Artist of the Week: Quinn Kelsey

Hawaiian Baritone Makes his Met Role Debut as ‘Rigoletto’

By Francisco Salazar
(Credit: Ken Howard / Met Opera)

On Dec. 31 the Metropolitan Opera will premiere a new production of “Rigoletto” featuring Met veterans and newcomers. It will also mark the first time, Quinn Kelsey, one of the Met’s stars headlines a production.

Kelsey, who made his Met debut in 2008 as Schaunard in “La Bohème,” has appeared in over 70 performances with the company and has slowly moved into leading roles. Over the years at the Met, he has focused on Verdi operas starting with Germont in “La Traviata” and moving into “Il Trovatore” and “Aida.” However, his first Verdi role with the company was Monterone in “Rigoletto” in 2011 in the Otto Schenk production. Now 10 years later, Kelsey will finally bring his acclaimed Rigoletto to the biggest stage in the world. With the opera, the baritone will complete his appearances Verdi’s middle period trilogy at the Met, following turns in “Il Trovatore” and “La Traviata.”

Over the years, the baritone has made Rigoletto a signature, performing the role in Zürich, Chicago, London, Santa Fe San Francisco, Hawaii, and Frankfurt. Of his interpretation, OperaWire has noted that “his Rigoletto conveyed the many mixed emotions the title role brings.”

In the past few years, Kelsey has become the go-to Verdi baritone for his dynamic acting and musicality. He has performed in “Attila,” “I Vespri Siciliani,” “Don Carlo,” “Falstaff,” and “Simon Boccanegra.”

For those not in New York for the January performances in New York, the production will be live in cinemas and will return to the Met in May. Kelsey will also return to the Met in the spring for “La Bohème” and he will also bring his acclaimed Amonasro in “Aida” to Dresden.


For those not familiar with Kelsey’s baritone, the Met’s “La Traviata” and “Aida” are available on the Met player.

Here is a clip from “Rigoletto” in San Francisco

Here he is in “La Traviata” from the Met.

Here he is in “Aida” with Anna Netrebko from the Met.


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