Kelley Rourke is a librettist, translator and dramaturg. She has collaborated with composer John Glover on projects including Lucy, Natural Systems, and Guns n’ Rosenkavalier, among others. Kelley has written libretti for three youth operas at The Glimmerglass Festival: Odyssey and Robin Hood (both with Ben Moore) and Wilde Tales (with Laura Karpman). Kelley's modern English adaptations of numerous standard and not-so-standard operas have been hailed as “crackingly witty” (The Independent, London) and “remarkably well wedded to the music and versification in arias” (New York Times).
Her work been commissioned and performed by companies including Washington National Opera, English National Opera, Welsh National Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Boston Lyric Opera, Young People’s Chorus of NYC, Seattle Opera, Minnesota Opera, Carnegie Hall, Urban Arias (Washington, DC), San Francisco Conservatory, Milwaukee Opera Theatre, American Opera Projects, Atlanta Opera and Nautilus Music-Theater, among others.
Kelley has served as guest lecturer at Boston University, Carnegie Mellon University and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and was founding editor of Opera America magazine and a contributor to the New Grove Dictionary of American Music. She is resident dramaturg for both Washington National Opera and The Glimmerglass Festival.
Kelley has worked with young people throughout her career. She began her teaching career in 1992 as a piano teacher and choral conductor in Washington, DC, where she taught for nearly a decade. She holds a B.M. in piano, with an emphasis in pedagogy, and has worked as an Artist in Residence in DC public schools under the auspices of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Kelley's work as a collaborative artist is informed by nearly two decades of studying yoga and mindfulness, including two extended trips to Mysore, India. Since 2010 Kelley has worked with organizations including Bent on Learning, Sonima Foundation and Teach Wellness to bring movement and mindfulness practices into schools New York, El Paso, Indianapolis, Houston and Columbia, South Carolina.
Upcoming projects include an English adaptation of Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen for The Glimmerglass Festival, productions of Odyssey (with composer Ben Moore) in Seattle and Cooperstown, and a new immersive opera, written with composer John Glover, for On Site Opera (NYC).