Keith Ikaia-Purdy

Biography

Internationally celebrated lyric-spinto tenor, Keith Ikaia-Purdy, has performed leading roles with the Metropolitan Opera (Hoffmann), La Scala, Milan (Jérusalem), The Royal Opera, Covent Garden (Alzira), and the Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires. In a career spanning two decades, the tenor has performed with such leading companies as the Bavarian State Opera, the Dresden Semper Oper, the Liceu Barcelona, the German Opera and State Opera of Berlin, the Royal Opera Stockholm, the Washington National Opera, and the Opera Orchestra of New York in Carnegie Hall, as well as the operas of Bonn, Zurich, Geneva, Leipzig, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Cologne, Liege and Toulouse, in addition to being a featured artist with such eminent Festivals as the Munich Summer, Schleswig-Holstein, Ravenna, Ludwigsburg, Rheingau, Holland, Glimmerglass and Torre del Lago Puccini.
 
Still, despite a globe-trotting career, the native Hawaiian tenor is most closely associated with the Vienna State Opera, having debuted as Alfredo (Traviata) in May 1992. In the ensuing 16 seasons, he has appeared in over 250 performances of 22 leading roles; among them: Rodolfo (Bohème), Gustavo (Ballo in maschera), Don Carlo (Italian and French), Arnold (Guillaume Tell), Gaston (Jérusalem), Stiffelio, Hoffmann, Des Grieux (Manon), Faust (Mefistofele) and Fernand (La Favorite). Most recently his appearances in “The House on the Ring” have included Nemorino (Elisir d’Amore), Don Carlos (French original version), Cavaradossi (Tosca), Hoffmann, Gabriele Adorno (Simon Boccanegra), and Edgardo (opposite the Lucia of Edita Gruberova). Further, since 2002 the tenor has also been a member of the Baden State Opera, Karlsruhe where he has been acclaimed in productions of Luisa Miller, Werther, Mefistofele, Elisir, Bohème, Tosca, Butterfly, Boccanegra, Carmen and most recently Turandot.
 
On the symphonic stage the tenor has appeared with R. Chailly and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Z. Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic, Sir C. Davis and the Dresden Philharmonic, F. Luisi and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, in repertoire ranging from the Beethoven IX and Missa Solemnis, Rossini Stabat Mater, Verdi Requiem and Mahler Das Lied v.d.Erde. He has appeared on the DGG label (DVD: Rosenkavalier; C. Kleiber); EMI ("Le Belle Epoch" with A.M.Kaufmann), ORF DVD ("Christmas in Vienna"), and Koch-Schwann ("Verdi in Ludwigsburg.") In April 2007 his CD recording of the Berlioz Requiem with the Orchestra and Chorus of the Dresden Staatskapelle under Sir Colin Davis was released on the Profil (Hansler) label. On television: he has been featured in Mefistofele under Riccardo Muti from the Ravenna Festival; Rigoletto with Leo Nucci from Timisoara; in the film "The Star and the Elementary School Teacher," as a guest host of "Nix wie raus;" as well as a soloist with the Vienna Choir Boys in "Christmas in Vienna"; in a French Opera Gala with the MDR Symphony under Fabio Luisi; as well as in numerous televised excerpts from stage performances of the VSO on ORF.  At the time of this writing excerpts from the tenor's 2006 summer recital are being telecast on the ZDF Theater Channel.  
 
Ikaia-Purdy was born in Hawaii, beginning his musical studies while a pupil of the Kamehameha Schools. He continued his musical education in California, graduating in vocal performance from the University of the Redlands; he then completed his formal training as a scholarship student of the legendary tenor Carlo Bergonzi, under the auspices of the annual Accademia Verdiana seminar in Busseto, Italy. He began his professional career in the United States, concentrating on roles such as Jose (Carmen), Rodolfo (La Bohème), Cavaradossi (Tosca), Roberto (Le Villi), Duca (Rigoletto), Ernesto (Don Pasquale) and Aroldo (Aroldo). In 1989 he made his European debut as Corrado (Il Corsaro) in Busseto, whereupon he was engaged by Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw to replace the ill Alfredo Kraus for the Berlioz Requiem, and by the Hessian State Theater for Don Carlo in the Wiesbaden May Festival. He remained in Wiesbaden for two years, adding roles such as Faust (Faust) and Rodolfo (Luisa Miller) to his active repertoire. In the same period he debuted as Werther with the Hamburg State Opera in the premiere of Harry Kupfer’s new production. The critical acclaim obtained by the tenor in this remarkable production may be accounted his breakthrough to international attention.
 
The tenor's 2007/2008 engagements included Don Carlo in Copenhagen, a return to Stuttgart for Don Josè (Carmen) his first Vienna Vespri (with Leo Nucci and Sondra Rodvanovsky;) Don Carlo at the Frankfurt Opera, Das Lied v.d. Erde on tour in Italy and Germany; his first Des Grieux in Manon Lescaut, Andrea in Karlsruhe. In September 2008 he made his Hong Kong opera debut in Don Carlo and with the same opera his debut at the Norwegian Opera in Oslo. His role debut as Andrea Chénier followed in Karlsruhe shortly after that. At the same theatre he will be again Don Carlo in a new production of that opera in 2009. He also sang Werther in a new production in Wiesbaden that season, whichhas been released on DVD by Arthaus. And, in 2010 the tenor is among the select stars who have been invited to celebrate the career of VSO Indendant Ion Holender in an ORF broadcast gala.
 
Most recently he sang his role debut as Carlo in Verdi’s I Masnadieri in Karlsruhe.

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