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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Yvonne Kenny AM (born 25 November 1950) is an Australian soprano, particularly associated with Handel and Mozart roles.


Born in Sydney, she first studied at the University of Sydney in science, hoping to become a biochemist, but decided to pursue a career in music instead. She studied first with Myra Lambert at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and later won a scholarship to study at the opera school at La Scala in Milan. After a year of studying there, she went to England, where after a few recitals and TV appearances, her breakthrough came on 11 October 1975, when she replaced, with only four days' notice, the soprano scheduled to sing in an Opera Rara concert performance of Donizetti's Rosmonda d'Inghilterra at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. It was a triumph and the virtually unknown Kenny became an overnight star.[citation needed]

She made her debut at the Royal Opera House the following year, in the premiere of Hans Werner Henze's We Come to the River, later singing in Handel operas such as: Semele, Alcina, Giulio Cesare, and such Mozart operas as: Idomeneo, Mitridate, re di Ponto, La clemenza di Tito, The Abduction from the Seraglio, The Magic Flute. She also sang Sophie in both Werther and Der Rosenkavalier. She was also a regular guest at the Glyndebourne Festival and the English National Opera. On the international scene, she appeared at opera houses in Zurich, Munich, Vienna, Aix-en-Provence, Washington, etc. She often returned home, appearing at the Sydney Opera House in roles including: Mélisande, Manon, Leila, Micaela, Fiordiligi, Pamina, Alcina and Cleopatra. Later she sang the roles of Richard Strauss.

In 2009, Kenny appeared as Blanche DuBois in the Australian premiere of Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire for Opera Australia.[1] After her initial success with Opera Rara, she appeared in many recordings with them, notably: Donizetti's Ugo, conte di Parigi and Emilia di Liverpool, Meyerbeer's Il crociato in Egitto, and Simon Mayr's Medea in Corinto. She also provided the voice for the title role in the TV mini-series Melba, about Dame Nellie Melba.[citation needed]

She is the Chairman and Life President of the Australian Music Foundation.[2]

Awards and nominations

ARIA Music Awards

The ARIA Music Awards is an annual awards ceremony that recognises excellence, innovation, and achievement across all genres of Australian music.[3]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
ARIA Music Awards of 1995 Simple Gifts
(with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Vladimir Kamirski)
ARIA Award for Best Classical Album Won
ARIA Music Awards of 1998 Handel: Arias
(with Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and Paul Dyer)
ARIA Award for Best Classical Album Won
ARIA Music Awards of 2002 Gorecki: Symphony No. 3
(with Adelaide Symphony Orchestra)
ARIA Award for Best Classical Album Nominated
ARIA Music Awards of 2002 Make Believe ARIA Award for Best Classical Album Nominated
  • She was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the 1989 Queen's Birthday Honour List for "services to opera",[4]
  • In June 1999 was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Music by the University of Sydney.
  • In January 2019 Yvonne Kenny won "the 2019 Australian of the Year in the UK Award" – the top honour from the Australia Day Foundation.[5][6][7]


She performed the Olympic Hymn at the closing ceremony of the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. In 2001 she was awarded the Centenary Medal.[8]


  • Recital at Wigmore Hall (1984)
  • Britten Folk Songs and Song Cycles, with Carolyn Watkinson (1987)
  • William Walton and Constant Lambert – Complete Songs (1992)
  • Simple Gifts (1993)
  • Mozart Arias with Obbligato Instruments (1994)
  • 19th Century Heroines (1994, recorded 1982–1992)
  • Bouquet of Melodies (1995)
  • Something Wonderful (1996)
  • Handel Arias (1998)
  • Christmas Gift (1999)
  • Great Operatic Arias Sung in English #1 (2000)
  • Gorecki Complete Songs (2001)
  • Great Operatic Arias Sung in English #2 (2002)
  • Make Believe, Classic Songs of Broadway (2002)
  • The Salley Gardens: A Treasury of English Song (2004)
  • Handel Cantatas & Deutsche Arien, with John Shirley-Quirk (2004)
  • Claire de lune (2006)
  • Delius Songs (2007)
  • Vienna, City of My Dreams (2008)
  • Singing For Love, with David Hobson(2010)
  • Strauss – Four Last Songs (2010)

See also


  1. ^ Opera Today: A Streetcar Named Desire at Opera Australia
  2. ^ "Patrons & Trustees". Australian Music Foundation. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  3. ^ "ARIA Awards search Yvonne Kenny". ARIA Awards. Retrieved 10 September 2020.
  4. ^ It's an Honour: AM
  5. ^ "Yvonne Kenny: The 2019 UK Australian of the Year". Limelight. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  6. ^ "Yvonne Kenny honoured as UK Australian of the Year". Australian Times News. 28 January 2019. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  7. ^ "Opera star Yvonne Kenny wins Australia Day award in UK". The Australian. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  8. ^ It's an Honour: Centenary Medal


External links

This page was last edited on 14 September 2020, at 09:02
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