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18 to Watch: Julia Bullock

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© Christian Steiner
Bullock’s voice and vision are forces to be reckoned with. 

IN SEPTEMBER, soprano Julia Bullock kicked off her term as the 2018–19 Artist in Residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; next month, she performs Langston Hughes poems set to song, and in December, she leads Nativity Reconsidered, a reimagining of John Adams’s Niño.

With her transformative interpretations and richly textured voice, Bullock transcends tradition, curating a repertoire that reflects the diversity and social consciousness she values.

Though staged opera abounds on her résumé—Dame Shirley in San Francisco Opera’s world premiere of Adams’s Girls of the Golden West (2017), Kitty in Doctor Atomic, which she sang this summer for her Santa Fe Opera debut—it is in alternative work that Bullock truly shines. In 2016, she starred in the world premiere of Josephine Baker: A Portrait—renamed Perle Noire: Meditations for Joséphine—at the Ojai Music Festival, exploring the singer’s music through the lens of the Black Lives Matter movement. “Hearing her sing ‘Si j’étais blanche’ [If I were white] in 1925 is just as relevant as singing it now,” Bullock told The New York Times. This drive to give voice to stories that have been shunted aside will define much of her residency. Bullock will continue to honor black artists and activists—fitting for a singer whose own voice and vision are forces to be reckoned with. —E.G. 



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