Kira Dills-DeSurra is a vibrant American mezzo-soprano whose magnetic stage presence communicates effortless charm and authenticity. Hailed as a nuanced singer and talented comedic stage actress (San Diego Union-Tribune) Kira cultivates skills in musical improvisation and circus arts as part of her broad-ranging palate of storytelling tools.
A champion of new and rarely performed works, Dills-DeSurra has appeared in many American operas including Steal a Pencil for Me (Gerald Cohen), professional recording, The Three Feathers (Lori Laitman), Frida Kahlo and the Bravest Girl in the World (Joe Illick), After Life (Tom Cipullo), The Perfect American (Phillip Glass), and Cabildo (Amy Beach).
Most recently, Kira showcased her ‘’vocal and acting excellence’’ as the ‘’consistently hysterical’’(Marlowe’s Musings) Prince Orlofsky (Die Fledermaus) with Central City Opera. Previous roles with Central City include Zweite Dame (Die Zauberflöte), Ines (Il trovatore), cover, Mercédès (Carmen), and a soloist in Encore: A Musical Revue.
As an artist with Opera Colorado, Kira has performed Mercédès (Carmen), Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Flora (La traviata), Gertrude Stein (After Life), and Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro). She was also featured in touring productions as Stéphano (Roméo et Juliette), and Hansel (Hansel and Gretel). In 2022, Kira recorded the role of Lisette in Opera Colorado’s professional recording of Gerald Cohen’s Steal a Pencil for Me. She will return to Opera Colorado in the 22/23 Season as Lola (Cavalaria Rusticana).
With both Chicago Opera Theater and Long Beach Opera, Kira performed Vera Boronel in The Consul, Nurse and Secretary in Glass’s The Perfect American, Isolde of the White Hands in Frank Martin’s Le Vin Herbé, and Lysander (cover) in The Fairy Queen. Additional credits with Chicago Opera Theater include La Ciesca in Gianni Schicchi, Cecilio (cover) in Mozart’s Lucio Silla, and Mary in the Chicago premiere of Amy Beach’s Cabildo. Dills-DeSurra is a graduate of the Chicago Opera Theater Young Artist Program.
A gifted singing actress with a wide range of repertoire, Dills-DeSurra performed Stéphano in Roméo et Juliette (Lorin Maazel’s Castleton Festival), Diana/Giove in Diana in La Calisto with Opera NEO, Chewy in the world premiere of Hand to Mouth (First Look Sonoma), and an Actress in Sir David McVicar’s production of Elektra (Lyric Opera of Chicago). She is a founding member of Forte Chicago, an all-female opera improv troupe with whom she collaboratively created and starred in four major productions. Dills-DeSurra’s love for comedic roles began with operetta. She has performed many Gilbert and Sullivan roles including The Fairy Queen in Iolanthe, Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance, the title character in Patience, Pitti-Sing in The Mikado, Mad Margaret in Ruddigore, and Casilda in The Gondoliers. Kira also utilizes her skills in musical improvisation and circus arts as part of her storytelling.
Dills-DeSurra has won many competition and awards including National Finalist in the Classical Singer Music Vocal Competition (2017), first place in the National Association of Teachers of Singing Competition, Chicago (2016), first place in the Evanston Music Club/North Shore Musicians Club Competition (2016), Metropolitan Opera National Council St. Louis District Encouragement Award (2016), Central City Opera John Vivian Richard Award (2018), and Central City Opera Guild Award (2017).
Hailing from Petaluma, California, Dills-DeSurra earned both a Master of Music and Artist Diploma from Roosevelt University: Chicago College of Performing Arts and a Bachelor of Music from University of Southern California.