Kallen Esperian (foto YouTube) was in 1985 de winnares van de Pavarotti-wedstrijd, die hem daardoor mocht flankeren voor zijn optreden in het Antwerpse Sportpaleis op 16 december 1995. Volgens sommigen was ze (b.v. in “O soave fanciulla”) beter dan hijzelf.
After earning her degree at the University of Illinois, where she was born, Kallen Esperian made her debut in Philadelphia as Mimi in La Bohème in 1986 and subsequently appeared in the film, Distant Harmony while in China with Pavarotti. Since then she has sung at most of the world’s important opera houses, specialising in Italian opera, particularly in Verdi roles.
In 1991, she partnered Pavarotti in Verdi’s Luisa Miller at the Met and in 1993, she appeared in the Met Gala celebrating the 25th anniversary of Pavarotti and Plácido Domingo at the house. She sang Desdemona to Pavarotti’s Otello and Leonora in Il Trovatore with Pavarotti and Domingo both singing Manrico.
She also sang Cio Cio San in Madama Butterfly in 2004, a role she first performed for the Nederlandse Opera in Amsterdam in 2002. In 2004 and 2005 Esperian sang Cio Cio San with the Metropolitan Opera of New York in the fall and winter season’s performances of Madama Butterfly.
In 2007, Kallen recorded a CD of rock and jazz classics, which includes a cover of “Immigrant Song” by Led Zeppelin. She also recorded vocals for two songs on the album Aristocrunk, with Memphis rappers Lord T & Eloise. (Wikipedia)