Jamie Barton
Mezzo-soprano

“The voice is rich, generous and vibrant, big but beautifully controlled, impeccably smooth throughout its range. It’s the sort of instrument you could listen to all day, in any sort of repertoire” (Hugo Shirley, Gramophone, 2017)

Contacts

Shirley Thomson +44 (0)20 3725 9173
Ian Stones +44 (0)20 3725 9104
Georgina Wheatley +44 (0)20 3725 9185

Biography

Recipient of the Metropolitan Opera’s 2017 Beverly Sills Artist Award and the 2015 Richard Tucker Award, and winner of the 2013 Cardiff Singer of the World Main and Song Prizes, Jamie Barton is one of the greatest talents to have emerged in recent years. Following her critically acclaimed debut in the role of Adalgisa (Norma) at the Metropolitan Opera, Jamie Barton subsequently made an equally noted debut as Fricka (Das Rheingold) for Houston Grand Opera, as well as company debuts with Oper Frankfurt as Cornelia (Giulio Cesare), the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Fenena (Nabucco) and Deutsche Oper Berlin as Eboli (Don Carlo). 

In recent seasons, Jamie has debuted with several major conductors, including Franz Welser-Möst for Britten’s Spring Symphony with The Cleveland Orchestra, Osmo Vänskä for Mahler’s Symphony No.3 with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, and Marin Alsop for Brahm’s Alto Rhapsody for her BBC Proms debut, and reunites with Alsop this season for her debut with the London Symphony Orchestra singing Bernstein’s Symphony No.1 Jeremiah

Recipient of the Metropolitan Opera’s 2017 Beverly Sills Artist Award and the 2015 Richard Tucker Award, and winner of the 2013 Cardiff Singer of the World Main and Song Prizes, Jamie Barton is one of the greatest talents to have emerged in recent years. Following her critically acclaimed debut in the role of Adalgisa (Norma) at the Metropolitan Opera, Jamie Barton subsequently made an equally noted debut as Fricka (Das Rheingold) for Houston Grand Opera, as well as company debuts with Oper Frankfurt as Cornelia (Giulio Cesare), the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Fenena (Nabucco) and Deutsche Oper Berlin as Eboli (Don Carlo). 

In recent seasons, Jamie has debuted with several major conductors, including Franz Welser-Möst for Britten’s Spring Symphony with The Cleveland Orchestra, Osmo Vänskä for Mahler’s Symphony No.3 with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, and Marin Alsop for Brahm’s Alto Rhapsody for her BBC Proms debut, and reunites with Alsop this season for her debut with the London Symphony Orchestra singing Bernstein’s Symphony No.1 Jeremiah

This season, Jamie debuts in concert at Teatro Real Madrid as Leonor (La favorite) in concert, and returns to some of the top houses in the US: Washington National Opera as Eboli, San Francisco Opera as Fricka, Waltraute and Second Norn, and both Houston Grand Opera and The Met as Adalgisa. 

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Contacts

Shirley Thomson +44 (0)20 3725 9173
Ian Stones +44 (0)20 3725 9104
Georgina Wheatley +44 (0)20 3725 9185

Reviews

“Fortunately, Norma’s emotional journey is supported by mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, in fine voice as the novice priestess Adalgisa. The women’s duets, in particular “Mira o Norma”, provide the most thrilling and memorable moments.” (Financial Times, December 2017)

“[the orchestra] made way for a terrifically impassioned Jamie Barton to sing verses from the book of Jeremiah.” (Neil Fisher, The Times, November 2017) 

“Jamie Barton, in magnificently imposing voice” (The Guardian, November 2017) 

“Fortunately, Norma’s emotional journey is supported by mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, in fine voice as the novice priestess Adalgisa. The women’s duets, in particular “Mira o Norma”, provide the most thrilling and memorable moments.” (Financial Times, December 2017)

“[the orchestra] made way for a terrifically impassioned Jamie Barton to sing verses from the book of Jeremiah.” (Neil Fisher, The Times, November 2017) 

“Jamie Barton, in magnificently imposing voice” (The Guardian, November 2017) 

“Jamie Barton, making her LSO debut, wrapped her dark, glowing mezzo around the Hebrew texts warmly, drawing a fine balance between grief and nobility.” (Bachtrack, November 2017) 

“Jamie Barton delivered the climactic Lamentation, her rich mezzo alternately oracular and caressing” (Evening Standard, November 2017)

“Leonor’s aria “O mon Fernand” roused the audience, [and] Barton achieved the high point of the night, in an interpretation full of personality, quality, variety of expression, authority in the extremes of the registers, and daring assurance.” (ABC Cultura, November 2017) 

“her voice shines most in the higher range, and in her much applauded debut at the Real – and in this particular opera – she has left an unbeatable impression.” (El País, November 2017) 

“Jamie Barton stole the show with top-notch singing and vibrant acting. Her sumptuous mezzo is based on a solid centre, with fresh colours and a beautiful, quick vibrato, crowned with powerful high notes. She does not just live off these natural gifts but she strives for technical excellence, displaying nuanced and contrasted phrasing, always coloured with  a rich palette and by exciting chest notes.  In the ecstatic “O mon Fernand” she showed how well she can control her voice with extraordinary piano singing and smooth legato.” (Bachtrack, November 2017) 

“Debuting with an already fully developed interpretation, the justly deserved standout among the cast was the American mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, who offered a magnificent Leonor. She has a big, velvety voice with an extensive range, but that’s also delicate, with an attractive timbre and impeccable placement…All this was on stupendous display in her interpretation of Leonor’s grand scena in the second act, “O mon Fernand”” (Codalario, November 2017)

“Jamie Barton was the rich-voiced Fricka” (Opera Magazine, August 2017)

“Anyone who watched Jamie Barton sail serenely to victory at 2013’s Cardiff Singer of the World competition will know what a fine signer she is. This debut recital from Delos only underlines the fact. The voice is rich, generous and vibrant, big but beautifully controlled, impeccably smooth throughout its range. It’s the sort of instrument you could listen to all day, in any sort of repertoire. She’s an intelligent, sensitive musician too, and evidently a good programme-builder, here offering Dvorak and Sibelius to complement her Mahler. It’s all extremely impressive…The disc’s highlight is the Sibelius, in which the mezzo pours her heart into grand, soaring accounts of some of the composer’s most seductive songs…This really is an exciting talent, and a terrific disc.” (Editor's Choice, Hugo Shirley, July 2017)

“Wotan’s wife Fricka is a weighty figure in the first leg of the Ring cycle, and Jamie Barton was a perfect match for the role, commanding respect with her presence alone. Barton possesses a powerful mezzo-soprano that she can fashion to fit various demands, summoning up a hard amber sound when she needed to project authority, and finding a much softer, more lyrical note in her lamentations.” (New York Classical Review, June 2017)

“In fact, Wagner’s characters all feel human here. Fricka, Wotan’s wife, sung with molten tone by Jamie Barton, isn’t the traditional harridan, but sober and wounded.” (Zachary Woolfe, York Times, June 2017) 

“Jamie Barton complemented [Eric Owens] as a solid, sensual Fricka” (Financial Times, June 2017)

“A gorgeous [recital disc] debut from the 2013 Cardiff Singer of the World. Her rich soulful mezzo draws out Mahler’s dark colours and soars in Sibelius’s snowy miniatures.” (BBC Music Magazine, June 2017)

“Jamie Barton sang opulently as the witch Jezibaba.” (Opera Magazine, April 2017)

“The real marvel of the cast was Jamie Barton, who was absolutely sensational as the sorceress Jezibaba. Her voice was a wonder in itself, a full, shady mezzo with harrowing power, and fierce fire in her chest. Of everyone in the cast, she had the most success in navigating the cartoonish aesthetic of the production, hamming it up just enough to embrace the comic elements of the role, but never forgetting its essential darkness. Barton brings tremendous presence to the stage, coupled here with a specific and deliciously wicked vocal characterization.” (New York Classical Review, February 2017)

“Barton is wickedly devious as Jezibaba.” (Huffington Post, February 2017) 

“Jamie Barton gobbled the lusty-nasty-witchy flailings of Jezibaba.” (Financial Times, February 2017)

“As the crusty witch Jezibaba, mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton dug into her lower range with some dramatically appropriate guttural effects…[but] maintained grace and musicality no matter how nasty her sentiments.” (WQXR, February 2017)

“Jamie Barton’s devilish Jezibaba was the highlight. Surrounded by half-human, half-animal henchmen, Barton brought such electric charisma that it was hard not to find affection for the wily sorceress.” (Classical Source, February 2017)

“Russell Thomas, a tenor of gorgeously burnished power, and Jamie Barton, whose mezzo pours out like lava, are luxury casting as the star-crossed lovers, Ismaele and Fenena.” (Zachary Woolfe, New York Times, December 2016)

“A mezzo-soprano from the Deep South, she has already made her mark at the Met and Covent Garden, and her Wigmore Hall debut was ecstatically acclaimed…Barton has excellent technique, evenly spanning a cavernous lower register and a gleaming top; her breath control is apparently effortless, she sings perfectly in tune. There’s something about Marilyn Horne about the silver sheen and focus of the tone, but the voice is bigger and broader than Horne’s, and more than capable of firing the big guns demanded by Verdi and Wagner. She is also a born communicator, smiley and chatty and radiating infectious pleasure in the glorious noise she makes.” (Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, October 2016)

“The mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, whose voice is majestically plush yet somehow always articulate, even conversational, made much of Elizabeth’s hurt and dignity.” (Zachary Woolfe, New York Times, July 2016)

“What a voice…a true force of nature. Her mezzo is rich, smooth, creamy, voluminous, even up and down the scale, and used with style, taste and musicality.” (Musical Toronto, July 2016)

“Glimmerglass cast it powerfully, with Jamie Barton in redoubtable vocal form” (Anne Midgette, Washington Post, July 2016)

“Making her Royal Opera debut as Nabucco’s true daughter, the American mezzo Jamie Barton uncovered a good deal more in Fenena, impressing with her warmth and richness of tone matched by a purposeful line and convincing dramatic engagement.” (Opera Magazine, George Hall, August 2016)

“But this Fenena was Cardiff Singer of the World in 2013 and the winner of last year’s Richard Tucker Award, the redoubtable Jamie Barton in her Royal Opera debut. This was luxury casting indeed, affording the extraordinary pleasure of watching and listening as, in the finale of first act, each ‘sister’ anchored opposite sides of the stage and soared over the ensemble.” (Opera Magazine, Russ McDonald, August 2016)

“Jamie Barton is a first-rate Fenena” (The Guardian, June 2016)

“The mezzo Jamie Barton (in her house debut) was strong as Adalgisa, possessing an even bigger sound than [her Norma]; that said, they worked well together and their voices blended in a particularly sonorous way.” (Opera Magazine, April 2016)

“Jamie Barton [was] mellifluous [as] Fenena. Barton’s Act 4 preghiera was arguably the most touching piece of singing all evening.” (Opera Magazine, January 2016)

“Jamie Barton was Giovanna Seymour, singing with a well-placed, resonant mezzo of notable beauty.” (Opera Magazine, December 2015)

“As Norma’s acolyte, Adalgisa, Jamie Barton made her L.A. Opera debut…providing an indelible demonstration of why the young mezzo-soprano has become the latest darling of the American opera scene. Her sound is the darkly creamy lager tha poured forth from altos of yore. Yet she displays the craft of a superior modern singer, which includes accuracy of intonation, alertness to rhythm and fine articulation.” (LA Times, November 2015)

“Mezzo-soprano Barton brought a luscious tone and caressing phrasing to the part of Adalgisa.” (Orange County Register, November 2015)

“Her voice exuded a buttery warmth and sumptuous tone.” (Seen & Heard, November 2015)

“Her Adalgisa was Jamie Barton, a mezzo with a burnished sound that was an impressive fit...it is an exciting and singular sound.” (Bachtrack, November 2015)

“[Anna Bolena] had a splendid foil and partner in the voluptuous-voiced mezzo Jamie Barton as Giovanna Seymour…their revelation scene in Act II was a thrilling high point of the evening.” (Wall Street Journal, October 2015)

“The superb mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton sings Giovanna (Jane)…[her] sumptuous voice has utterly unforced carrying power. In head-to-head exchanges with Anna, Ms. Barton’s Giovanna held her own, trading fiery phrases and bursts of skittish passagework. Yet she was even more affecting during tender moments…[where she] demonstrated how to send a long-lined Donizetti phrase wafting through the house. At 33, she seems poised for greatness.” (New York Times, September 2015)

“by the time the crucial Act II duet with Boleyn came around, [Barton raised] the emotional stakes for her and her counterpart to dizzying heights. There was urgent passion in her singing, and blooming sighs in her pleas for forgiveness, making this duet the electric highlight that it should be in every performance of this piece.” (New York Classical Review, September 2015)

“Vocal finesse shone from the Alto Rhapsody too, thanks to the wonderful American mezzo Jamie Barton. That joyfully dark, voluptuous and steady voice sucked us in from the first worried note to the last breath of emollient calm.” (The Times, September 2015)

“Her Brahms singing [at the Cardiff Singer of the World competition in 2013] marked her out as an important interpreter of his music, an impression confirmed by her Proms performance of the Alto Rhapsody…Where some interpreters ramp up the angst, Barton was notably restrained: the only moment of overt passion came, tellingly, in the heft with which she uttered the statement that “human hatred” has forced Brahms’s traveller from his path. Elsewhere, the noble beauty of the sound was breathtaking.” (The Guardian, September 2015)

“Jamie Barton, an international prizewinner of considerable renown, is dazzling as Fenena, with a showstopper Act IV aria that displayed the lyricism and agility of this remarkable voice.” (Seattle Times, August 2015)

“Jamie Barton’s passionate portrayal of Fenena [was impressive]…Her prayer in Part Four was a highlight.” (Bachtrack, August 2015)

“Internationally acclaimed recipient of the 2015 Richard Tucker Award, mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton gave an excellent performance…and stole the show.” (The Daily, August 2015)

“Jamie Barton was again a ripe-toned Fricka” (Opera Magazine, July 2015)

“peerless mezzo Jamie Barton [portrays] everything about the character of Fricka in that bathed-in-fire voice” (Houston Press, April 2015)

“With her warmth, sly sense of playfulness and a voice that just won’t quit, Barton held the audience captive…Her programme showed off many of the qualities that won her the Main and Song Prizes at the 2013 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition: velvet tone, a clear focus and huge range and, perhaps most importantly, the joy of singing…particularly compelling Dvorak’s suite of “Gypsy Songs,” which displayed Barton’s ability to switch styles and feeling without sacrificing the group’s cohesiveness; she soared ecstatically in “When my old mother taught me to sing,” bringing out the poignancy and yearning in her voice.” (Broadway World, February 2015)

“During her recital debut at Zankel Hall, she exuded immense likability and down-to-earth charm…The program, featuring songs in Spanish, French, German and Czech, as well as the world premiere of Jake Heggie’s three-song cycle “The Work at Hand,” showcased Ms. Barton’s versatility…Ms. Barton’s voluptuous voice, dusky and scintillating, with each note animated by an interplay of richly shaded overtones, was well served by the Chausson selections. Here, the languidly unfolding melodies created sufficient space for her to play with a mesmerizing array of tone colors. In “Hébé,” she was able to thin out her voice on the final word, “divin,” in a way that maintained its lustrous sheen. The broody melancholy of “Le temps des lilas” (“The Time of Lilacs”) made the most of her dark low register.” (New York Times, February 2015)

“The role of the guilt-ridden Jane Seymour offered Barton a splendid opportunity to display her plush, voluminous voice and dulcet bel canto phrasing.” (Chicago Tribune, December 2014)

“That Barton, last year’s winner of the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, was recruited for Adalgisa a mere week before the opening night (thanks to the withdrawal of another singer), made her company debut a rather heroic affair. Barton possesses a voice of ruby hue, and empathy for the limpid Bellini phrase, a chest tone she prefers not to exploit beyond the limits of good taste. When Barton traded fioriture with Radvanovsky in “Mira, o Norma”, sparks flew.” (Financial Times, October 2014)

“As the virgin priestess, "Adalgisa", mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton was a fine match for Radvanovsky. Having been brought into the production less than two weeks ago, Barton's smooth tonality and dynamic lower register was a perfect balance for the close-knit harmonies of the Act II duets, "Mira, o Norma" and "Si fino all'ore estreme". Perhaps it really was divine intervention that brought Sondra and Jamie together to San Francisco Opera and the guidance of conductor Nicola Luisotti. At the curtain call, it appeared that everyone's musical wish list had been fulfilled.” (Huffington Post, September 2014)

“She has a stunning partner in mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, who sings the role of Adalgisa, the younger priestess. If Radvanovsky's voice can be like a clarion trumpet, Barton's is like a French horn, with its mysterious sound, deep and wide -- a comfort, calling the listener home to the nest. This is her San Francisco Opera debut, and she undoubtedly will be returning, for she is a singer of calming power and grace, of confessional expression. She and Radvanovsky sang like sisters. Their lengthy Act 1 duet -- in which the priestesses discover their shared love interest, setting off a conflagration before they calm down and become BFFs once again -- was a highlight. Their tightly harmonized voices were like twin kites, flying through coloratura runs and roulades in flawless formation. Barton brought the best out of tenor Marco Berti, who sings the role of Pollione, proconsul of the occupying Roman forces. Their duet was hugely propulsive, as the lovers examined their predicament from every angle.” (Mercury News, September 2014)

“Alongside Radvanovsky and keeping pace with her at every turn was the young American mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, making a magnificent company debut as Norma's friend and unwitting romantic rival Adalgisa. Barton's recent appearances at the Metropolitan Opera in this role garnered breathless praise from all quarters, and her last-minute inclusion in the cast offered a welcome opportunity to experience her artistry in person. She didn't disappoint. Barton's gifts were evident at once - in particular a gleaming vocal tone that is evenly produced throughout a large range, and the ability to shape a vocal line with both precision and emotional urgency. And her depiction of the naive but morally upright Adalgisa was full of psychological nuance.” (San Francisco Chronicle, September 2014)

“The “Norma” selections were a reminder of Ms. Barton’s triumph in that opera at the Met last season. On Monday, as then, her focus and plummy tone were extraordinary, and she blasted both high notes and lusty deep passages.” (Zachary Woolfe, The New York Times, June 2014)

“The night belonged to Jamie Barton, recent winner of Cardiff’s Singer of the World competition, and a sensitive, attentive artist with a stunning and flexible sound. As the guilt-ridden, errant young priestess Adalgisa, Barton carved her short opening arioso and prayer with detail and genuine presence. She brought appropriate delicacy to the duet with her secret lover Pollione, and was particularly impressive in the duets with Meade, leading into “O! Rimembranza” with a hypnotic description of Adalgisa’s first glimpse of Pollione. Similarly, in the second act’s “Mira, o Norma,” Barton [offered] genuine exuberance, textual detail, and full-throated high C’s.” (New York Classical Review, October 2013)

“Jamie Barton delivered [a] tremendous performance in last night's Norma at the Met, causing some old-school pandemonium in the house. As for Barton, she is a fresh wonder of the opera world, possessing a voice of preternatural beauty and power. She has a remarkable ability to keep the vocal line afloat amid pauses for breath; she'd swell on a note, take a breath, and then resume at even greater volume, tricking the ear into thinking that the phrase had never been broken. To see these young artists reveling in their voices makes you believe unswervingly in the future of the art.” (Alex Ross, The Rest Is Noise, October 2013)

“She is 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 or Karin Branzell. Sibelius' Was it a Dream ideally demonstrated her voice's generosity and weight. The dynamic control of Je Vais Mourir from Berlioz's Les Troyens was exceptional. At the song prize final, which I watched on TV, her performance of Unbewegte Laue Luft, marked her out as one of the great Brahms interpreters of our times.” (The Guardian, June 2013).

“Small mistakes shouldn’t matter, but Barton was the only singer not to put a foot, or a note, wrong last night. The minute she opened her mouth as the fiery, melodramatic Principessa di Bouillon, love rival of Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur, you could feel not only the throb but also the quality of the velvet mezzo voice.” (The Arts Desk, June 2013)

“The mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton sang Agnese [Beatrice di Tenda]. Her warm, rich voice was well suited to the music, and she showed fire and feistiness...” (The New York Times, December 2012)

“Barton stops time through lyric transformation. She makes clear the power of music to do what is physically impossible. You can't raise the stakes much higher than she does. She transports us into an unfamiliar world of sound and spirit... Throughout the evening, Barton held us in stunned admiration.” (Berkshire Fine Arts, December 2012)

“Here was a voice that showed remarkable colour and depth from the first notes of her aria. One admired the security of range as Ms. Barton’s voice lamented the fate of her love, the vocal line descending to heartfelt emotional depths at “Hélas! est condamné!” (“Alas! My love is condemned!). (Opera Today, May 2011)

“The star of the evening was the mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, who sang five Sibelius songs with focus and passion. She rode the arching phrases of the beloved "Black Roses" and cooled her big, exciting voice for the dramatic switch from coy humor to stark disappointment in "A Girl Came Home From Meeting Her Sweetheart". It will be a pleasure to watch as Ms. Barton’s voice continues to settle and mature.” (The New York Times, January 2011)

“Jamie Barton, as Penelope, grabbed the ear with her lush, burnished mezzo and deeply communicative nuance. Despite the one-note nature of the perpetually pining character, Barton provided great tonal and expressive variety throughout the opera. Like [Dominic] Armstrong, she sounded very much like a singer with a future.” (Opera News, July 2009)

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