Kelley Rourke is a librettist, translator and dramaturg. She collaborates frequently with John Glover, with whom she has written Lucy, Natural Systems, and Guns n’ Rosenkavalier, among others. She has written libretti for three youth operas that have been performed across the country: 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 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), Met LiveArts, Houston Grand Opera’s HGOco, San Francisco Conservatory, Milwaukee Opera Theatre, American Opera Projects, Atlanta Opera, Kentucky Opera, Walnut Hill School for the Arts and Nautilus Music-Theater, among others.
Kelley has been engaged as a guest lecturer at Boston University, Carnegie Mellon University, NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and Walnut Hill School for the Arts, and she is librettist mentor for Washington National Opera’s 2020 American Opera Initiative. She was founding editor of Opera America magazine and a contributor to the New Grove Dictionary of American Music. Kelley is resident dramaturg for The Glimmerglass Festival and Washington National Opera, and she has created English supertitles for more than 80 operas.
Kelley’s work as a collaborative writer is supported and informed by nearly two decades of practicing and teaching yoga and mindfulness. She began studying the Ashtanga method in 2005 with Keith Moore (Ashtanga Yoga Studio DC). Since 2009 she has studied with Eddie Stern, and she has made two extended trips to Mysore, India, to study with Sharath Jois. Since 2010 Kelley has been engaged to teach mindfulness practices to public school students, teachers and administrators in cities including New York City, Houston, Indianapolis, El Paso and Columbia, SC.
Upcoming projects include a The Jungle Book (with composer Kamala Sankaram) for Glimmerglass and a new immersive opera (with John Glover) for NYC’s On Site Opera.