Julie Tabash Kelsheimer, Soprano

Praised by the Chicago Tribune as a “standout” and The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel as having “a gorgeous sound and tremendous facility,” 2007 AIT graduate Julie Tabash Kelsheimer is quickly gaining recognition for her vocally powerful and emotionally gripping performances on operatic, musical theatre, and concert stages.

Equally at home in classical and musical theater repertoire, Ms. Tabash Kelsheimer recently performed the roles of Gretel in Humperdinck’s opera Hänsel und Gretel at Union Avenue Opera, as well as Glinda in The Wizard of Oz with Variety Children’s Theatre. Other roles include Rosasharn in the Chicago premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath and Maureen Reagan in the world stage premiere of the opera-oratorio Reagan’s Children at Northwestern University. She has been seen on the stages of Pine Mountain Music Festival, Skylight Music Theatre, Central City Opera, Florentine Opera Company, OperaWorks, and others. She was a two-time finalist and one-time winner of Northwestern University’s Concerto and Aria Competition, the 2016 First Place Winner of the Southern Illinois Young Artist Organization Competition, the recipient of the Central City Opera Iris Henwood Richards Award, and a winner of three alumni scholarships from Opera Theatre of Saint Louis’ Artists-In-Training program.

Julie Tabash Kelsheimer is a member of both the American Guild of Musical Artists and the Actors’ Equity Association, and holds Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees, as well as a certificate in musical theatre, from Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music. In addition to her performance schedule, Ms. Tabash Kelsheimer serves as an adjunct Professor of Voice at Webster University.

Get To Know Julie

How were you introduced to the Artist-in-Training program?

Julie Tabash-Kelsheimer as Glinda in Variety Children Theater’s production of The Wizard of Oz (2017)

My teacher prior to joining AIT, Rosemarie Cereghino, told me that she could hear operatic potential in my voice. She selflessly urged me to apply so I could further my education and pursue training with the teachers and coaches in AIT.

How did the AIT program shape you as a musician? As a young person?

More than anything, AIT taught me how to be a diligent musician. Having access to both a coach and a teacher taught me how to dissect language and style, how to connect to text, and how to sing with nuance. More than that, though, AIT taught me how to conduct myself with confidence. The frequent performance opportunities gave me plenty of opportunities to sing in front of an audience and to put my learned skills into practice.

How did AIT prepare you for your undergraduate experience?

I truly felt prepared to pursue a collegiate degree in vocal performance after graduating from AIT. AIT not only helped me grow vocally and artistically, but it taught me proper performance etiquette. I learned how to present myself on stage, how to confidently introduce myself and my music in a masterclass or recital setting, how to interact with an accompanist, how to properly dress for a performance, and so many other valuable lessons.

Julie Tabash-Kelsheimer as Gretel in Union Avenue Opera production of Hansel and Gretel (2017). Photo Courtesy of John Lamb.

What have been some career highlights for you thus far?

My singing career has not only given me the opportunity to explore various roles and styles of music… it has also given me the chance to see the world and meet dozens of new people who have now become friends. In 2008, I had the honor of performing in La Bohéme in Giacomo Puccini’s hometown of Lucca, Italy. In 2014, I was able to combine my love of opera and musical theatre by performing the roles of Barbarina (Le nozze di Figaro) and Liesl (The Sound of Music) in one season at Central City Opera in Colorado. This career is both personally and professionally fulfilling, and I have AIT to thank for preparing me for a career in music.

What is one of the greatest lessons you’ve learned during your training and professional career?

I have learned that a singing career is what you make of it. Others will try to tell you who you are and who you’re not in this field. Ultimately, I sing what makes me happy. I sing what challenges me. I sing texts to which I can connect. I sing because I enjoy telling a story through music and sharing that story with others. I believe that by being true to oneself, a career in music can be wonderfully fulfilling!

Do you have a favorite aria, composer, or genre to sing or to listen to?

One of my favorite arias to sing is Emily’s “Goodbye Aria” from Ned Rorem’s opera Our Town. American operas are absolutely thrilling to me, and I love delving into arias like this! Emily’s “Goodbye Aria” is relatively concise, but it gives the soprano an opportunity to explore a moving story and show off an impressive dynamic and musical range.