With a voice that touches the heavens, soprano Katie Kat lifts the spirit of her audience with every note. It is January, 2012 and Kat stands before the One World Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Sung Jin Hong in New York City. Her voice is strong and delivers a powerful performance of Dvorak’s Rusalka . Two years later, this musical piece speaks to Kat she prepares something new, right here in Torrington.
A self styled “Opera-preneur” Kat has performed throughout the world and worried she would miss her beloved New York when moving to Torrington to start a family, but here in northwest Connecticut she found a thriving cultural environment. “I’m still discovering new and amazing places, people, and art,” states Katie Kat. “I am in love with Remember When, and I rehearse weekly with Tim Wallace of Studio 59. Jay Roberts at Performance Hub is doing amazing things networking and educating local performers. The Warner Theater, Nutmeg Conservatory and 5 Points Gallery are huge and bring in world renowned artists”.
Kat ‘s discovery of Studio 59 appears at first glance to be the work of fate. A beautiful church converted into an 18th century drawing room and parlor that brings a European style salon performance environment to northwest Connecticut, Studio 59 is tailor made for Katie Kat’s talents and resume. She has performed in salon venues, in front of orchestras, at Lincoln Center’s Rubenstein Atrium, the Teatro Caio Melisso in Spoleto, Italy and in a wide variety of venues. Katie Kat clearly excels when she enjoys the personal connection with her audience in a more intimate setting that Studio 59 provides.
But her story is far from one of fate always lending its guiding hand; it is one of determination and drive mixed with courage and talent. When she was young she was bullied at school and she hummed as her coping mechanism and defense. But through the use of her voice, that defense became her strength and indeed her “superpower” as she now describes it when helping others, like the students she teaches. During a recent TedX Talk she gave in Jersey City (a talk titled “FINDING YOUR VOICE; THE NESCESSITY OF SINGING.”) Kat encourages her audience to sing and find her own super power.
Even with her singing super power discovered, it was not an easy road. She sold jewelry to fund a life changing trip to Italy to sing for Enza Ferrari, one of opera legend’s Maria Callas’s teachers. When Kat’s school in Bethlehem PA did not provide a musical theatre program she created one, guiding performances of every sort including “Godspell” and ran it for 3 years until graduation and the school hired a PHD to carry the program forward.
In 2014, Katie Kat is creating a CD of international lullabies for a very special reason; she is expecting her first child on Valentine’s Day! Katie has this to say about her inspiration for the work, “Everyone has beautiful memories of the songs that were sung to them as children, and even adults need soothing sometimes. It’s very important to me to create an album that is not just a collection of songs, but an album that has a great deal of meaning. I’ve collected melodies from all over the world, in many different languages, in order to show how the lullaby is a unifying force of humanity, and I’m seeking out native speakers and singers of these tunes to give me their stories so I can breathe life into them as I interpret them. One of my melodies is a song in Yiddish called “Raisins and Almonds.” It was suggested by a good friend whose Bubby used to sing it to her. I actually plan to chat with both my friend and her Bubby so she can sing me the tune exactly as she knows it. That beautiful human connection makes that song even more special, and I hope that every melody I’ve found can have a story like that.”
Katie Kat’s personal story is as special as the ones she will share with the world through song. “Opera is an art form, it has the ability to communicate stories beyond words,” she says. Her message and vision will continue to lift the spirits of her audience as it did two years ago in an auditorium in New York City in the music of Dvorak and the instrument of her powerful voice and it is wondrous that her new chapter is happening right here in Torrington, Connecticut.
To assist this amazing artist fulfill her vision, please visit her patreon site www.patreon.com/katiekatopera where she will post exclusive video blogs about her adventures in opera and previews of all her projects.
To find out more about her work visit www.katiekatopera.com