English soprano Emma Kirkby is one of the leading proponents of Renaissance and Baroque vocal music. Having begun her vocal studies with Jessica Cash at Oxford University (while studying classic literature), she made her 1974 concert debut in London; she has been regarded as an early music specialist from the beginning. She made her first tour of the United States in 1978; tours to all of the major music capitals of the world have followed.Read more Especially noteworthy was a tour of the Arabian states with lutenist Anthony Rooley.
She has been a member of the Academy of Ancient Music, The London Baroque, The Taverner Players and the Consort of Musicke. In her collaborations with these groups she has increased the public awareness of correct Baroque performance practice while carefully avoiding pedantry; she brings a great deal of drama and musicianship to her performances. Besides the lute songs of the Renaissance era, Kirkby is well known for her performances of the cantatas and passions of Bach and the choral music of Monteverdi. Though she has rarely appeared on the operatic stage, she had great success as Dorlina in Handel's Orlando and in the title role of Scarlatti's Giuditta.
Kirkby's voice is a very light, lyric soprano of unusual sweetness. She has excellent control of the voice and is able to sing without any vibrato -- a quality that many practitioners of early music prefer. Her recordings give an excellent view of the range of her repertoire -- at times even expanding on it, since she has recorded several operas which she has not sung on stage, including Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, Monteverdi' Orfeo, Handel's Orlando and Hasse's Cleofide. Read less