American mezzo-soprano Kathryn Leemhuis has been praised for having “a large, beautiful, dark instrument, intelligently used, and spot-on dramatic timing” (St. Louis Today), and her voice has been described as “stunning in its combination of musical and dramatic nuance” (Living at the Opera). Most recently, she made her company debuts with Dallas Opera as Javotte in Massenet’s Manon, with Cincinnati Opera as Inez in Verdi’s Il Trovatore, and as the Mother in Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors with the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. Ms. Leemhuis returned to DuPage Opera to perform
Dorabella in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte and to the Tanglewood Music Festival as Paquette in Bernstein’s Candide with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, both following a triumphant run as Dorabella with Fort Worth Opera. The Dallas Morning News hailed her performance as “ravishing,” adding that, “her sheer vocal beauty allied to nimbleness and an astonishing range of dynamic and coloristic nuance.”
Ms. Leemhuis has appeared as Carrie in Ash Lawn Opera’s recent production of Rodger & Hammerstein’s Carousel, Florence Pike in Britten’s Albert Herring with Florentine Opera, Suzuki in DuPage Opera’s production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, and Hänsel in Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel with the Macon Symphony Orchestra. She has performed with Chicago’s Music of the Baroque in both Haydn’s Missa in Angustiis and Haydn’s Mass in the Time of War, and as the mezzo soloist with the Apollo Chorus of Chicago in Handel’s Messiah. Ms. Leemhuis has performed multiple times with the Richmond Symphony, most recently to present Berlioz’s Les nuits d'été. The performance was graciously embraced: “Her dark lower register tones seemed to fill the considerable space of the Carpenter Theatre and impose a profound quiet on both the accompanying musicians and the audience. It was a remarkable display of artistry exercising spell-binding authority" (Virginia Classical Music). She previously performed the mezzo solo in Mendelssohn’s Die erste Walpurgisnacht with the Richmond
Following her years as a Gerdine Young Artist, Ms. Leemhuis made a thrilling return to Opera Theatre St. Louis as Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte. Opera News Magazine praised her rendition, asserting, "As Dorabella, mezzo-soprano Kathryn Leemhuis matched Willis-Sorensen in vocal beauty and musical sophistication, and showed a wonderful comic side, drowning her grief in macaroons and rendering 'Smanie implacabili' as a petulant rant." She performed Amaltea in Rossini’s Mosè in Egitto with Chicago Opera Theater, Paquette in Bernstein’s Candide with both the esteemed Ravinia Festival and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, and understudied the role of Giulietta in Offenbach’s Les contes d’Hoffmann with the Lyric Opera of Chicago. In her DuPage Opera debut, Ms. Leemhuis portrayed Zita in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, and culminated that season as Zerlina in Opera Theatre St. Louis’ production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni.
While a young artist in the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center, Ms. Leemhuis portrayed the roles of Giovanna in Verdi’s Ernani, Glasa in Janácek's Kát'a Kabanová, Javotte in Massenet’s Manon, and Kunstgewerblerin in Berg’s Lulu. She understudied Marguerite in Berlioz's La damnation de Faust, Siebel in Gounod's Faust, Varvara in Janácek's Kát'a Kabanová, Kate Pinkerton in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly and Lola in Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana. Ms. Leemhuis made two significant role debuts: Donna Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Rosina in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia, both in Ryan Opera Center productions. She also performed Dorabella at the Tanglewood Music Center under the baton of Maestro James Levine, Flora in Verdi's La traviata at Opera Colorado under Maestro Stephen Lord, and Tulip in the collegiate premiere of Bolcom’s A Wedding at Indiana University. Ms. Leemhuis has been young artist with esteemed programs such as Opera Theatre St. Louis’ Gerdine Young Artist Program, the Tanglewood Music Center, the Carmel Bach Festival, and Ravinia’s Steans Institute.
Ms. Leemhuis is the first place winner of the 2015 Shreveport Opera Singer of the Year Competition, the 2013 New York Lyric Opera Vocal Competition, the 2013 Opera at Florham Vocal Competition, the 2012 Bel Canto Competition, and the 2012 Heida Hermanns Competition. She is the second place winner of the 2015 National Opera Association Competition, the 2013 Opera Birmingham Vocal Competition, the 2013 Florida Grand Opera Competition, the 2011 Gerda Lissner Foundation Vocal Competition, and the 2010 Fort Worth McCammon Competition. She is the third place winner of the 2010 Licia Albanese-Puccini Competition, and a National Semi-Finalist in the 2012 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Ms. Leemhuis has also received prizes from the Sullivan Foundation, the George London Foundation, the Giulio Gari Foundation, the Orpheus Vocal Competition, and the Opera Columbus Vocal Competition.