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, 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.
In recognition of her iconic performance at the Last Night of the Proms, Ms. Barton was named 2020 Personality of the Year at the BBC Music Magazine Awards. She is also the winner of the International Opera Awards Readers’ Award, Beverly Sills Artist Award, Richard Tucker Award, and BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, for which The Guardian described her 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 fulfills a long-held dream, creating a role in the world premiere of a new opera by Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer. Based on a little-known true story of two women who infiltrated the Confederate White House during the American Civil War, Intelligence opens the 2023/24 season at Houston Grand Opera. She also brings her acclaimed interpretation of Amneris to Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Aida and performs the Gurre-Lieder in a gala concert for the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra’s 75th anniversary. Elsewhere she appears as the mezzo soloist in Mahler Symphony No. 2 with Orlando Philharmonic and that same composer’s Symphony No. 8 for an already sold-out run with Orchestre de Paris.
Ms. Barton’s 2007 win at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions launched a major international career that includes leading roles at many of the world’s most-loved opera houses. In addition to her appearances as Mère Marie in Dialogues des Carmélites and Orfeo in Orfeo ed Euridice at the Met, she has recently performed as Leonor (La favorite) at Teatro Real Madrid and Houston Grand Opera; 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 Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Bayerische Staatsoper, and Cincinnati Opera; Princess Eboli (Don Carlo) at Washington National Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, and the Met; Amneris (Aida) at Teatro Real Madrid; Giovanna Seymour (Anna Bolena) at Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Met; Brangäne (Tristan und Isolde) at Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Bayerische Staatsoper, and Santa Fe Opera, Cornelia (Giulio Cesare) at Oper Frankfurt; Julia Child (Bon Appétit!) at Houston Grand Opera and Opera Philadelphia, Jezibaba (Rusalka) at San Francisco Opera and the Met; the title role in a queer Carmen at Chicago Opera Theater; and Sister Helen Prejean (Dead Man Walking) at her hometown opera company, Atlanta Opera.
Praised by Gramophone as having “the sort of instrument you could listen to all day, in any sort of repertoire,” Ms. Barton has appeared in concert with the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, and Rotterdam Philharmonic, as well as the symphony orchestras of Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, Iceland, London, Prague, Czech Republic, Oulu, Pittsburgh, Toronto, and Valencia, Spain. She has performed 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 London’s Barbican Centre, Carnegie Hall, Celebrity Series of Boston, John F. Kennedy Center for the Arts, 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 for the International Classical Music Awards and Gramophone Classical Music Awards. Most recently, Unexpected Shadows, her critically acclaimed album with composer and pianist Jake Heggie, was nominated for a 2022 Grammy® Award for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album. Ms. Barton and Mr. Heggie’s subsequent recital tour to Frankfurt, London, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and Berkeley, California was warmly received, with the San Francisco Chronicle writing, “Barton is both a powerhouse and a whisperer. In performance, the Georgia-born artist can unleash a torrent of vocal sound that seems unconquerable in its heft and intensity — then turn on a dime and shape an intimate melodic phrase with aching subtlety. It’s an astonishing, almost otherworldly combination of gifts.”