Described as, “elegant” and “rich-voiced” by the New York Times, American mezzo-soprano Kristin Gornstein brings her vibrant stage presence and supple voice to a diverse repertoire ranging from Handel to improvisational modern and electronic music. Praised as having “…a brilliant upper register that would be the envy of any soprano, with a chocolatey mezzo richness…” (Voce di Meche), Kristin frequently performs both opera and concert repertoire.
In September 2016, Kristin took part in the world premiere of Kurt Vonnegut and Richard Clark’s opera, Happy Birthday Wanda June with Indianapolis Opera, playing the role of Paul. This summer in Middlebury, Vermont she appeared as the Lady in Waiting in Verdi’s Macbeth, toured the Midwest with the Mark Morris Dance Company in the ensemble of Morris’ iconic Dido and Aeneas, and made her role debut as the title character in Rossini’s La Cenerentola with Salt Marsh Opera. Upcoming performances include a return to Beirut, Lebanon as the alto soloist in Handel’s Messiah, solo appearances with the New York-based Sacred Music in a Sacred Space, and Ramiro in On Site Opera and Atlanta Opera’s co-production of La finta Giardiniera.
Last season Kristin returned to Loft Opera in Brooklyn to debut the title role in The Rape of Lucretia, by Benjamin Britten, which was received with critical acclaim. Kristin also joined the Tanglewood Music Festival as a Vocal Fellow for their 75th anniversary season. Highlights from the summer include the world premiere of a commission for female voice and 4 percussionists by Steven Mackey, titled Madrigal, as well as selected scenes from Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar as Federico Lorca with the TMC orchestra. Earlier in the season she debuted the role of Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Loft Opera, and performed as Dulcinée in Massenet’s Don Quichotte, Romeo in Bellini’s I Capuleti e I Montecchi, Mrs. Slender in Salieri’s Falstaff, as well as the Alto soloist in Handel’s Messiah, and the Soprano II solos in Mozart’s Mass in C Minor with the American University in Beirut, Lebanon.
In 2012/2013, Kristin sang the role of Bessie in Kurt Weill’s Mahagonny Songspiel with the Sinfonietta Riverdale, and was an Apprentice Artist with Caramoor Bel Canto, both in New York City. She appeared as the mezzo-soprano soloist in the US premiere of Johan De Meij’s 4th Symphony, Sinfonie de Lieder, with the New York Wind Symphony. She won the Artistic Director’s Award at the Connecticut Concert Opera competition, and was a semifinalist in the Joy in Singing competition in New York City, the American Traditions competition in Savannah, GA, and the Mildred Miller International Vocal Competition in Pittsburgh, PA.
In 2011/2012, Kristin performed extensively in Europe. While living in Stockholm, Sweden, she was a member of the Extended Opera program for young professionals at Sweden’s Operahögskolan. In this group, she and four other young artists performed both traditional and new operatic compositions at the Swedish Royal Opera, Stockholm’s Folkoperan, and the OperaDagen Rotterdam festival. In the US, Kristin sang on the concert stage with the Grammy-nominated chamber group Seraphic Fire.
Previous seasons include performances as the title role in La Tragèdie de Carmen, the Vixen in Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen, Maria in West Side Story, Kitty Hart in the modern American opera Dead Man Walking by Jake Heggie, Hansel in Hansel and Gretel, and Barbarina in Le Nozze di Figaro. In operetta, Kristin has sung Mrs. Segstrom in Sondheim’s A Little Night Music and Edith in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance, as well as the title role in Princess Ida.
Originally from Indiana, Kristin received her Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Colorado at Boulder and her Bachelor of Music degree from Butler University in Indianapolis. Additional training includes improvisation work with OperaWorks founder Ann Baltz, and extensive movement and dance work. Kristin and her husband, fiddler Ryan Drickey, divide their time between Brooklyn, New York, and Lyons, Colorado.