Kieran Rayner is a London-based New Zealand operatic baritone, currently launching an international career. At present he is studying at the Royal College of Music International Opera School as the Basil Coleman Opera Scholar, learning with Russell Smythe. In July he completed a Masters of Performance with Distinction at the Royal College. He graduated from the New Zealand School of Music in 2011 with Distinction in a Postgraduate Diploma of Music (Performance), studying under Emily Mair and Margaret Medlyn, combined with a BA in English Literature. He is a Samling Young Artist 2017, a Britten Pears Young Artist 2018, attended the 2017 Internationale Meistersinger Akademie with Edith Wiens, and was a 2012-13 Freemasons Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artist with New Zealand Opera.

He has been generously supported at different times by the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation, the Stephen Catto Memorial Trust, the Kiwi Music Trust, the NZ Opera Guild Circle 100, the Wallace Arts Trust, the NZ Opera Foundation, the Hunn Education Trust, the Victoria League Trust, the Adam Foundation, and Creative New Zealand.

In late 2014, Kieran arrived in Britain to begin full-time postgraduate study at the Royal College of Music. Alongside this, he was soon being engaged as a soloist both in operas and oratorio concerts in London and further afield. To date, he has been cast in eight principal roles in Royal College of Music International Opera School productions. Additionally, he has performed major roles with British Youth Opera, English Touring Opera, Park Opera, and Saffron Hall, as well as oratorio solos for choral societies in Chichester, Kent, Surrey, Somerset, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Dorset, Cornwall, and Worcestershire.

His operatic repertoire includes core classical and bel canto roles such as Figaro in The Barber of Seville, Guglielmo in Così Fan Tutte, and Papageno in The Magic Flute, as well as baroque roles including Melisso in Alcina and Polyphemus in Acis and Galatea, and contemporary works, such as Philip Sunderland’s The Glass Knight (world premiere), and Crime and Punishment – a set of short modern operas at the RCM, in which he played three principal roles.

Kieran has a flair both for the comedic (Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus, Vicar Gedge in Albert Herring), and dramatic (The Forester in The Cunning Little Vixen, Crespel & Luther in The Tales of Hoffmann). As a core member of the Chapman Tripp NZ Opera Chorus, he also performed in twelve operas between 2008-2013. 

Concert and oratorio highlights in Britain include Vaughan Williams’s Serenade to Music at Buckingham Palace on Queen Elizabeth’s 65th Jubilee (with John Wilson), Bach’s St Matthew Passion in Southwark Cathedral, Stravinsky’s Pulcinella (RCM with Vladimir Jurowsky); Barber’s Dover Beach and Butterworth’s Love Blows as the Wind Blows (Lewes Festival of Song), The Seasons and The Creation by Haydn; in New Zealand, Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, Haydn’s Creation, Handel’s Messiah, Mondeverdi’s Vespers 1610, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio; and a memorable Gounod St Cecilia Mass in Nouméa, New Caledonia.

He won the Emmy Destinn Czech Song Prize 2017, and won 3rd prize in the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2017 (Wigmore Hall), 2nd prize in the 2016 AESS Patricia Routledge and Brooks Van Der Pump English Song Competitions, was a 2014 Lexus Song Quest semifinalist, won the Hamilton Vocal Competitions 2012, and was a 2012 New Zealand Aria finalist. He has an eclectic range of other skills: from period dance to Shakespearean theatre and modern tap dance. In 2014 he narrated several stories for ‘Shortz: Stories from Kapiti’, an audio collection of New Zealand writing for children. If you would like to contact Kieran, click here.

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Photo credit: Simon Crompton-Reid