31 January 2017

Mezzo Jamie Barton Named as the Recipient of the Metropolitan Opera's 2017 Beverly Sills Artist Award

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Jamie Barton accepting the Beverly Sills Artist Award
Photo by Jonathan Tichler/ Metropolitan Opera

THE METROPOLITAN OPERA ANNOUNCED TODAY that mezzo Jamie Barton has been named as the recipient of the company’s 2017 Beverly Sills Artist Award. 

The award, which carries a $50,000 prize—making it the largest of its kind in the United States—is annually bestowed on a young singer between the ages of 25 and 40 who has already appeared in a featured solo role at the Met. The award was created to help further the careers of its recipients by providing funding for voice lessons, vocal coaching, language lessons, related travel costs and other professional needs. 

“I am truly humbled to be receiving an award given in honor of Beverly Sills, whose lively presence helped opera shine even where classical music previously felt unreachable and elite,” Barton said in a statement issued today by the Met. “Her offstage commitment to cultivating and celebrating homegrown American artistry and her onstage collaborations with people from all walks of art – from ‘Sills and Burnett at the Met’ to ‘The Muppet Show’ and ‘The Tonight Show’—helped make opera accessible to all and addictive to many. Her ability to communicate an unfolding story with every vocal nuance continues to inspire me—it’s that kind of artistry that moves me as an audience member, and it’s the kind of storytelling I strive for in my own performances. To be not only honored by the Metropolitan Opera but also to become part of a legacy that includes such strong advocates for our art form is one of the greatest honors I can imagine.”

Barton—the twelfth recipient of the award since it was established in honor of Beverly Sills through an endowment gift by the late Agnes Varis—was a winner of the Met’s National Council Auditions in 2007, and made her company debut in 2009 as the Second Lady in Die Zauberflöte. The Rome, Georgia native has since sung a number of principal roles with the company, including Adalgisa in Norma, Giovanna Seymour in Anna Bolena, and Fenena in Verdi’s Nabucco. On February 2, Barton will make a role debut role debut as Ježibaba in Mary Zimmerman’s new Metropolitan Opera staging of Dvořák’s Rusalka

Previous recipients of the Beverly Sills Young Artist Award include baritone Nathan Gunn in 2006, mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato in 2007, tenor Matthew Polenzani in 2008, bass John Relyea in 2009, soprano Susanna Phillips in 2010, mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard in 2011, soprano Angela Meade in 2012, tenor Bryan Hymel in 2013, tenor Michael Fabiano in 2014, baritone Quinn Kelsey in 2015, and soprano Ailyn Pérez in 2016. spacer 

More information can be found at the Metropolitan Opera

Tickets to Opera News's February 14 Singers' Studio interview with Jamie Barton can be purchased here.

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