“Kitty Whately sang with style and grace...disciplined by a firm technique, and she has a winning stage personality.”
Kitty Whately is currently a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist for the 2013-15 scheme and has just been announced as an HSBC Laureate for the Aix-en-Provence Festival. She recently made her debuts at the Aix-en-Provence Festival in Vasco Mendonça’s The House Taken Over (world premiere) directed by Katie Mitchell, and at the English National Opera in Vaughan Williams’ The Pilgrim’s Progress under Martyn Brabbins.
Highlights in the 13/14 season so far include The House Taken Over in Antwerp and Strasbourg, Ippolita and Pallade in Cavalli’s Elena (co-production with Aix-en-Provence Festival) in Montpellier and Versailles, Nancy Albert Herring with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, songs from Rodgers and Hammerstein, Jerome Kern and Cole Porter with the BBC Concert Orchestra, Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Ulster Orchestra and Bach B minor Mass with Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
Other recent operatic highlights include a return to English Touring Opera for Dorabella Così fan tutte following her critically acclaimed performances as Rosina Barber of Seville. She has also appeared in the prestigious Verbier Festival Academy as Cherubino Le nozze di Figaro, and returned this summer for masterclasses with Thomas Quasthoff, and a Beethoven concert under Charles Dutoit. Increasingly in demand on the concert platform, recent engagements include Chansons d'Auvergne and Duruflé Requiem with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Dream of Gerontius at St John's Smith Square, Messiah at the Royal Albert Hall and Christmas Concerts at the Verbier Festival and in Norway.
Winner of the Kathleen Ferrier Award 2011 and an outstanding interpreter of songs, Kitty Whately has been invited to give recitals at the Edinburgh International Festival, Oxford Lieder Festival, Wigmore Hall, the Elgar Room (RAH), Leeds Lieder, Buxton Festival and Leighton House. She works with international accompanists such as Roger Vignoles, Graham Johnson, Malcolm Martineau, Gary Matthewman and Joseph Middleton.
Her previous appearances as a young artist include Cherubino and Dorabella for RCMIOS, Kate Owen Wingrave for Nuremberg International Chamber Music Festival, and Edith in Arne’s Alfred for the Classical Opera Company. She has also sung cover roles in the world premiere of Peter Eötvös' Love and Other Demons for Glyndebourne Festival Opera, and Idamante Idomeneo for Buxton Festival Opera.
Kitty Whately trained at Chetham’s School of Music, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and the Royal College of Music International Opera School where she was awarded the Aldama Scholarship and numerous prizes. She won the 59th Royal Over-seas League Award for Singers in 2011 and was also a finalist at the Les Azuriales International Singing Competition 2010.
Future highlights this season include further performances of The House Taken Over in Luxembourg, Bruges and Lisbon, Mozart Requiem with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Beethoven Mass in C with the Philharmonia, her Opera Holland Park debut as Rosina and an HSBC Laureate recital in Aix. Next season Whately will sing Kate Owen Wingrave and return to the Wigmore Hall for a lunchtime recital.
Kitty Whately is represented worldwide by Intermusica.
January 2014 / 479 words. Not to be altered without permission. Please destroy all previous biographical material.
Friday Night Classics / City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
“Two superb singers, Susana Gaspar (soprano) and Kitty Whately (mezzo soprano), excelled in duets”
Paul Marston, Birmingham Mail, October 2014
Recital with Quatuor Tana / Festival d’Aix-en-Provence
"[Whately] seduced us immediately and intensely through the depth and clarity of her voice. It was a velvety and ultra-feminine timbre, even in her lower register, which was very even – fragrant and radiant like a peony in May.
As naturally as the poetry itself, Kitty Whately deploys a pallet of Turner, colouring the words of the delectable english language without affectation. Her excellent french diction is as much to be admired, in addition to the languid grace with which she carves the sad words of abandonment set to music by Chausson.
This rich and luminous mezzo timbre ignites greatly in the forte tones and murmurs in the more smooth soft moments…an ideal ambassador for the secrets of the poets and composers."
"la chanteuse séduit immédiatement et intensément par la profondeur et la clarté de sa voix. Un timbre velouté, ultra-féminin – même dans le grave d’une tessiture très unie –, parfumé et épanoui comme une pivoine de mai.Avec autant de naturel que de poésie, Kitty Whately déploie une palette à la Turner, colorant sans affectation les mots de la délectable langue anglaise. On admire tout autant son excellente diction du français et la grâce languide avec laquelle elle cisèle les tristes paroles de l’abandonnée mises en musique par Chausson.
Combien alors ce timbre riche et lumineux de mezzo, qu’il s’enflamme dans des nuances forte ou murmure dans la plus suave douceur… ambassadeur idéal des confidences des poètes et des compositeurs."
Emmanuelle Giuliani, La Croix, July 2014
Rosina Il barbiere di Siviglia / Opera Holland Park
Cond. Matthew Waldren / dir. Oliver Platt
“Kitty Whately was hugely likeable in the role and her acting terrific. She has the notes, she has the coloratura, but she didn’t make a big deal of her arias; they happened naturally as part of the plot.”
Amanda Holloyway, Opera, August 2014
“Il barbiere di Siviglia stands or falls by its Rosina, and Kitty Whately is already tried and road-tested as one of the best. The radiant young mezzo has charm, wit and character in spades, with an assured, warm-toned vocal delivery that beguiled this audience exactly as it did those who saw her in the role for English Touring Opera. If she is not a big international star before the decade's out, I'll eat my well-shorn head.”
Mark Valencia, What’s On Stage, June 2014
“Kitty Whately is an experienced Rosina, and her warm mezzo is superbly mobile and articulate in the coloratura tricks, her top range has an alluring brightness – ‘Una voce poco fa’ was just the first of many delights – and her acting had impressive get-up-and-go.”
Peter Reed, Classical Source, June 2014
Nancy Albert Herring / BBCSO/ Bedford, Barbican
Con. Steuart Bedford, Dir. Kenneth Richardson
“Kitty Whately skilfully played Nancy`s role with perfect phrasing in her two delicious and slightly off-kilter love duets: a better paragon of the new-generation singers you’d not find anywhere.”
David Nice, The Art Desk, November 2013
Rosa The House Taken Over / Aix-en-Provence Festival
Cond. Etienne Siebens
“The baritone Oliver Dunn and, especially, the mezzo-soprano Kitty Whately do well in conveying the siblings’ desperate responses to their phantom adversary.”
Press Display, July 2013
“The toiling interpretations of Oliver Dunn and Kitty Whately, embodying the insecure brother and the at-first-discreet and then rebellious Irene, played a major role in the success of the production…”
Mundo Clasico, July 2013
“[Her] acting talent, extremely realistic, is widely applied with excellent results.”
Forum Opera, July 2013
“Oliver Dunn and Kitty Whately are perfect as the odd couple, and the Asko-Schonberg Ensemble from Amsterdam, conducted by Etienne Siebens, sounds impeccable.”
Bloomberg, July 2013
Dorabella in Cosi fan tutti / Hackney Empire
English Touring Opera / cond. James Burton / dir. Paul Higgins
“Kitty Whately is a gorgeous and changeable Dorabella.”
Rosenna East, Herald Scotland, May 2013
“Kitty Whately's Dorabella is vital in tone and personality.”
George Hall, The Guardian, March 2013
“Kitty Whately provided apt complement as Dorabella, her darker mezzo-soprano blending beautifully with Ms. Mitchell’s soprano in ‘Ah guarda, sorella’. She affected the right balance of dramatics and impassioned singing in ‘Smanie implacabili’, and one could not help wishing her short second act aria ‘È amore un ladroncello’ had not been cut.”
John E de Wald, Opera Britannia
, March 2013
“… Kitty Whately and Anthony Gregory were well-matched in the central roles, and put barely a foot wrong. The ensemble numbers were an especial delight.”
Intermezzo, March 2013
“Kitty Whately’s Dorabella is lustrous and expansive, taking on her love life with a delight and flair that Fiordiligi finds hard to equal.”
Hilary Finch, The Times, March 2013
“Mitchell's high, flexible soprano contrasting with the fruitier, but nonetheless natural and appealing, mezzo-soprano register of Kitty Whately.”
Emily Owen, One Stop Arts, March 2013
“As the sisters, Laura Mitchell and Kitty Whately sing wonderfully well together and pierce the very air when solo - and I couldn't help but think of Agnetha and Frida from Abba when they harmonised.”
Gary Naylor, Broadway World, March 2013
Third Shining One/Cup-bearer/Pickthank/Woodcutter’s Boy in Vaughan Williams The Pilgrim’s Progress / London Coliseum
English National Opera / cond. Martyn Brabbins / dir. Yoshi Oida
“ENO used a large cast as an opportunity to showcase some excellent young talent; Kitty Whately, Alexander Sprague, Aoife O’Sullivan, and George von Bergen were particularly notable in the plethora of solo roles for a generation of operatic debutants.”
Ashutosh Khandekar, Opera Now, February 2013
“[T]here was fine singing from the company's younger singers: Benedict Nelson brought both warmth and strength to Evangelist, George von Bergen was a ringing Herald, while Kitty Whately's Woodcutter's Boy (here metamorphosed into a tea-lady) [...] provided some sweetly celestial sounds at key moments”.
David Sutton, MusicalCriticism.com
, November 2012
“It took Vaughan Williams more than 30 years to realise his ambition of composing a stage work based upon The Pilgrim's Progress, John Bunyan’s epic allegory, and it has been twice as long since the result was part of the repertory of a major British opera company. [...] ENO's production, directed by Yoshi Oida, is the first fully staged professional one in London since Covent Garden hosted the premiere in 1951 and [sees] singers of the calibre of Benedict Nelson [and] Kitty Whately switch between the plethora of cameo parts as they come along”.
Andrew Clements, The Guardian, November 2012
“Though many singers took on several roles, a large ensemble filled the stage. Here are some who shone, rising stars and veterans alike: Benedict Nelson, [...] Kitty Whately [...]”.
Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian, November 2012
“George von Bergen's Lord Hate-Good [and] Kitty Whately's merry Woodcutter's Boy ... stand out among the multiplicity of supporting roles”.
Anna Picard, The Independent, November 2012
“Kitty Whately [and] George von Bergen were particularly notable in the plethora of solo roles for a generation of operatic debutants”.
Opera Now, November 2012
“The Three Shining Ones, Eleanor Dennis, Aoife O’Sullivan and Kitty Whately, shine very brightly indeed, and hopefully this marks the start of their ENO careers, while the contrast between earthly and heavenly choruses in Act Four is entrancing”.
Sam Smith, The Londonist, November 2012
“English National Opera is presenting the first full professional staging of this work since its première over 60 years ago, and a rapt audience hailed it as a quiet triumph. [... S]everal of ENO’s brightest young hopes – Benedict Nelson and Kitty Whately among them – complement expert old-timers”.
Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, November 2012
“It’s been a long wait for a fully-staged professional revival of Ralph Vaughan Williams’s ‘morality’ but here, finally, is a production worth its salt. [...]
The strength in depth of the supporting cast took the breath away. [There was] an enchanting cameo from Kitty Whately [...] as a prison dinnerlady (originally ‘A Woodcutter’s Boy’) in Act Four”.
Mark Valencia, ClassicalSource.com, November 2012
“The trio of ‘Shining Ones’ in the House Beautiful introduced a trio of promising ENO debuts: [...] all in fine voice, the tender-voiced mezzo of Whately especially so as the kindly tea-lady of Act IV, traditionally the Woodcutter’s Boy.
ENO has produced some fine Vaughan Williams for the stage before [...] Often regarded as London’s optimum ‘Britten house’, I think Vaughan Williams can regard the Coli as a place of safe refuge too”.
Mark Pullinger, Opera Britannia, November 2012
Angel in Elgar The Dream of Gerontius / St John’s Smith Square London
Three Choirs Festival Gloucester / cond. Adrian Partington
“Whately's performance added grace to the production as a whole and allowed this second half to flower”.
Ninfea Cruttwell-Reade, Bachtrack, October 2012
Ferrier Centenary Celebration Concert with Sir Thomas Allen and Roger Vignoles
Edinburgh International Festival
“It’s easy to see why Kitty Whately has become one of the more recent winners (she secured [the Kathleen Ferrier Award] in 2011). Her rich mezzo is bright and characterful, full of colour and panache, and her rendition of the traditional numbers was every bit as good as Allen’s. What a lovely touch for her to begin with a Ferrier favourite, Ma Bonnie Lad. However, she was just as compelling in the French chansons. Her Debussy was particularly striking, the Chansons de Bilitis pulsating with erotic suggestion, and she also showed herself a compelling dramatist through Duparc’s Au pays où se fait la guerre, depicting the lonely maiden in the tower with pathos and sympathy before her excitable climax as the (false) rumour of her lover’s return appears.”
Simon Thompson, Seen and Heard International, August 2012
“Mezzo-soprano Kitty Whately, the 2011 winner, opened unaccompanied with “Ma Bonny Lad” a Ferrier favourite that set the benchmark for the concert.... [Her voice’s] purity of tone and lyrical ease melded easily with Sir Thomas Allen’s mature baritone.”
Iain Gilmour, Edinburgh Guide, August 2012
“The stunning mezzo Kitty Whately... With the late changes to line-up, what emerged on Saturday was a lovely, intimate concert... They poured out gorgeous music, including a rich performance of Gounod's Barcarolle, a sultry, intense account of Debussy's Chansons De Bilitis...”
Michael Tumelty, Herald Scotland, August 2012
“Opening with the unaccompanied Ma Bonny Lad, one of Ferrier’s own favourites, mezzo-soprano Whately’s pure and direct delivery was immediately enchanting... with an easy self-assurance... Her understated lyrical style was just right for Debussy’s settings of Pierre Louÿs late 19th century French take on ancient Greece.”
Carol Main, Scotsman, August 2012
Recital at Clothworkers Centenary Concert Hall / Leeds
“… She breathes life into all her characters with her bright vocal tone, exquisite diction and wonderful facial expressions. When interpreting Wolf, her voice seemed transformed: darker in tone, much richer, and many times more powerful. Applause was not immediate, and as her final note hung in the air it seemed as though the incredible emotion she had captured had left us all a little stunned.
Whately captured the dark, contemplative atmosphere of unrequited love beautifully… Both works were excellent vehicles for Whately to showcase the strength and purity of her voice as well as her considerable talent for interpretation… she gave her audience the opportunity to bask in the beauty and power of her sound…This was a truly exquisite recital.”
Laura Kate Wilson, Bachtrack
, March 2012
Rosina in Rossini The Barber of Seville
English Touring Opera / cond. Paul McGrath / dir. Thomas Guthrie
“Only the delightful Rosina of Kitty Whately, in her professional opera debut, seems entirely relaxed. As an actress she’s a ¬natural, and obviously a chip off the old block — her father, Kevin Whately, TV’s Inspector Lewis, was in the audience — and as a singer she is impeccable, lapping up Rossini’s vocal tagliatelle and throwing off roulades and runs as if they were confetti. Her voice is not overlarge, but it is perfectly formed, and she is as easy on the eye as she is on the ear. I haven’t seen such a confident debut in a long time.”
Hugh Canning, The Times, March 2012
“Surely, however, there is a star in the making in Kitty Whately, whose Rosina was my ideal in the role. She is an excellent actress, her mischievousness seeming to be an intrinsic part of her, she’s very attractive, and gave a personal, fresh account of ‘Una voce poco fa’, and wasn’t deterred by her colleagues’ overacting."
Michael Tanner, The Spectator, June 2012
“Kitty Whately was the star of the evening… pertly mischievous, her coloratura bright and clean”
Nick Kimberley, Opera, May 2012
“In among all these jewels was a gem: the spectacular 2011 Ferrier Award-winning mezzo, Kitty Whately, whose performance as Rosina was vocally thrilling and dramatically electric”
Michael Tumelty, Herald Scotland, May 2012
“Kitty Whately displays a beautiful voice… and feisty personality as Rosina.”
Graham Rogers, The Stage, March 2012
“Kitty Whately, last year’s Kathleen Ferrier Award laureate, is winningly cast here as a feisty Rosina. Her compact mezzo is glinting throughout its range.”
John Allison, The Telegraph, March 2012
“But the show’s most appealing singing comes from Kitty Whately as Rosina... her silvery timbre, deft way of gliding through fast-moving passagework and vivacity on stage suggest a career that will blossom.”
Richard Morrison, The Times, March 2012
“Kitty Whately, the laureate in last year’s Ferrier competition, sang with style and grace as Rosina... disciplined by a firm technique, and she has a winning stage personality.”
Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, March 2012
“Kitty Whately was a spirited Rosina who balanced the feistiness that is expected in this role with a real sense of vulnerability and desperation at her plight… She has a warm, agile mezzo-soprano voice that is ideal in this repertoire… this was an outstanding performance."
Steve Silverman, Opera Britannia, March 2012
"… the radiantly sung (and wittily acted) Rosina of Kitty Whately, winner of the 2011 Kathleen Ferrier Award... this star of the future was ‘rockin’ the stadium’.
Mark Valencia, Classical Source, April 2012
“Kitty Whately has a fluent mezzo-soprano and puts over both Rosina’s pent-up naughtiness and her vulnerability from “Una voce poco fa” through her emotional and physical collapse during the storm… to her final acceptance of happiness in the “Ah! qual colpo inaspettato” duet.”
Anne Morley-Priestman, Whats on Stage, April 2012
“Kitty Whately also brings great personality and humour to her role as the passionate, rebellious Rosina”
Cambridge News, May 2012
“My highlight of the week was hearing Kitty Whately, a remarkably agile and rich mezzo who won the Kathleen Ferrier Award in 2011, as Rossini's Rosina.”
Colin Davison, This is Gloucestershire, May 2012
Kathleen Ferrier Competition
Wigmore Hall / acc. Gamal Khamis
“First came 28-year-old mezzo Kitty Whately. She is a nice-looking girl, offering clean, evenly produced tone and an attractive platform personality.”
Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, October 2011
Teodata in Handel Flavio, re de' Longobardi
English Touring Opera / cond. Jonathan Peter Kenny / dir. James Conway
“Kitty Whately’s Teodata shines with quality.”
George Hall, The Stage, October 2011
“Kitty Whately and Lina Markeby were delightful... impressing from their opening post-coital duet through all the prevarication and comic falsity that ensues.
Ms. Whately effected the flirtatious coquetry of the part superbly, her obvious flattery at being wooed by the king granting credence to Ms. Markeby’s heated jealousy.”
John E de Wald, Opera Brittania, October 2011
Dorabella in Mozart Così Fan Tutte / Britten Theatre
The Royal College of Music International Opera School / cond. Michael Rosewell / dir. Lee Blakeley
“Some of the most stunning vocal moments of the opera came form Dennis and Whately’s voices, harmonising beautifully during Soave si il vento (‘May the wind be gentle’) and Prenderò quel brunettino ('I will take the dark one')…
Recent recipient of the Kathleen Ferrier Award Kitty Whately was a wonderful Dorabella. She has a sweet-toned, perfectly controlled mezzo that seems made for Mozart, and her perfect diction and expressive eyes made her duet with Guglielmo, Il core vi done (‘I give you my heart’), one of the highlights of the opera.”
Laura Wilson, Bachtrack, July 2011
Edith in Arne Alfred / Classical Opera Company / Kings Place
cond. Ian Page
“I was particularly impressed by the Edith of Kitty Whately... her grief-stricken aria opening the second act was heartbreaking, her timbre warm and honeyed and her phrasing luscious, dripping with feeling. The more elaborate fioritura of the aria was fantastic, Ms. Whately’s tone fully secure and radiant.”
John E. de Wald, Opera Britannia, October 2010