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Ridgewood Opera Singer Makes Magic On Stage

Kristen Plumley as Musetta with Tony Dillon as Alcindoro in La Bohème by Puccini — Amarillo Opera Photo Credit: Kristen Plumley
Kristen Plumley Photo Credit: Kristen Plumley
Kristen Plumley as Adina in L'elisir d'amore by Donizetti — Greensboro Opera Company Photo Credit: Kristen Plumley
Kristen Plumley as Norina with Matthew Spady as Don Pasquale in Don Pasquale by G. Donizetti —Virginia Opera Photo Credit: Kristen Plumley

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. — Ridgewood mother Kristen Plumley spends her days reading music, memorizing lyrics, studying foreign languages and practicing her dictation.

Such is the life of a freelance opera singer, a career Plumley said she was always destined for.

"I love the fact that I can convey emotions and ideas through singing," said the soprano singer, who has performed dozens of operas, concerts, and musical theater performances throughout her 30-year career.

"Performing on stage is like living in this magical world."

Plumley grew up in South Windsor, Conn., where she showed a deep interest in music.

"In music class I remember I would always follow the teacher very closely," Plumley said.

She had a voice coach who told her she had a good voice for opera. Then in 8th grade she got her first big role playing Mother Abbess in her middle school's rendition of The Sound of Music.

"I found out I had a lot of singing talent from playing that role," Plumley said.

She went to Holy Cross College in Worcester, Mass. to study psychology, but continued to stay involved in music and theater.

After graduation, she enrolled at Hartt School of Music in Hartford, Conn. to get her artist diploma. It was here that she decided to pursuit opera singing.

"I chose opera over musical theater because I found the training to be more rigorous," Plumley told Daily Voice. "Operas are long and complicated, and you have to learn different languages, but they are more rewarding."

She performed in her first opera at Hartt, which, ironically, is the first time she said she had ever been to the opera in her life.

After graduating Hartt she took apprenticeships at the Chautauqua Opera Company, Virginia Opera Company and the Banff Center for the Arts.

She's since performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Opera and more.

"It is so rewarding when you tackle a very complicated opera," Plumley said. "People come up to me and say they are moved to tears by my singing and it is really touching to know I affected somebody like that."

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