Praised for her “megawatt charisma” (The Independent) and winner of the John Christie Award, Fiona Kimm has performed throughout the UK, Europe and North America in an extensive operatic, oratorio and concert repertoire. Her repertoire has included Mrs Herring Albert Herring, Mrs Sedley Peter Grimes, Rosa Mamai L’Arlesiana, Orfeo Orfeo ed Euridice, Jezibaba Rusalka, Julie Showboat, Kabanicha Katya Kabanova, Ericlea Il ritorno d’Ulisse, Nurse Boris Godunov, Sextus La clemenza di Tito, Marcellina Le nozze di Figaro, Dido Dido and Aeneas, Clairon Capriccio, Baba the Turk The Rake’s Progress, Madame Larina Eugene Onegin, Wife – Sphinx – Doreen Greek, Mlle Arvidson Un ballo in maschera, Mistress Quickly Falstaff, Azucena Il trovatore, The Old Crone – Mrs Chin A Night at the Chinese Opera and Fricka Der Ring des Nibelungen.
She has sung for companies including the Royal Opera, London, English National Opera, English Touring Opera, Garsington Opera at Wormsley, Glyndebourne Festival and Touring Operas, Longborough Festival Opera, Music Theatre Wales, Opera Holland Park, Opera North, Scottish Opera, the Canadian Opera Company, Oper Frankfurt, the Nationale Reisopera, Opera Zuid, the Sao Carlo, Lisbon, and the Abo Svenska Teater.
Recent engagements have included Mrs Bentson Lakmé for Opera Holland Park, Contessa di Coigny- Madelon Andrea Chénier, Arnalta The Coronation of Poppea, The Abbess Suor Angelica, Hata The Bartered Bride, First Norn Götterdämmerung and Grimgerde Die Walküre for Opera North, Ericlea Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria for The Grange Festival, creating Ellipsis in Matt Rogers’ The Virtues of Things for the Royal Opera, London, produced in collaboration with Aldeburgh Music and Opera North and Filipyevna Eugene Onegin for The 2016 Dorset Opera Festival. She also sang The Fortune Teller in Carlos Acosta’s Carmen for the Royal Ballet (now available on Opus Arte Blu Ray / DVD). With the Royal Ballet, she has appeared as Katharina Schratt Mayerling London and Tokyo.
Singing under conductors including Claudio Abbado, Edward Downes, Richard Farnes, Bernard Haitink, John Pritchard, Simon Rattle, Timothy Redmond and Gennady Rozdhestvensky, she has appeared with such orchestras as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra, Ensemble Modern, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Sinfonietta, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Nash Ensemble and the Radio Filharmonisch Orkest. She has performed a wide range of contemporary music and many works have been written specially for her. Her broadcasts include L’enfance du Christ (Thames Television), Sea Pictures (STV) and Greek (BBC). Her concert repertoire includes Beethoven Missa Solemnis and Symphony No. 9, Brahms Alto Rhapsody, Dvorak Stabat Mater, Elgar The Dream of Gerontius, The Music Makers and Sea Pictures, Mahler Symphony No. 2, Elijah, Prokofiev Alexander Nevsky, A Child of Our Time and the Verdi Requiem.
She has a wide-ranging recital repertoire. In Flanders’ Field, which explored music and conflict in the twentieth century, received much praise at the Wigmore Hall and is now available on Quartz CD. Her other recordings include L’enfance du Christ, Baa Baa Black Sheep, Beatrice Cenci, Simon Holt’s Canciones, Greek, Lament for a Hanging Man, Rose Parrowe Taverner and Street Scene.
Current highlights include Giglietta Isabeau for Opera Holland Park, Xenia’s Nurse Boris Godunov for the Royal Opera, London, Lady Vernon Haddon Hall with the BBC Concert Orchestra and Filipyevna Eugene Onegin for Cambridge Philharmonic Society.
Please note that this biography is not to be used for programmes. Current information is available on request.
Auntie: Baa Baa Black Sheep - Chandos Records
“…the savage, vicious Auntie of Fiona Kimm, a triumph of the portrait of evil.”
American Record Guide
Mrs Herring: Albert Herring / Opera North
“Fiona Kimm’s fine Mrs Herring – rounded and more likeable than the usual matriarchal ogre.”
The Daily Telegraph
“Fiona Kimm portrayed Mrs Herring as less of a dragon than usual, but she was formidable nevertheless.”
“Kimm is heartbreaking in her Act 111 scene as she laments Albert’s (apparent) death.”
“It is good to welcome back Fiona Kimm as the put upon ever-worrying Mrs Herring. We need her in Leeds more often.”
The York Press
Mrs Bentson: Lakmé / Opera Holland Park
"Fiona Kimm offered a nice cameo as an aristocratic English matron."
The Financial Times
“The smaller roles are neatly sketched in, with particular standouts from Fiona Kimm as the prissy governess Mistress Bentson and from Andrew Dickinson as Lakme’s loyal servant Hadji.”
“Fiona Kimm makes a mark as Mrs Bentson…”
Jezibaba: Rusalka / English Touring Opera
“There are some fine performances…Fiona Kimm the witch who brings them (Rusalka and the Prince) together at a hideous price…”
“…formidable as the witch-like Jezibaba.”
Contessa di Coigny & Madelon: Andrea Chénier / Opera North
"A splendid Fiona Kimm."
"Outstanding among a uniformly excellent cast are (i.a.) two pre- and post-Revolution doubles – Fiona Kimm as the imperious Countless and the heartbreakingly patriotic old woman giving up her last remaining grandson for her country...."
Huddersfield Daily Examiner
"Fiona Kimm doubles spectacularly as an imperious Contessa and an impoverished grandmother..."
“Fiona Kimm gave a moving performance as the aged Madelon…”
"The company has persuaded several artists to double up, none more successfully than Fiona Kimm, who portrays a haughty but chic Countess di Coigny in Act I, following up in Act III with a touching account of Madelon, the elderly blind woman who offers up her only grandson to fight for the embattled revolutionary cause."
“Downplaying any sense of romantic melodrama, Arden focuses on the violence and paranoia of Robespierre’s Paris, drawing from the chorus and soloists such as Fiona Kimm (doubling as a Countess and a wretched proletarian) and Daniel Norman (as an Abbé and a turncoat) strongly etched portraits of both its victims and persecutors.”
“As well as her striking Contessa, Fiona Kimm gives a heartbreaking performance as old Madelon, who gives away her last surviving grandson to fight for the Revolution. It’s a gift of a scene and this expert ensemble artist grabs it without excessive histrionics. “
The Sunday Times
“There is period dancing too, and the choreographic dimension is enhanced by stylised gestures from the main characters — particularly Fiona Kimm as the monstrous Contessa di Coigny, epitomising the hauteur of the ancien régime when she remarks of her mutinous servant: “Learning to read has destroyed that man.”
"Excellent cameo roles from Fiona Kimm."
The Yorkshire Post
"It was an inspired idea to have Fiona Kimm play two contrasting casualties of the same conflict. First an imperious Contessa and later a heartbreaking Madelon, she becomes an emblem of victimhood."
What’s On Stage
Henze: Voices / London Sinfonietta
“Alive to its many-faceted vocal demands, and not afraid to enter into the spirit of the settings when the need arose, her total identification with even the more outré of Henze’s musical treatments was undeniable.”
“Kimm’s megawatt charisma – all flashing eyes, electric chest voice and glitzy show-must-go-on vulnerability – is the sort that you associate with Liza Minnelli. Give this girl a one-woman show at Madam Jo Jo’s immediately!”
Kabanicha: Katya Kabanova / English Touring Opera
“The night’s standout performance is Fiona Kimm...”
“The singing and acting are impeccable. Linda Richardson's tall, willowy Katya bends and buckles with guilty desire for Richard Roberts's handsome, troubled Boris, while Fiona Kimm's Kabanicha hides a genuine sadism beneath a veneer of morality.”
“Fiona Kimm was truly chilling as the acrid Kabanicha…”
“Mezzo Fiona Kimm was a truly despicable Kabanicha – and I mean that in the most complimentary sense. Like her Jezibaba in last Autumn’s Rusalka, there was a grandeur to her stage presence which defied her petite stature.”
“Fiona Kimm’s implacable Kabanicha makes a striking impact on her every appearance.”
“Fiona Kimm’s stern and unforgiving portrayal makes the most of the opportunity and hits just the right note.”
What’s On Stage
Giglietta: Isabeau / Opera Holland Park
“Fiona Kimm was suitably urgent as Folco’s grandmother Giglietta.”
“Fiona Kimm is pathos itself as Folco’s Grandmother Giglietta.”
“Fiona Kimm was terrific as Giglietta, her plump, rich tone and urgent projection conveying real love for her grandson and heart-warming courage in pleading for his life.”
“…a bitter-sweet vignette from Fiona Kimm as Folco’s grandmother.”
Rose Parrowe: Taverner / NMC CD
“Fiona Kimm’s bell-like Rose Parrowe…”
“Fiona Kimm sings the challenging role of Rose Parrowe (and briefly the Virgin Mary) with an expressive range of vocal colours.”
Arnalta: The Coronation of Poppea / Opera North
“…Fiona Kimm’s Arnalta particularly impressive.”
The Arts Desk
"Fiona Kimm is a commanding presence as Poppea's nurse Arnalta."
“…the most tender musical contribution comes from Fiona Kimm as Poppea’s nurse, whose sublime lullaby is the only number in the entire opera that does not seem to be motivated by naked self-interest."
“Some of the best arias, however, go to Nero’s tutor Seneca (a convincingly tweedy James Creswell) and Poppea’s nurse Arnalta (Fiona Kimm), and in both cases their performance was impeccable.”
“Fiona Kimm excels as Poppea’s nurse Arnalta – getting off to a severe start, concerned about her mistress and then ending, demob happy, looking forward to tossing away her pink rubber gloves for ever to become a lady.”
‘Fiona Kimm as Poppea’s aged fusspot nurse creates a riveting character study; Kimm’s rich mezzo tones have matured like fine wine.”
"Fiona Kimm was a highly personable Arnalta, making the role more serious but still with a touching regard for her mistress." and that her final aria was "a comic masterpiece of delivery."
“…Fiona Kimm’s knowing and worldy-wise Nurse…”
What’s On Stage
Marcellina: Le nozze di Figaro / Scottish Opera
“Fiona Kimm - the Marcellina, who looks like an intoxicating amalgam of Ava Gardiner, Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigda - runs away with the show, even without her aria.”
The Sunday Times
Mastrilla: La Périchole / Garsington Opera at Wormsley
“There are Three Cousins of the Peruvian aristocracy whose presence in he plot is inexplicable (to me at any rate), but they sing two gorgeous waltzes, and Garsington engaged three experienced stars to do them justice: Jennifer Rhys-Davies, Fiona Kimm and Diana Montague.”
“The roles of the Three Cousins themselves, bar proprietors of indeterminate vintage but sparky manner, provide eagerly seized cameo parts for Jennifer Rhys-Davies, Diana Montague, and Fiona Kimm.”
“Mark Wilde as Panatellas and Simon Butteriss as Don Pedro, assigned many diverse tasks by the Viceroy, were quite outstanding in the realisation of their roles as were some famous names, Jennifer Rhys-Davies, Diana Montague and Fiona Kimm as the cousin sisters of the inn.”
Seen and Heard
Ma: House of the Gods / Music Theatre Wales
“Fiona Kimm as the raddled Goddess, Ma, is simply superb.”
The Abbess: Suor Angelica / Opera North
“…the many cameo roles in the large cast were all strong and characterful: among them Fiona Kimm…”
“Fiona Kimm made an imperious Abbess…”
Ellipsis De Selby: The Virtues of Things / Royal Opera, London
“There’s a glorious romp of a performance from Fiona Kimm as Ellipsis, revelling in her descent into madness…”
The Arts Desk
“Shining particularly brightly was Fiona Kimm…”
“…Fiona Kimm judging the role of the eccentric Ellipsis de Selby to a nicety.”
“Fiona Kimm’s increasingly unhinged, often scene-stealing Ellipsis…”
“Fiona Kimm’s deliciously dotty Ellipsis is one highlight (and she has all the vocal equipment for the role’s wide range, from contralto to soprano).”
Seen and Heard International
Hata: The Bartered Bride / Opera North
“..the marvellous Fiona Kimm is terrific…”
The Arts Desk
“Particularly notable amongst the other characters is Háta, Jeník’s unpleasant mother: Fiona Kimm turns her effortlessly into a real viper.”
“Fiona Kimm as Háta, the aforementioned mother, creates a formidable and blowsy figure to add to her gallery of gorgon roles.”
“…there is luxury casting for the parents…with Fiona Kimm, magnificently malevolent…”
What’s On Stage
Baba the Turk: Glyndebourne Touring Opera
“Fiona Kimm’s Baba the Turk, adorning Glyndebourne Touring’s poster for many weeks now, is a gem, sung without parody and vividly acted; her farewell scene was touching.”
The Financial Times
Governess: The Queen of Spades / Opera North
“…Fiona Kimm was a formidable Governess.”
Azucena: Il trovatore / Stowe Opera
“…a masterly asset in the outstanding character mezzo Fiona Kimm, who brought to the gypsy Azucena – as besotting and bewitching as Carmen – the kind of visual fire and vocal power, notably a superb low register, one looks for on the national opera stage, where Kimm is an acclaimed regular.”
Music & Vision
First Norn: Götterdämmerung / Opera North
“The Norns and the three Rhinemaidens — quite a lot of acting from both trios, more than from anyone else — were resplendent.”
First Norn: Götterdämmerung / Opera North 2016
“There’s a lovely cameo from the veteran Fiona Kimm.”
Fricka: Die Walküre / Longborough Festival Opera
“Fiona Kimm’s Fricka - a commanding interpretation.”
Mrs Chin: A Night at the Chinese Opera
"There's not a weak link here with a luxury cast that includes Fiona Kimm doubling as the housekeeper and as an old crone..."
"There were strong cameos from Tony Stafford-Allen (Chao Sun) and Fiona Kimm (Mrs Chin)...”
In Flanders’ Fields / Wigmore Hall
“Kimm’s recital programme was intellectually challenging, and greatly entertaining.”
The Daily Telegraph
Berkeley Baa Baa Black Sheep (roles of Auntirosa and Baldeo)
with Eileen Hulse, Ann Taylor-Morley, Malcolm Lorimer, Philip Sheffield, William Dazeley, Mark Holland, George Mosley, Henry Newman, Clive Bayley
Opera North Chorus, English Northern Philharmonia c. Paul Daniel
Chandos CHAN 10186
Berlioz L'Enfance du Christ (role of Mary)
with Anthony Rolfe Johnson, William Shimell, Richard van Allan, Benjamin Luxon
English Chamber Orchestra c. Philip Ledger
Goldschmidt Beatrice Cenci (role of Bernardo)
with Roberta Alexander, Della Jones, Reinhard Beyer, Ian Bostridge, John David DeHaan, Endrik Wottrich, Simon Estes, Peter Rose
Berlin Symphony Orchestra c. Lothar Zagrosek
Sony S2K 66 836
Holt Sparrow Night, Shadow Realm, Canciones
with the Nash Ensemble
Maxwell Davies Taverner (role of Rose Parrowe)
Michael Chance, Martyn Hill, David Wilson-Johnson
BBC Symphony Orchestra / Oliver Knussen
CD NMC D157
Turnage Greek (roles of Wife, Doreen, Waitress 1 and Sphinx 1)
with Helen Charnock, Quentin Hayes, Richard Suart
Ensemble c. Richard Bernas
Argo 440 368 2ZHO
Turnage On All Fours, Lament for a Hanging Man, Sarabande
with Martin Robertson, Christopher van Kampen
Nash Ensemble c. Martin Knussen
Weill Street Scene (role of Olga)
with Dame Josephine Barstow, Angelina Réaux, Barbara Bonney, Arleen Augér, Della Jones, Jerry Hadley, Samuel Ramey
Scottish Opera Chorus and Orchestra c. John Macueri
Decca 433 371 - 2
In Flanders' Fields
with Andrew Ball (Piano)
Quartz QTZ 2038