Opera singer James J. Kee will make his Tucson debut Friday (Feb. 8) with an afternoon recital at the Academy Village. Kee has been acclaimed for his “beautiful voice” (Washington Post), his remarkable presence and his ability to convey a great range of emotions. Opernglas (the leading German opera magazine) praised him as having a voice that is ”beautiful-toned, flexible and full of color.”
For the concert, Kee will sing a range of German, Italian and American songs and arias, including Schumann’s “Dichterliebe” and Figaro’s “Largo al factotum” from Rossini’s “Barber of Seville.”
A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Kee spent two years in the Young Artist Program at the Houston Grand Opera before joining the ensemble of the Deutsche Oper Berlin and later Volkstheater Rostock. He has performed throughout Europe and the United States, including the Rossini Festival in Pesaro, the Opera Theater of St. Louis, the Philadelphia Opera, Wolftrap Opera and the Palm Beach Opera. He has sung a wide variety of repertoire including Danilo in “The Merry Widow,” Papageno in “The Magic Flute,” Figaro in “The Barber of Seville,” Eisenstein in “Die Fledermaus” and Marcello in “La Boheme.”
A champion of new music, Kee has performed and work-shopped many new works, including Richard Danielpour’s “Margaret Garner,” Jake Heggie’s “Last Acts” and Andre Previn’s “Brief Encounter.” He is featured on two recordings by American composer Ned Rorem: “Aftermath” and “Evidence of Things Not Seen.” Recently he performed the role of Robert Kennedy in the premier of a new opera, “Happy Birthday, Mr. President”byKrišs Russman.
Ian Daniel Houghton will accompany Kee. Hougton is currently in the final year of his doctorate at the University of Arizona under the instruction of John Milbauer. Houghton has been a multi-medal winner in the Musicfest Northwest and Green Valley piano competitions, and most recently took second prize in the Lois Trester Piano Competition. He was named a Medici Scholar by the University of Arizona in 2011.
Friday’s concert will take place at 3:30 p.m. in the Arizona Senior Academy Building, on the campus of the Academy Village, an active-adult community just off Old Spanish Trail, six miles southeast of Saguaro National Park East.
Submitted by Jed Kee, Academy Village Volunteer