Lily Kass is an interdisciplinary scholar and educator whose work focuses on the diverse ways in which operas are reimagined, adapted, and translated to meet the needs of new audiences. She earned an A.B. in Literature from Harvard University in 2010, and a PhD in Musicology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2017.
Kass has taught for the Peabody at Homewood program since the Spring of 2018, and she began teaching at Peabody in the Fall of 2021. Kass has also taught at Temple University, the University of Pennsylvania, and West Chester University. Her courses, which include “Powerful Women in Opera,” “Mozart’s Operas,” and “Exoticism on the Musical Stage,” seek to empower students to engage with the canon of Western Classical Music through research, analysis, and critique.
Kass has presented her research nationally and internationally, on such topics as: librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte’s translation and adaptation work; the use of Italianate vocal stylings in late-18th-century performances of British patriotic songs; and the ways in which opera subtitles for productions of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte disguise the racism inherent in the opera. Her work has been published in the International Journal of Listening and in the volume Entangled Histories: Politics and Culture in 18th-Century Anglo-Italian Encounters.
Kass has been a frequent collaborator with Opera Philadelphia’s Community Initiatives department since 2014. In the Fall of 2021, Kass was named Opera Philadelphia’s first Scholar in Residence. In this role, she provides context for the works performed by the company through program notes, adult-education lectures, and educational materials for schoolchildren. She has also given pre-performance lectures for the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society and the Metropolitan Opera Guild.
Kass is a trained coloratura soprano (and graduate of the Vocal Music department of LaGuardia Arts High School in New York), and she co-founded the opera scenes program at the University of Pennsylvania, which she directed from 2014-2018. She currently serves as a Marian Anderson Scholar Artist with the National Marian Anderson Museum and Historical Society and as a member of Opera NextGen’s Advisory Board.