Described by Opera UK as a "heroine [with] poise, expressive singing, excellent vocalism, and a dark and full tone", Canadian soprano Kirsten MacKinnon has captured the attention of audiences across North America and Europe. A Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition winner, and a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music under the mentorship of Professor Edith Wiens, she held the Alfred Greenberg Memorial fellowship during her studies, and was also a grant holder of the Jacqueline Desmarais Foundation for Young Canadian Opera Singers.
Highlights on the opera stage for Kirsten include Contessa Almaviva with Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and Opéra de Montréal, a return to Canadian Opera Company and Glyndebourne Festival as Fiordiligi Così fan tutte; her Frankfurt Opera debut as Inès L’Africaine, described by Heute Musik as “dreamlike”, where she later returned for the Countess Capriccio, Micaëla Carmen, the Countess Le nozze di Figaro and Hanna Glawari The Merry Widow; Micaëla at Opera Philadelphia, Helena A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Aix-en-Provence Festival on tour to Beijing, Pamina Die Zauberflöte and Countess Le nozze di Figaro for Garsington Opera.
In addition to her operatic engagements, Kirsten has performed in concert under the baton of Maestro Zubin Mehta as well as with the Münchner Rundfunkorchester, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Curtis Chamber Orchestra and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. She has also given recitals in Vancouver, Philadelphia, New York, Bayreuth, Neumarkt, and Spoleto.
Kirsten’s credits for the Curtis Opera Theatre include Mimì La bohème, Die Gräfin Capriccio, Countess Le nozze di Figaro, Die Echo Ariadne auf Naxos, title role Iolanta, La Ciesca Gianni Schicchi, Elettra Idomeneo, Fox Cunning Little Vixen, Micäela Carmen, Lisa La Sonnambula and Mrs Gobineau The Medium. Kirsten has also sung Annina La traviata with Opera Philadelphia; Nella Gianni Schicchi with Chautauqua Music Festival.
"The countess of Kirsten MacKinnon brought rare beauty to her two arias. The reprise of 'Dove Sono' was sung pianississimo, and was simply breathtaking."
"The real star of this staging... is soprano Kirsten MacKinnon, in the role of Pamina. The Vancouver native and Grand Finals Metropolitan Opera Laffont winner boasts a rich, luscious tone and sensitive musicality that earned her well-deserved rapturous applause. If there’s one reason to catch this show, MacKinnon is it. "
"Kirsten MacKinnon as Fiordiligi and Ben Bliss as Ferrando were the vocal revelations of the evening. MacKinnon was of fine and crystal clear voice from the start and then, masterly and free in the second half—her “Per pietà” was especially memorable. Hearing her elegant embellishments here and there was a bonus reward."
"Kirsten MacKinnon was a strong Micaëla. Although looking every inch the sweet white-gloved girl-next-door, she played a towering woman, with full coloratura, and a commanding presence. She was portrayed as a woman of passion in her own right."
"Kirsten MacKinnon's Inès is simply formidable: the best performer in the role we have ever heard on stage or on record. The voice is superbly projected, the French suffers no reservations, the song is sovereign, the breath long with treble without effort."
"The ill-fated princess Pamina was played by soprano Kirsten MacKinnon, who was by far and away the standout of the entire show. Vocally breathtaking, with phenomenal control, she would effortlessly float high notes above the orchestra, and then tackle larger passages with incredible vocal strength and size. An absolute force of nature who brought the house down."