|Introverted-Extrovert: Kyle Ketelsen as Méphistophélès |
in a 2013 production of Faust at Opernhaus Zürich is a
far cry from his quiet life in Wisconsin.
(Photo: Tanja Dorendorf)
Ketelsen has been forging a path in the operatic world but it came to him as an unlikely profession. The Clinton, Iowa native grew up in a home where his mother found creative ways to expose her children to music—they all played instruments and the record player was often spinning the Beatles, Beach Boys and Neil Diamond. The young man had aspirations of flying
helicopters in the U.S. Army but his mom wasn’t too crazy about that profession, so Ketelsen compromised and spent six years in the Army National Guard. He did well, but it wasn’t for him. After two years at the University of Iowa, Ketelsen began to be known for his singing but never considered it as a career until a voice teacher told him to go to the Indiana University and study opera with legendary performer Giorgio Tozzi. 'I was like ‘where’ and with ‘whom’,' Ketelsen said of his former clueless self. The newbie arrived on famed Jacobs School of MusicSomeone once said to me that they were surprised someone named Kyle could be a good opera singer—it was a backhanded compliment—but American opera singers are becoming better known and are seen as more versatile, and with a better work ethic,' Ketelsen said. For months now, the Sun Prairie resident has been studying for a new role, one that will expand his voice into a new territory as Golaud in Pelléas et Mélisande. It’s a richer, dramatic role that Ketelsen hopes will guide him into a higher level of performance. 'I no longer have a young fragile voice, and I can do more challenging and demanding roles,' he said. 'I’m in my forties now and I am just entering the heyday of my career. I will be singing 25-30 years from now, so I need to grow.' But he’s prepared with countless rehearsals, endless hours of studying musical scores in foreign tongues, and being in tip-top shape. 'It is very much like an athletic event when you are out there singing, it’s an entire body experience with breathing, sometimes running and climbing acrossSource] For more information about Kyle Ketelsen and his performance schedule, click here.