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. She won both the Kathleen Ferrier Award and the 59th Royal Overseas League Award in the same year, and was part of the prestigious Verbier Festival Academy where she appeared as Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro and in Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy. Kitty was a BBC New Generation Artist from 2013-15, during which time she recorded her debut solo album This Other Eden, made recordings with the BBC orchestras, commissioned a new song cycle from Jonathan Dove, and made several appearances at the Proms.
Recent and future engagements include Hansel Hansel and Gretel and Donna Elvira Don Giovanni (Scottish Opera), Hermia A Midsummer Night's Dream (Opéra de Rouen), Kate Owen Wingrave (Grange Park Opera), Annina Der Rosenkavalier (Garsington Opera), Dog / Forester's Wife / Woodpecker / Owl The Cunning Little Vixen with the CBSO in Birmingham, Paris, Hamburg and Dortmund and her usual assortment of recitals. Recent opera highlights include Isabella Wuthering Heights and Kate Owen Wingrave(Opera National de Lorraine, Nancy), Paquette Candide (Bergen National Opera, following a concert performance of the role at The Grange Festival), Mother/Other Mother in the world premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Coraline (Barbican, produced by the Royal Opera House), Meg in the British premiere of Little Women and Dorabella Così fan tutte (Opera Holland Park), Dorabella and Nancy Albert Herring (The Grange Festival), Hermia (Aix-en-Provence Festival and in Beijing) and the world premiere of Vasco Mendonça’s The House Taken Over directed by Katie Mitchell (Antwerp, Strasbourg, Luxembourg, Bruges and Lisbon). Other operatic roles include Rosina Il barbiere di Siviglia and Stewardess in Jonathan Dove’s Flight (Opera Holland Park); Hermia (Bergen National Opera); Dorabella (English Touring Opera) and Ippolita / Pallade in Cavalli’s Elena in Montpellier and Versailles for the Aix-en-Provence Festival.
Kitty is in high demand as a recitalist and concert artist. She made her debut with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, singing Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as well as a recital alongside Malcolm Martineau at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Recent concert performances include Mahler Das Lied von der Erde at the Mizmorim Festival in Basel, The Dream of Gerontius (Crouch End Festival Chorus at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, and St John’s Smith Square), and recitals of at Wigmore Hall, Music at Oxford and the Salisbury International Festival. She has given performances with most of the UK’s major orchestras, including Duruflé’s Requiem and Mozart’s Requiem (in Oslo with the Dunedin Consort and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra), Bach’s B Minor Mass (Royal Northern Sinfonia and Scottish Chamber Orchestra), Beethoven’s Mass in C Major (Philharmonia Orchestra), Haydn’s Nelson Mass (Britten Sinfonia on tour in Spain and the Netherlands), Bach’s Magnificat (Britten Sinfonia and Choir of King’s College Cambridge), and Handel's Messiah (Royal Albert Hall). Kitty has given recitals at the Edinburgh International, Salisbury International, Oxford Lieder, Leeds Lieder and Buxton festivals, working regularly with renowned accompanists including James Baillieu, Julius Drake, Graham Johnson, Simon Lepper, Malcolm Martineau, Gary Matthewman, Joseph Middleton, Anna Tilbrook and Roger Vignoles.
Kitty made her BBC Proms debut in Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’ Suite from Act II of Caroline Mathilde, and also appeared in a Chamber Music Prom singing the music of Stephen Sondheim. Her frequent performances with the BBC orchestras include De Falla’s The Three Cornered Hat (BBC National Orchestra of Wales) Beethoven's 9th Symphony (BBC Philharmonic), and Nancy in a concert performance of Britten’s Albert Herring (BBC Symphony), as well as recordings of Ravel’s Scheherezade (BBC Philharmonic), Canteloube’s Songs of the Auvergne (BBC Scottish Symphony), and songs by Rodgers & Hammerstein, Jerome Kern and Cole Porter (BBC Concert).
In 2017 Kitty released her second album, Nights not spent alone, to critical acclaim. Recorded in a co-production between Champs Hill Records and the BBC, and accompanied by distinguished pianist Simon Lepper, the disc presents complete works for mezzo-soprano by Jonathan Dove. It includes a song cycle of the same name dedicated to Kitty, which she premiered at the Cheltenham Music Festival in 2015.
“… Whately’s ability to trace the drama of each song, whether in powerful climax or drawing back to a whisper, makes this an absorbing journey, with Middleton a poised and incisive co-traveller…”
Impeccable, le quatuor d’amoureux, d’aisance scénique et de probité vocale, de Kitty Whately (Hermia), mezzo au timbre fruité
Impeccable, the quartet of lovers, with scenic ease and vocal probity, from Kitty Whately (Hermia), mezzo with a fruity timbre
...les deux rivales bien caractérisées par Kitty Whately et Nardus Williams
,,,the two rivals well characterized by Kitty Whately and Nardus Williams
Kitty Whately stood out amongst the rest of a solid cast as a feisty, vivid Meg.
Whately brought a lovely warmth to Meg, as well as giving the girl a feeling of the strong character that lay underneath.
The cast all brought an appealing directness to the performance, we were really rooting not just for the sisters but the whole family. The ending, with its magical quartet was beautifully done and in Badham, Whately, Eyley and Karani, Marchment had a finely balanced quartet of sisters, each a character yet combining into a single entity at times.
Kitty Whately gave Meg, the first sister to get away in marriage, plenty of resolution and humour.
If Wood impresses greatly, so, too, do the three female leads: Hye-Youn Lee (Donna Anna), Kitty Whately (Donna Elvira) and Lea Shaw (Zerlina).
The female protagonists are a matching tour de force........ while Kitty Whately, as the discarded Donna Elvira, echoes her predicament with an endless, captivating range of vocal expression.
Then there is Donna Elvira. Kitty Whately is superb, ranging through the emotions and keeping the audience in doubt as to what they really are.
On stage, the wome women excelled. Kitty Whately sailed through 'Mi tradi' with elegance and fluency
Kitty Whately’s Annina-as-discarded-wife relishes her role too. She’s brilliant in the Act Two waltz-finale where she reads the assignation letter to Ochs, never better pointed.
Kitty Whately and Nicky Spence's delightful film If you go down to the woods was originally intended as a Christmas piece, but its release (as part of Grange Park Opera's Interim Season) has been brought forward to cheer us up. Whately and Spence, accompanied by Ella O'Neill, perform an eclectic programme of songs which instead of being a recital are linked together with a delightful narrative. Narrated by Kevin Whately (Kitty's father) the film is a mock reality show Couples' Retreat, about a Geordie couple (Kitty Whately and Nicky Spence) who go camping in the woods to recapture their relationship. As might be expected, the performances are strong and vivid, projecting character and words, and moving between comedy and serious in a fluid way. It makes 40 minutes of pure delight, only Spence could sing Jeremy Nicholas' camping song with such innuendo whilst Kitty Whately was very touching as the Baker's wife in Sondheim's Into the Woods. The music featured a new arrangement of Teddy Bear's Picnic by Roderick Williams alongside songs by Dominic Argento, Jeremy Nicholas (camping song, full of innuendo), Jonathan Dove, Mervyn Horder, Teddy Bear's Picnic arr. Roderick Williams, Reynaldo Hahn, Benjamin Britten, Schumann, Sondheim, Handel/Somervell, Brahms, Faure, Humperdinck, ending with Gerswhin's Lorelei as a duet (with moves). Pure delight! [Grange Park Opera]
Kitty Whately’s tomboy Hansel is well contrasted, vocally as well as physically. Gretel plays with her toys while Hansel bounds around with a broom, and Whately’s vocal energy is apparent even when she is in the witch’s cage.
...energised performances from Kitty Whately as Hansel and Rhian Lois as Gretel – all polished singing and rough-and-tumble action – and some clever details propel it along very enjoyably.
Kitty Whately alternates tenderness and cold manipulation as Kate and is in silky voice throughout.
Kitty Whately is fittingly unsympathetic as Kate. Her mezzo-soprano is powerful and domineering, but always expressive, and her final duet with Owen creates terrific dramatic tension as he asks her to leave Paramore and share a new life with him.
A top-flight cast is led by Ross Ramgobin in the title role and Kitty Whately, heart-wrenching as Kate. Gripping, taxing, rewarding.
Taylor and Whately's duet at the end of Act One 'Son nata a lagrimar' was rightly one of the highlights, with the two singers complementing each other well and knowing when to hold back.
As Sesto (a role which she sang in the original 2017 production), Kitty Whately beautifully calibrated the young man's journey from naivety and youth to the experience of killing his father's killer (Tolomeo). She made Sesto's series of outbursts work in terms of the emotional journey that he goes on, as well as giving us some very fine Handel singing. It is a testament to Whately talent that rather than getting annoyed with the spoiled brat (which can happen), we sympathised with his trauma and went on a journey too.
As the tortured Sesto, mezzo-soprano Kitty Whately sang with poised musicality, with “Cara speme” a particular highlight.
Cordelia and Sesto, magnificently sung by mezzos Ann Taylor and Kitty Whately
Vaughan Williams THE SONG OF LOVE CD (Albion Records 2019)
“The mezzo-soprano Kitty Whately’s memorably affecting and delectably articulate contribution is of superlative quality and also serves to remind us that the cycle’s first performance – on December 2, 1904, at London’s Bechstein (now Wigmore) Hall – was given by a contralto, Edith Clegg, with Hamilton Harty on the piano. Whately also excels in the 1897 setting of The Willow Song and enchanting Three Songs from Shakespeare.”
Andrew Achenbach, Gramophone Magazine (December 2019)
‘Whately strikes a sensitive balance between the music’s musing sensuality and the waves of more intense emotion which surface in songs like ‘Lovesight’ … (she) dispatches them with unassuming freshness.’
Terry Blain, BBC Music Magazine (October 2019)
“Whately’s limpid mezzo delights in The Willow Song and the settings from Measure for Measure, Love’s Labour’s Lost and Henry VIII.”
Hugh Canning, Sunday Times (18thAugust 2019)
Hermann WUTHERING HEIGHTS (Opéra National de Lorraine)
“Kitty Whately dispatched Isabell’s ditty with fine piano playing and an equally impressive mezzo”
Francis Carlin, Opera Now, July 2019
“Kitty Whately … (is) a sensitive and fervent performer, who adds much melancholy to her Act 4 aria, perhaps the most beautiful in the score.”
Michel Thomé, ResMusica, May 2019
Elgar THE DREAM OF GERONTIUS (Crouch End Festival Chorus)
“Kitty Whately’s voice is lovely – she’s a true mezzo-soprano with some powerfully sweet overtones in the upper register … her final ‘Softly and gently …’ was a model of gentle yearning, inviting the appropriate misty-eyed silence before the applause broke out.”
Barry Creasy, MusicOMH (February 2019)
Mozart COSI FAN TUTTE (Opera Holland Park)
‘Kitty Whately’s Dorabella was a strong contrast – bubbling with personality and fully mistress of both the melodramatics of “Smanie implacabili” and the insouciance of “E amore un ladroncello”.’
Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph (June 2018)
‘Kitty Whately likewise proved almost infinitely capable both of sisterly affinity and dramatic disentanglement. So many attributes – sorrow and joy, honour and temptation, simplicity and complexity – were revealed as sides of the same experimental coin. Lines, unadorned or subtly ornamented, exuded both clarity and warmth.’
Mark Berry, Opera Today (June 2018)
‘As the two sisters Eleanor Dennis and Kitty Whately ideally complemented and blended with each other. […] Whately’s richly textured mezzo encompassed the playfulness and fallibility of the younger sister.’
John Johnston, Bachtrack (June 2018)
‘The sisters – Eleanor Dennis’s Fiordiligi, Kitty Whately’s Dorabella – flounce and purr as Georgian belles who could have stepped from a Gainsborough frame. […] Kitty Whately’s Dorabella finds rich hues of perplexity and darkness in the (supposedly) flightier sister’s role.’
Boyd Tonkin, The Arts Desk (June 2018)
‘Whately’s mezzo is more quicksilver, with its attractive vibrato and general deftness, matching her more mercurial portrayal.’
Francis Muzzo, Opera Now (July/August 2018)
Mark-Anthony Turnage – CORALINE (Royal Opera House, Barbican Theatre)
‘Kitty Whately acted it all out to perfection on stage. […] all eyes were, as they should be, on Whately, a charismatic presence as both “good” and “bad” mums.’
David Nice, The Arts Desk (5 April 2018)
‘Kitty Whately is excellent as the mother and her mirror counterpart’
Richard Fairman Financial Times (1 April 2018)
‘Kitty Whately stands out as Coraline’s real and mirror-world mother.’
Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph (31 March 2018)
‘Most aptly representative of these opposing worlds is Kitty Whately as the Mother/Other Mother. Starting the opera as a patronising woman with a purposely restricted use of volume, abruptly she becomes almost unrecognisable when she embodies the deceptive Other Mother. Whately uses creepy false smiles, gradual and unexpected slow crescendos, and a jagged body language to display a bloodthirsty, unstable woman.’
Sophia Lambton, Broadway World (30 March 2018)
‘mezzo-soprano Kitty Whately is excellent in the dual role of Coraline’s mother and her increasingly psychopathic alternate version, Other Mother.’
Andrzej Lukowski, Time Out (30 April 2018)
Handel – GIULIO CESARE (English Touring Opera)
‘Kitty Whately’s sparky, pugnacious Sesto was a joy throughout’
Hugh Canning, Opera Magazine (December 2017)
‘Kitty Whately is outstanding’
George Hall, The Stage (5 October 2017)
‘Kitty Whately gives impassioned accounts of Sesto’s magnificent “Cara speme” and “L’Angue offeso”.’
The Telegraph, Rupert Christiansen, (6 October 2017)
‘Whately admirably conveys the vulnerability that lurks behind Sesto’s bravado.’
Tim Ashley, The Guardian, (9 October 2017)
Albert Herring, The Grange Festival
“the young leads were even better. I’ve rarely seen a more convincing ‘romantic’ pair than Kitty Whately’s succulently sung Nancy and Timonthy Nelson’s Hunky Sid. There was an erotic charge in their every encounter”
Hugh Canning, Opera Magazine, (August 2017)
Kitty Whately & Joseph Middleton (Wigmore Hall)
“Two years on [from my last review] the timbre is just as lustrous, but stronger and more uniform. In a programme comprising English 20th-century songs (apart from one Poulenc ditty and an early Stanford), she brought a beautifully warm legato to such cherished miniatures as Vaughan Williams’s Silent Noon, Warlock’s My Own Country and Ivor Gurney’s Down By the Salley Gardens… Whately was mesmerising here.”
Richard Morrison, Financial Times (Apr 2017)
“This was a chance to experience again Kitty Whately’s winning combination of rich, even tone, superb diction and feel for the words. Each song was projected with a feeling of character and clear sense of the emotional narrative, with pianist Joseph Middleton forming a strongly characterful partner”
Planet Hugill (Apr 2017)
Mendelssohn COMPLETE SONGS, VOL. 2 (Champs Hill Records)
“The most palpable sense of delight rises from the voice of Kitty Whately whose feisty mezzo is entrusted with three impassioned songs by Mendelssohn’s sister, Fanny.”
Hilary Finch, BBC Music Magazine (October 2016)