Professor Yvonne Kenny

Key details:

Music | Vocal Studies
Principal Study Professor


Yvonne Kenny is one of the most distinguished sopranos of her generation. Born in Sydney, she went to London and made her operatic debut in 1975 in Donizetti’s Rosmonda d'Inghilterra at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. After winning the Kathleen Ferrier Competition she joined the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, where her roles have included Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), Ilia (Idomeneo), Marzelline (Fidelio), Oscar (Un ballo in maschera), Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Adina (L'elisir d'amore), Liu (Turandot), Alcina , Aspasia (Mitridate) and Donna Anna (Don Giovanni).

She has built herself an enviable international reputation as a dazzling interpreter of Handel’s soprano roles and has enjoyed particular success in the title roles in Semele and Alcina (Covent Garden, La Fenice, Venice and Opera de Nancy) Romilda in Xerxes for English National Opera (both in London and on tour to the USSR) and Bayerische Staatsoper, Cleopatra in Giulio Cesare and Armida in Rinaldo for Opera Australia (winning a Green Room Award for the former) and the title role in Deborah at the BBC Promenade concerts (also recorded).

International appearances include the Wiener Staatsoper (Susanna, Cinna in Lucia Silla , the Countess in Capriccio and the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier); La Scala, Milan (Pamina); Staatsoper, Berlin (Countess/Capriccio and the title role in La Didone); Opera de Paris (Donna Elvira/Don Giovanni); Hamburg (Oscar); English National Opera (Marschallin/Der Rosenkavalier and Purcell’s The Fairy Queen); Zurich and Glyndebourne (Donna Elvira/Don Giovanni) and her first Countess in Le nozze di Figaro for the Washington Opera which she has repeated at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich. She returns frequently to Australia where she has sung Gilda (Rigoletto), Pamina, Susanna, Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), Cleopatra, Alice Ford (Falstaff) , The Governess (Turn of the Screw) Elle (La Voix Humaine) Marschallin (Der Rosenkavalier) Gräfi(Capriccio) Blanche (A Streetcar Named Desire) and the title toles in Maria Stuarda, Alcina, Massenet's Manon , Poppea ( L’incoronazione di Poppea) and Hannah Glawari (The Merry Widow).

Yvonne Kenny appears regularly on the concert platform throughout Europe and North America and has appeared at the Edinburgh, Salzburg and Aix-en-Provence Festivals, in Carnegie Hall and is a regular guest at the BBC Promenade concerts.  She also became the first artist to give an official performance at the newly reopened Royal Opera House (a recital in Floral Hall). Recent Australian concert engagements include Strauss’ Four Last Songs and Ross Edwards' Second Symphony with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, a gala concert with Bryn Terfel at the Leeuwin Estate Winery in Western Australia televised nationally on ABC and an Australian Tour with Musica Viva.

Yvonne now includes Masterclasses and teaching in her performing schedule. She has given masterclasses at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, at the Oxenfoord Summer School and acclaimed Masterclasses based on Purcell’s Fairy Queen at the Britten/Pears Summer School in Aldeburgh, at the Samling Masterclasses and for the Jetta Parker Young Artists Programme at The Royal Opera House Covent Garden.

She became a Professor of Voice at the Guildhall School in 2007.  Yvonne Kenny was made a Member of the Order of Australia for Services to Music in 1989 and in 1999 was conferred an honorary Doctorate of Music by the University of Sydney.