One of the most celebrated artists of her generation, mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton has burst into the international spotlight after a string of successes. She makes her LA Opera debut as Adalgisa, a role she has previously performed at the Metropolitan Opera (opposite the Norma of Angela Meade) and at San Francisco Opera (with Russell Thomas as Pollione). Here’s our Jamie Barton edition of questions.
You have won some huge awards and were named the 2013 Cardiff Singer of the World. Is it possible to say what that experience did for your career?
The Cardiff has completely changed my life! I talked to the BBC about it in June.
What do you like most about performing Adalgisa?
My favorite moment is that first duet with Norma. I come out and have the little arietta with her, frightened of telling her that I’m in love. Then we have the moment of “it’s okay,” and the friendship is there and it’s wonderful—right before it’s dashed by Pollione being a jerk. She’s a naïve young girl at first, but you really see the character develop into a woman and make a very grownup decision not to be with Pollione.
You often bring your cat, River, on the road with you. Is she a fan of your singing?
I like to think she likes coming on the road with me! She definitely leaves me be when I’m practicing. She’ll come in very curiously at the beginning of it, and once I start ramping up in volume, she sits somewhere else, out of direct earshot.
What is the best advice that anyone has ever given to you?
“Take your time.” A visiting artist at my undergrad, a Verdi soprano named Indra Thomas, advised us all to take the time to have the experiences that build an artist. That’s worked for me!
What’s on your iPod these days?
Massive Attack, St. Vincent, Beyoncé, The Weeknd, Hooverphonic, The Knife and LCD Soundsystem.
What will you do between performances in Los Angeles?
Angela Meade and I have talked about getting passes to Disneyland, and I’m looking forward to visiting Santa Monica and catching up with west coast friends.
What’s the first thing you do when you return home after performing elsewhere?
Wash my clothes. Sleep. Take off my pants and run around my house.