Photo by Kathryn Nickford
                                Kimani Troy Iba as Gherardo in Gianni Schicchi, alongside Libby Donald.

Photo by Kathryn Nickford Kimani Troy Iba as Gherardo in Gianni Schicchi, alongside Libby Donald.

Kirkland opera singer stars in Puccini comic masterpiece

Tenor Kimani Troy Iba performs as Gherardo in “Gianni Schicchi” with Vancouver’s Opera Mariposa.

Kimani Troy Iba has been singing for as long as he can remember.

He started singing in the choir at Lake Washington United Methodist Church as a small child.

“I started singing solos at church and found I really liked singing,” he said.

His passion for singing grew as he went through school at Rose Hill Middle School (then Rose Hill Junior High) and Lake Washington High School in Kirkland. With every choir and musical he participated in, he knew he wanted to pursue a career in the arts.

“I loved singing and acting,” he said.

Now, the 26-year-old is singing opera.

Iba will take center stage in an international opera production this month in Puccini’s “Gianni Schicchi” with Opera Mariposa in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The production features a diverse ensemble cast from across three continents; Iba appears in the role of Gherardo, and will also perform as a principal soloist in the Italian opera scenes presented alongside the one-act opera.

He knew he wanted to pursue opera when he was in ninth grade. It was during his music class. The teacher put on a video of an Italian opera.

“It was amazing,” he said. “It was so beautiful and I knew I wanted to be a part of it.”

To make his dream a reality, Iba studied singing at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Iba is a fast-rising young tenor who was recently awarded the top prize at the Washington region’s National Association of Teachers of Singing Competition. He has already sung this season as a soloist with companies including Seattle Opera and Lyric Opera Northwest. His role in “Gianni Schicchi” marks his Canadian role debut.

“It’s so exciting to be part of this international production,” Iba said. “‘Gianni Schicchi’ is such a terrific show, and many people consider it to be one of the funniest operas of all time. My character Gherardo is a scheming family member who will stop at nothing to inherit a fortune. It’s a great role to play —especially because I get to share the stage with so many amazing artists.”

In addition to performing as Gherardo, Iba will appear as the Duke from Verdi’s Rigoletto and Ernesto from Donizetti’s Don Pasquale during the Italian scenes in the production. He has also been invited to become an international member of Opera Mariposa’s Repertory Concert Artist Program, which presents commissioned concerts throughout the year.

Stage director, Jeanine Fynn, has worked with Opera Mariposa for about 10 years. However, this is the first production she has worked on from start to finish. This is also her third time doing “Gianni Schicchi.” Over the years, she said working on the same shows allows for her to see actors and singers mature and grow in their craft, as well as meet new talent.

“It’s always great to see the same actors and see how they’ve grown,” she said. “But it’s also great to meet new performers and giving them a chance to shine. Kimani is such a delight.”

Artistic director, Jacqueline Ko, said Iba was an obvious choice for the role.

“During auditions we heard amazing singers from all around the globe, from Italy to Israel to Istanbul. Kimani is a perfect fit not only because of his great voice, but because of his musicianship and the personality he brings to his work,” she said in a release. “‘Gianni Schicchi’ is an incredibly complex work from a musical standpoint, because it’s basically an hour-long family argument set to music. Kimani navigates the technical challenges of the opera so well that he makes it look easy.”

Iba said he’s looking forward to the opening of the production on Nov. 15.

“I’m very excited,” he said. “This is exactly what I want to do and things like this are very reaffirming of that.”

To learn more about Opera Mariposa, visit

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

Courtesy photo
                                Kirkland’s Kimani Troy Iba will star in Opera Mariposa’s production of “Gianni Schicchi” in Vancouver.

Courtesy photo Kirkland’s Kimani Troy Iba will star in Opera Mariposa’s production of “Gianni Schicchi” in Vancouver.

More in Life

Listen and Talk students playing on playground. Courtesy photo.
Specialty school coming to Kirkland

Listen and Talk is a specialized program for young children who are deaf or hard of hearing

Decorated statue at Marina Park in support of Black Lives Matter efforts. Reader submitted photo.
Ribbons for Black Lives Matter

The display at Marina Park coincides with statewide efforts of the local King County Black Lives Matter chapter.

Kirkland Wednesday Farmers Market will run every Wednesday from June 5 through September 25.
Kirkland farmers markets are ready for shoppers

Both Kirkland Wednesday Market and Juanita Friday Market are practicing social distancing during their reopenings.

TLG Motion Pictures CEO Erik Bernard and TLG founder Courtney LeMarco on a set. Photo courtesy TLG Motion Pictures.
Local production company seeking film, TV pitches from young minority creatives

The Big Pitch competition, put on by TLG Motion Pictures (“Hoarders”), started about six months ago.

Local musicians hold virtual benefit concert for mental health

The stream-a-thon supports NAMI Eastside and nonprofit Hold Your Crown

Hannah Scholes. COURTESY PHOTO
Waste reduction from home

A monthly column from Waste Management.

Medic One Foundation’s Gratitude Meals offer support to first responders, local businesses

The initiative provides hearty lunches to first responders staffing the COVID-19 testing sites as they work to test their colleagues.

UW students create Spira app to gather COVID-19 data

The app was created to screen for respiratory diseases but the teen creators shifted their focus once the COVID-19 outbreak began.

Showing their appreciation for EvergreenHealth workers

First responders from Kirkland, Bothell and Woodinville stopped by the Kirkland medical center to show their support for their colleagues.

‘Don’t assume it can’t happen to you’

Federal Way resident Evelyn Allcorn shares story of her husband’s battle with COVID-19 after he tested positive on March 28.

From left, Evan Shouse, Lauren Shouse and Ellienn Tatar stand outside their Kirkland residence. Courtesy photo
Making ends meet during the coronavirus pandemic

LWTech Foundation COVID-19 Student Emergency Fund lends a helping hand.

Savannah Lynn and Will Chadek in the Second Story Repertory of Redmond’s production of “The Fantasticks.” “The Fantasticks” had been performed three times by the organization until coronavirus concerns resulted in the cancellation of the remaining dates. Photo by Michael Brunk
How is the coronavirus affecting the arts?

Representatives from Eastside arts institutions discuss their experiences.