BGSU Magazine Spring 2010

Dreaming of nights at the Met

Exploring the world of opera with youthful singing phenom Kisma Jordan

For 29-year-old Kisma Rachel Jordan '06, a recent evening that saw her wowing a Carnegie Hall audience with her deeply expressive rendition of Brahms's "Die Mainacht (The May Night)" was a major step toward realizing her lifelong dream: becoming a leading soprano at the famed Metropolitan Opera.

Her appearance took place after the gifted young singer completed a master class with legendary mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne during her residency at BGSU. The opera star then chose Jordan to take part in the Carnegie Hall class.

Kisma Jordan

"For an aspiring opera singer, working with a legend like Marilyn Horne was an amazing experience," says Jordan, whose budding opera career got a major boost recently when she earned rave reviews while performing with both the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Michigan Opera Theatre. "Ms. Horne is very nice, very kind - but she’s also very demanding."

Frequently described as one of America's most promising young opera singers, Jordan grew up singing in the choir every Sunday at Detroit’s Unity Baptist Church. Encouraged by her mother, Karen Hughes, she began taking private singing lessons by the age of 14 and then received a music scholarship to Kentucky State University.

After arriving on the BGSU campus to study for her master's degree in vocal performance in 2004, Jordan soon found herself working daily in the Moore Musical Arts Center with "a terrific mentor and teacher," professor Myra Merritt.

"Professor Merritt was a terrific teacher because of her passionate commitment to the craft," says Jordan, who has gone on to appear on opera and concert stages all across America since graduating from BGSU in 2006. Now studying voice in Detroit, Jordan says she’s "working harder than ever" to realize her dream of one day singing regularly at the Met.

"If you’re going to achieve a difficult goal like that, you have to believe you can," says Jordan, who on most days puts in at least four hours of grueling study, vocal exercises and singing practice. "It's what I love, and I feel very fortunate to have this chance to go as far as my dedication will take me."