The Argentian soprano, Maria Cristina Kiehr, born to Danish descendents, received her early musical training in Argentina. She studied the violin as a child, in the city of Tandil in Argentina, but at the age of 17, she discovered her soft, amazing soprano and her love of Baroque music. The discovery led to a fast change: After only a year of singing lessons, in 1983, she went to Europe, to the leading institute in the revolution seeking authenticity in the performance of Early Music: the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, and studied under René Jacobs. Later she said: “he is the musician who has had the most influence on me”. At the same time she took courses in vocal technique with Eva Krasnai.
Maria Cristina Kiehr is an all-European artist, and Switzerland is still her home. Kiehr is married to a cellist, Orlando Theuler. From Basel, she travels to performances in many countries, with the best conductors in the field. She is incontestably one of today’s leading vocal artists in the field of Baroque music and has appeared throughout the world in concerts and recordings with celebrated conductors, like René Jacobs, Jordi Savall, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Philippe Herreweghe, Frans Brüggen, Gustav Leonhardt, Konrad Junghänel, and with orchestras and ensembles specializing in the Baroque music field, as Concerto Vocale Leipzig, La Fenice, Cantus Cölln, Ensemble Vocal Européen, Hespèrion XX (Director: Jordi Savall), Elyma, Nederlands Kamerkoor, Concerto Köln, Ensemble 415, etc.
Maria Cristina Kiehr is particularly interested in early Baroque music. She is co-founder of the ensembles “La Colombina”, “Daedalus” and “Concerto Soave”. From the start of her career, she was attracted by integration as a singer alongside other singers and musicians, within the polyphonic texture. Later she moved to a somewhat different phase, and is turning more to the solo route.
In 1988 Maria Cristina Kiehr made her opera début in Innsbruck in Cavalli’s Giasone under René Jacobs. She has also sung in L’Incoronazione di Poppea, Orontea, and Dido and Aeneas (Purcell) under René Jacobs, Dafne (Gagliano), L’Orfeo (Monteverdi) and Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria (Monteverdi) under Gabriel Garrido, as well as the title role in Dorillo in Tempe (Antonio Vivaldi) under Gilbert Bezzina and Il schiavo di sua moglie (Provenzale) under Toni Florio. Her operatic repertoire encompasses also works by Georg Philipp Telemann (Orpheus), Blow (Venus y Adonis), Glück (Orphée et Euridice), Cesti (L’Orontea), Haydn (Orlando Palladino); she has also recorded most of these works.
Maria Cristina Kiehr sang the part of Mary Magdalen in Antonio Caldara’s oratorio Maddalena ai piedi di Cristo and took part in the new recording of Monteverdi’s Vespro della Beata Vergine, both under René Jacobs, and both of which were greeted with universal acclaim.
One example of this new career path is a wonderful CD containing motets by Monteverdi, “Pianto della Madonna.” Another example is her new CD, with the same musicians, devoted to Sicilian composer Sigismondo D’India, also from the early Baroque period.