Back On Stage Together

Settlement alumni Kaitlyn Tierney and Brenna Markey.

Settlement alumni Kaitlyn Tierney and Brenna Markey.

As in-person audiences begin to reunite with onstage performers, a recent production during the Philadelphia Fringe Festival offered another kind of reunion: two singers, once members of the same studio at our Kardon-Northeast Branch found themselves performing in the same cast over a decade after graduation. 

“She is sounding fabulous,” says Brenna Markey of Kaitlyn Tierney. The two singers appeared opposite one another in Alcina REVAMPED at the Adrienne Theatre in Center City, which, although they hear each other sing frequently at The Victor Cafe, marked the first time they performed in the same main-stage production. 

Aside from a love of singing, the two share the enduring pride of Susan Rheingans, their teacher while at Settlement. “I remember Brenna soaring up to the high notes of a Debussy song with an easy, crystal-clear sound even when she was in high school,” Ms. Rheingans recalls. “When I told [Kaitlyn] that I thought she could sing opera, she looked at me like I was crazy. Opera isn’t usually the first genre that pops into the head of a high school singer. It turned out to be true!” 

It certainly did turn out to be true. In addition to recently completing her D.M.A. at Temple University’s Boyer College, Kaitlyn has added performances with Opera Philadelphia, the Opera Project, Asheville Lyric Opera, and the Savoy Opera Company to her resumé since studying at Settlement. Even with such a busy schedule of school, performing, and teaching, Kaitlyn has found time to add ballroom dancing to her list of hobbies over the past year. 

Brenna Markey also pursued vocal performance after leaving Ms. Rheingans’s studio at Settlement, earning a bachelor’s degree from Temple’s Boyer College. This year alone, Brenna has earned many major competition results, including placing first in the 2021 Medici International Music Competition and second in the 2021 Napolinova World Voice E-Competition.  

Alcina REVAMPED, produced by Alter Ego Chamber Opera, featured an original English translation of the 1735 George Frideric Handel opera (the original is in Italian) as well as electronic additions to the score by composer Roger Martinez. “Bradamante is a passionate and fiery character, and her driven nature is reflected in her heavily melismatic arias! It’s always exciting to play such a high-energy character, but it was particularly enjoyable in this production because my castmates were so engaging in their respective roles,” said Kaitlyn of her role in the production. 

Now that Alcina REVAMPED has finished its run of performances, Kaitlyn and Brenna are both focused on their next projects. Kaitlyn is busy preparing a performance of Jason Robert Brown’s Songs for a New World, and Brenna recently competed as a finalist in the Arturo Toscanini Competition, which was held online this year.