December 18, 2017
Mezzo Jamie Barton kicks off a recital tour with pianist Kathleen Kelly with her Celebrity Series Boston debut and a return to Carnegie Hall.
“A thoughtful and deeply satisfying program."
The New York Times
"Barton is a wonderful recitalist, and this was a terrific program. Barton doesn’t color text—she embodies it. Her acting is powerful but finely judged: every word is alive and specific, but never floats entirely free of real speech. By the same token, her diction is so magnificent, and her projection of it so finely calibrated to the hall, that after a while you just stop looking at the printed texts. Her final exploratory “Mmmmm,” in “Boys Lips” was an erotic education all by itself. Her “But oh, oh, insomniac moonlight,/How unhoneyed is my middle of the night,” in “The Empty Song,” found a balance of voluptuous pain and wry self-mockery that’s precisely right for a song that’s sparked by an empty shampoo-bottle. And anyone who can get seven distinct, hearty laughs out of a mere fourteen lines of text, plus applause and bravos in the middle of a group, as Barton did with “Big Sister Says,” is assuredly cooking with gas."
"I've always wondered what it would be like to swim in a pool of maple syrup – and now I know. From the minute Ms. Barton opened her mouth, she unleashed a rolling tone that poured over her audience, soaking them in the sugary, maple tones of her delicious mezzo. We were drenched – but in the way an idyllic bite of pancake is drenched."
Broadway World Opera
“The kind of singer that changes the way we think about mezzos in this century…the kind of singer who brings us back to other centuries. The voice itself is, of course, a marvel. Rich and sonorous, but also vulnerable, it seems to emerge from the depths of the lower abdomen, as though lungs could start where legs ended, with tone shooting up from the floor.”
"It’s easy to hear why Barton has become so popular, for the singer has a voice of remarkable power and depth. Barton brought lyrical grace and zeal to a wide-ranging program of songs by French, German, Austrian, and American composers. Barton’s singing is dark, yet radiant with a voice that is smooth in all registers. Given her operatic experience, particularly in Wagnerian roles, her singing also has weight and gravity. Her high notes, too, rang like a bell. But Barton’s greatest strength lies in her ability to tell stories through music. With searching intensity that found the wide emotional range of each song she sang, Barton performed as if each piece were a miniature drama. Stories, it was revealed, are best told through song."
Boston Classical Review
"Along with the extraordinary power of her voice, Barton’s luminous smile won me over before she sang a note. Barton’s radiant joy in performing was obvious. as was the special synergy she shared with her excellent pianist, Kathleen Kelly. The other surprising thing was the originality of the program, which included music very few in the audience had heard. The truth is, even without Barton’s keen musical intelligence – and that radiant voice – this song recital would have been worth hearing because of her wonderfully imaginative choice of music... I suspected I was enjoying the loveliest thing I’ll hear this holiday season."
The Arts Fuse