Soprano Kathleen Kim finds perfect fit in Sarasota Opera's 'Lucia'

One of the most anticipated performances at Sarasota Opera this season is Kathleen Kim making her debut in the title role of Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor. Kim, a Korean-American soprano, was an apprentice and studio artist with the company in 2002 and 2005, respectively, and has gone on to have an impressive career, including major roles at the Metropolitan Opera.

"I have been wanting to do Lucia for a long time, and this opera house is the perfect place for me to debut it," Kim said last week. "I love the smallness of the house, the intimacy of it. The expression I make on stage can be seen from every seat in the house."

The long, demanding mad scene in Lucia di Lammermoor is a prime specimen of coloratura, the rapid, high-pitched, virtuosic singing Kim is known for. She wanted to debut the role at Sarasota because the company provides an unusually long rehearsal period — about a month — plus she'll get in nine performances of the opera, which opens Saturday.

"Usually, bigger companies have like two weeks of rehearsal," she said. "Last year when I was doing Queen of the Night (in The Magic Flute) in Germany, I had to go on with very little rehearsal. It was nerve wracking. Here at Sarasota they take a long time to prepare."

Kim, who made her Met debut in 2007, has gotten good notices for her performances as Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos and Olympia in Les Contes d'Hoffmann. She was Madame Mao in last year's Met production of Nixon in China, directed by Peter Sellars with the opera's composer, John Adams, conducting.

Recently, the soprano removed the Queen of the Night from her repertoire, because she didn't want to become overly identified with the high-flying role. "After I sang it in Germany, I was getting so many offers that I told my manager I didn't want to do it anymore, or else that's all I'd be doing," Kim said. "I hope to start getting more engagements in bel canto roles like Lucia and Gilda (in Rigoletto)."

Trumpeter on the move

Tom Hooten, a trumpet player with Tampa Bay roots, has been named principal trumpet with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Hooten, who graduated from Gaither High School and the University of South Florida in Tampa, is principal trumpet with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. He will probably move on to Los Angeles in the summer.

Hooten, 35, is playing this week with the LA Phil and music director Gustavo Dudamel in Mahler's mammoth Eighth Symphony in Caracas, Venezuela. The performance — with more than 1,000 musicians on stage — will be transmitted live at 5 p.m. Saturday to movie theaters, including a half-dozen in the bay area. See fathomevents.com.

Box office hit

Last week, Memphis became the second highest-grossing show to play Ruth Eckerd Hall, drawing attendance of 14,104 with ticket sales of $772,046 for eight performances. The Clearwater hall's No. 1 hit was Mamma Mia! in 2007.

John Fleming can be reached at fleming@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8716.

Soprano Kathleen Kim finds perfect fit in Sarasota Opera's 'Lucia' 02/14/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 14, 2012 7:06pm]

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