Ciesinski, Katherine, American mezzo-soprano, sister of Kristine Ciesinski ; b. Newark, Del., Oct. 13, 1950. She studied at Temple Univ. (B.M., 1972; M.M., 1973) and at the Curtis Inst. of Music in Philadelphia (opera diploma, 1976); she won first prize in the Geneva International Competition (1976) and Grand Prize in the Paris International Competition (1977). She made her concert debut with the Philadelphia Orch. (1974) and her operatic debut as Leonora in La Favorite with the Opera Co. of Philadelphia (1975). She sang Erika in Barber’s Vanessa at the Spoleto Festival U.S.A. (1978), then gained wide recognition as Countess Geschwitz in the first U.S. production of the three-act version of Berg’s Lulu at the Santa Fe Opera (1979). In 1988 she sang in the premiere performance of Argento’s The Aspern Papers in Dallas. She made her Metropolitan Opera debut in N.Y. as Nicklausse in Les Contes d’Hoffmann in 1988. In 1993 she was engaged as Handel’s Xerxes at the Santa Fe Opera. As a concert artist, she appeared with leading orchs. in both North America and Europe; she also gave duo recitals with her sister. Among her prominent roles are Otta via in L’incoronazione di Poppea, Laura in La Gioconda, Eboli in Don Carlos, Dalila in Samson et Dolila, Charlotte in Werther, Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier, and the Composer in Ariadne auf Naxos.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire