Singer Julia Bullock Stars in Handel's 'Theodora' at Royal Opera House

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Singer Julia Bullock, who will release her Nonesuch debut solo album later this year (details to come), is starring in the title role in director Katie Mitchell's production of Handel's Theodora at the Royal Opera House in London, with Joyce DiDonato and Jakub Józef Orliński, through February 16. The production—the first of the oratorio at Covent Garden since its 1750 premiere—has earned five stars from the Financial Times, and the Times raves of the "spirited freedom fighter, powerfully depicted with fervent voice and gesture by Julia Bullock.” The Guardian describes the cast as "one of the finest ever assembled for the work," which "means that musically this is breathtaking ... one of the most beautiful things you will ever hear."

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Singer Julia Bullock, who will release her Nonesuch debut solo album later this year (details to come), is starring in the title role in director Katie Mitchell's production of Handel's Theodora at the Royal Opera House in London, with Joyce DiDonato and Jakub Józef Orliński, through February 16. The production—the first of the oratorio at Covent Garden since its 1750 premiere—has earned five stars from the Financial Times, and the Times raves of the "spirited freedom fighter, powerfully depicted with fervent voice and gesture by Julia Bullock.” The Guardian describes the cast as "one of the finest ever assembled for the work," which "means that musically this is breathtaking ... one of the most beautiful things you will ever hear."

Opera Wire's latest Artist of the Week, Bullock will star in Dutch composer, director, and librettist Michel van der Aa's new film opera Upload at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City, its North American premiere, March 22–30, and Oper Köln April 18–22. She will perform with members of San Francisco Symphony, of which she is a Collaborative Partner, at Davies Symphony Hall on May 17, giving an expanded version of History’s Persistent Voice, her original mixed-media concert program highlighting the words, work, and experiences of Black American artists. Bullock will take part in the 2022 Ojai Music Festival, June 10–12, in Ojai, California—American Modern Opera Company (AMOC), of which she is a founding member, is the 2022 festival's Music Director—and will perform at Tanglewood in Lenox, Massachusetts, in July.

Bullock will star as Cleopatra in the world premiere of John Adams's new opera Antony and Cleopatra at San Francisco Opera this September and October. She previously performed in the world premiere production of Adams's Girls of the Golden West with the company and can be heard starring in the premiere recording of his opera Doctor Atomic on Nonesuch, with the composer conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra, which was nominated for the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording.

Julia Bullock is an American classical singer who "communicates intense, authentic feeling, as if she were singing right from her soul," says Opera News. Combining versatile artistry with a probing intellect and commanding stage presence, she has headlined productions and concerts at preeminent arts institutions around the world. Bullock is also a prominent voice of social consciousness and activism. As Vanity Fair notes, she is “young, highly successful, [and] politically engaged,” with the “ability to inject each note she sings with a sense of grace and urgency, lending her performances the feel of being both of the moment and incredibly timeless.” Honored as a 2021 Artist of the Year and “agent of change” by Musical America, Bullock gave an NPR Music Tiny Desk (Home) Concert in December 2020, which you can watch below; NPR’s Tom Huizenga characterized it as “among the most transcendent musical moments I’ve experienced this year.”

Her other honors include the 2016 Sphinx Medal of Excellence, a 2015 Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellowship, the 2015 Richard F. Gold Grant from the Shoshana Foundation, Lincoln Center’s 2015 Martin E. Segal Award, First Prize at the 2014 Naumburg International Vocal Competition, and First Prize at the 2012 Young Concert Artists International Auditions. She was chosen as one of WQXR’s “19 for 19” artists to watch in 2019” and Opera News’s “18 to Watch in 2018-19”; the New York Times honored her on its “Best Classical Music” list in 2016, 2018 and 2020; and in 2018 she appeared on comparable lists in the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and Philadelphia Inquirer.

Julia Bullock was born in St. Louis, Missouri, where she joined the artist-in-training program at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis while in high school. She went on to earn her bachelor’s degree at the Eastman School of Music, her master’s degree in Bard College’s Graduate Vocal Arts Program, and her Artist Diploma at New York’s Juilliard School. It was there that she first met her husband, conductor Christian Reif, with whom she now lives in Munich.

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Julia Bullock 2021 by Allison Michael Orenstein
  • Friday, February 4, 2022
    Singer Julia Bullock Stars in Handel's 'Theodora' at Royal Opera House
    Allison Michael Orenstein

    Singer Julia Bullock, who will release her Nonesuch debut solo album later this year (details to come), is starring in the title role in director Katie Mitchell's production of Handel's Theodora at the Royal Opera House in London, with Joyce DiDonato and Jakub Józef Orliński, through February 16. The production—the first of the oratorio at Covent Garden since its 1750 premiere—has earned five stars from the Financial Times, and the Times raves of the "spirited freedom fighter, powerfully depicted with fervent voice and gesture by Julia Bullock.” The Guardian describes the cast as "one of the finest ever assembled for the work," which "means that musically this is breathtaking ... one of the most beautiful things you will ever hear."

    Opera Wire's latest Artist of the Week, Bullock will star in Dutch composer, director, and librettist Michel van der Aa's new film opera Upload at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City, its North American premiere, March 22–30, and Oper Köln April 18–22. She will perform with members of San Francisco Symphony, of which she is a Collaborative Partner, at Davies Symphony Hall on May 17, giving an expanded version of History’s Persistent Voice, her original mixed-media concert program highlighting the words, work, and experiences of Black American artists. Bullock will take part in the 2022 Ojai Music Festival, June 10–12, in Ojai, California—American Modern Opera Company (AMOC), of which she is a founding member, is the 2022 festival's Music Director—and will perform at Tanglewood in Lenox, Massachusetts, in July.

    Bullock will star as Cleopatra in the world premiere of John Adams's new opera Antony and Cleopatra at San Francisco Opera this September and October. She previously performed in the world premiere production of Adams's Girls of the Golden West with the company and can be heard starring in the premiere recording of his opera Doctor Atomic on Nonesuch, with the composer conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra, which was nominated for the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording.

    Julia Bullock is an American classical singer who "communicates intense, authentic feeling, as if she were singing right from her soul," says Opera News. Combining versatile artistry with a probing intellect and commanding stage presence, she has headlined productions and concerts at preeminent arts institutions around the world. Bullock is also a prominent voice of social consciousness and activism. As Vanity Fair notes, she is “young, highly successful, [and] politically engaged,” with the “ability to inject each note she sings with a sense of grace and urgency, lending her performances the feel of being both of the moment and incredibly timeless.” Honored as a 2021 Artist of the Year and “agent of change” by Musical America, Bullock gave an NPR Music Tiny Desk (Home) Concert in December 2020, which you can watch below; NPR’s Tom Huizenga characterized it as “among the most transcendent musical moments I’ve experienced this year.”

    Her other honors include the 2016 Sphinx Medal of Excellence, a 2015 Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellowship, the 2015 Richard F. Gold Grant from the Shoshana Foundation, Lincoln Center’s 2015 Martin E. Segal Award, First Prize at the 2014 Naumburg International Vocal Competition, and First Prize at the 2012 Young Concert Artists International Auditions. She was chosen as one of WQXR’s “19 for 19” artists to watch in 2019” and Opera News’s “18 to Watch in 2018-19”; the New York Times honored her on its “Best Classical Music” list in 2016, 2018 and 2020; and in 2018 she appeared on comparable lists in the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and Philadelphia Inquirer.

    Julia Bullock was born in St. Louis, Missouri, where she joined the artist-in-training program at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis while in high school. She went on to earn her bachelor’s degree at the Eastman School of Music, her master’s degree in Bard College’s Graduate Vocal Arts Program, and her Artist Diploma at New York’s Juilliard School. It was there that she first met her husband, conductor Christian Reif, with whom she now lives in Munich.

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