American mezzo-soprano, Jamie Barton is taking the world by storm. Her charisma, honesty, and enthusiasm are captivating and irresistible! In this episode we discuss how to cope with an overwhelming schedule of performances, her methods of selecting concerts and preparation, how she deals with adrenaline and nerves, and key pieces of advice she has received along the way.
Critically acclaimed by virtually every major outlet covering classical music, American mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton is increasingly recognized for how she uses her powerful instrument offstage – lifting up women, queer people, and other marginalized communities. Her lively social media presence on Instagram and Twitter (@jbartonmezzo) serves as a hub for conversations about body positivity, diet culture, social justice issues, and LGBTQ+ rights. She is proud to volunteer with Turn The Spotlight, an organization working to identify, nurture, and empower leaders among women and people of color – and in turn, to illuminate the path to a more equitable future in the arts.
Winner of the Beverly Sills Artist Award and Richard Tucker Award, both Main and Song Prizes at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and a Grammy nominee, Ms. Barton has been described by The Guardian as “a great artist, no question, with an imperturbable steadiness of tone, and a nobility of utterance that invites comparison not so much with her contemporaries as with mid-20th century greats such as Kirsten Flagstad.”
This season, Ms. Barton is the featured performer on Last Night of the Proms at London’s Royal Albert Hall, bringing the 2019 BBC Proms festival to a close. She appears as Leonor in La favorite at Houston Grand Opera, Eboli in Don Carlo at Dallas Opera, Fricka in Die Walküre at Reykjavík Arts Festival, and Brangäne in Tristan und Isolde with Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Santa Fe Opera. Ms. Barton brings her feminist recital with pianist Kathleen Kelly to Wigmore Hall in London, Spivey Hall in Atlanta, and Herbst Theatre in San Francisco. She returns to the Metropolitan Opera for role debuts as the titular Orfeo in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice and as Elisabetta in Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda, with a Met Live in HD performance of Stuarda simulcast to cinemas in over seventy countries.
Ms. Barton’s operatic engagements have included appearances with many of the world’s most-loved opera houses. In addition to her role debut as Leonor in La favorite at Teatro Real Madrid, she has recently performed as Adalgisa (Norma) with the Metropolitan Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Los Angeles Opera, and San Francisco Opera; Fricka and Waltraute (Wagner’s Ring cycle) at Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and Washington National Opera; Azucena (Il trovatore) at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Bayerische Staatsoper, and Cincinnati Opera; Princess Eboli (Don Carlo) at Washington National Opera and Deutsche Oper Berlin; Giovanna Seymour (Anna Bolena) at Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Met; Sara (Roberto Devereux) at San Francisco Opera; Cornelia (Giulio Cesare) at Oper Frankfurt; Jezibaba (Rusalka) at San Francisco Opera and the Met; Fenena at Seattle Opera and Royal Opera House Covent Garden; and Sister Helen Prejean (Dead Man Walking) at her hometown opera company, Atlanta Opera. Future seasons include a debut at Festival d’Aix-en-Provence and returns to Dallas Opera, San Francisco Opera, Atlanta Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper, Teatro Real Madrid, and the Metropolitan Opera.
The winner of a 2014 International Opera Award and 2014 Marian Anderson Award, Ms. Barton has appeared in concert with the New York Philharmonic (Das Rheingold), Philadelphia Orchestra (Handel Messiah), London Symphony Orchestra (Bernstein Jeremiah Symphony), Toronto Symphony Orchestra (Verdi Requiem, Mahler 3rd Symphony), Oulu Symphony Orchestra (Mahler Rückert-Lieder), Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (Elgar Sea Pictures, Verdi Requiem), Baltimore Symphony (Mahler 3rd Symphony), Iceland Symphony Orchestra (Brahms Alto Rhapsody, Mahler 3rd Symphony), Royal Opera House Covent Garden (Verdi Requiem), and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra for the world premiere of Jake Heggie’s The Work at Hand.
Praised by Gramophone as having “the sort of instrument you could listen to all day, in any sort of repertoire,” Ms. Barton has appeared with Yo-Yo Ma and Emanuel Ax at Tanglewood, and in recital across the U.S. and U.K., including tours with pianists Kathleen Kelly, Bradley Moore, and James Baillieu, with appearances at Ann Arbor’s University Musical Society, Baylor Distinguished Artist Series, Carnegie Hall, Celebrity Series of Boston, Kennedy Center, Princeton University Concerts, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Royal Welsh College, San Francisco Performances, Toronto Summer Music Festival, Vocal Arts DC, and Wigmore Hall.
Winner of the 2018 BBC Music Magazine Vocal Award, Ms. Barton’s debut solo album, All Who Wander, featuring songs by Mahler, Dvorak, and Sibelius, was also shortlisted by the International Classical Music Awards and Gramophone Classical Music Awards.