with Seattle Opera in the title role of Handel's Xerxes, repeated with the Canadian Opera Company; more recently, Barber made her debut with Lyric Opera of Chicago as der Komponist.
Although known primarily for her opera work, Barber has also appeared as a guest soloist in the Mainly Mozart Festival (New York City), with the National Arts Centre Orchestra (Ottawa), and with the Toronto, Montreal, Chicago and Cincinnati symphonies in repertoire ranging from Beethoven to Bernstein. She has given recital debuts at Carnegie Hall (New York) and Wigmore Hall (London). In the 2003-4 season, Barber performed in a recital with Frederica von Stade at Wilfrid Laurier University.
Barber has made a recording of songs by Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer Aaron J. Kernis (New Albion label), and sang the role of Concepciòn in Ravel's L'Heure Espagnole (Deutsche Grammophon), with the London Symphony conducted by André Previn.
Returning to Canada in 2001, Barber became assistant professor of voice at Wilfrid Laurier University in 2002, and has been voice co-ordinator since 2004.
Barber's Stage Presence
Barber's sense of lyricism and effortless coloratura make her an ideal interpreter of Baroque opera, particularly the music of Handel. This, combined with an innate sense of comedic and dramatic timing, ensure notice of her presence on stage.