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Rising Stars Bullock hdl 1015
© Dario Acosta

JULIA BULLOCK is a recitalist of rare talent and integrity. She delivers programs of song that can combine anything from Berio and Ravel to Montsalvatge and Jeremy Siskind’s arrangement of songs associated with Josephine Baker, the legendary French entertainer who was born in Bullock’s hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. There is nothing routine or expected or classifiable about Bullock: she is her own law.

Bullock has a surpassingly beautiful voice: her sound is full and glowing and charged with color. But there are plenty of beautiful voices at work in classical music. What sets Bullock apart from her contemporaries — and what occasions comparisons to singers of an earlier generation, such as Dawn Upshaw — is her emotional generosity. Every note Bullock sings is charged with meaning. A Bullock performance registers as a deeply personal expression of what she has observed and what she believes: like all first-class recitalists, she connects to her audience by sharing something of herself. Her growing mastery has been recognized with a number of accolades, from the first prize at the 2012 Young Concert Artists Audition to the 2014 Naumburg Prize and a 2015 Annenberg Grant.

Bullock is also an affecting opera performer — she inhabited the title role of The Cunning Little Vixen at Juilliard with purity and spirit, and her singing in Peter Sellars’s realization of The Indian Queen was breathtaking. But occasionally her innate honesty can make her seem uncomfortable with pretending to be someone else, as when she took on the title role in a fussy staging of Cendrillon at Juilliard. In 2014, the year she completed Juilliard’s artist-diploma program, she offered a disarming self-definition to OPERA NEWS: “I still feel very much in process.”

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