September 27, 2015
Jamie Barton returns to the Metropolitan Opera, bringing her celebrated Giovanna Seymour in Anna Bolena to the Met stage, alongside American soprano Sondra Radvanovsky as Anne Boleyn and Russian bass Ildar Abdrazakov as King Henry VIII. Barton is earning raves for her "glorious, plush, soaring voice" (Broadway World Opera) and "luminous tone." (The New Yorker)
Performances continue through January 9, 2016; tickets can be purchased through the Met website.
"The superb mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton sings Giovanna (Jane), Anna’s disloyal lady-in-waiting, who has succumbed to the desires of the king. Ms. Barton’s sumptuous voice has utterly unforced carrying power. In head-to-head exchanges with Anna, Ms. Barton’s Giovanna held her own, trading fiery phrases and bursts of skittish passagework. Yet she was even more affecting during tender moments, when Giovanna despairs for having betrayed Anna and become the king’s mistress. In such passages Ms. Barton demonstrated how to send a long-lined Donizetti phrase wafting through the house. At 33, she seems poised for greatness."
The New York Times
"Radvanovsky had a splendid foil and partner in the voluptuous-voiced mezzo Jamie Barton as Giovanna Seymour, her rival for the king’s affections: Their revelation scene in Act II was a thrilling high point of the evening."
The Wall Street Journal
"Jamie Barton hit her stride in the crucial Act II duet with Boleyn, raising the emotional stakes for her and her counterpart to dizzying heights. There was urgent passion in her singing, and blooming sighs in her pleas for forgiveness, making this duet the electric highlight that it should be in every performance of this piece."
The Classical Review
"Singing the role of Anna’s rival is mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton. Barton not only applies a rhythmic mastery to her vocally arduous passages, she also intertwines them with a pathos this production does not often yield. Her dark, cavernous gravity across the low notes serves her well as Jane expresses the full horror of her actions. She replenishes her short contralto passages, such as ‘la mia sorta è fissa’, with both black guilt and resignation to destiny."
"Jamie Barton is another of the day’s career-defining performances. In another production delight, the vocally beautiful young American mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton brings her own impressive set of acting chops to Jane Seymour. Barton won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2007, and at 33 brings a youthful abandon to her dark, rich, sonorous sound. Barton’s first act 'Ella di me solicit' is sung with superb bel canto technique, a pleasure that both sopranos offer in abundance. Fantastic singing throughout, absolutely. At times sublime. But it is the rich character work by each of the actors at the center of the love triangle, the strong dramatic choices and the clarity of scene that they bring to their performance that takes this production from very good to absolutely thrilling."
"Mezzo Jamie Barton has been accorded deserved praise as Adalgisa and now as Giovanna Seymour in Anna Bolena. Barton is the 2015 Richard Tucker Award winner and will be heard at the Nov.1 gala. Only in her mid-30s, Barton’s the real deal, potentially a singer for the ages."
"Barton's sympathetic portrayal of Seymour shows her to be as much of a victim of Henry's quest for power as Anna and she had the audience from the moment she opened her mouth. She shows no signs of effort, with her glorious, soaring, plush voice, as she showed in 'Ah! pensate che rivolti'."
Broadway World Opera
"Abdrazakov sings the king with thuggish authority, and Jamie Barton is in sumptuous voice as his new paramour, Giovanna (Jane) Seymour."
The New Yorker
"Mezzo Jamie Barton, in the role of Henry’s scheming third wife-to-be Jane (Giovanna) Seymour, undertook her schemes with a purring mezzo that drew out all the part’s ruthless drive."
"Jamie Barton introduced a big, lush mezzo soprano and easy temperament as Giovanna Seymour."
"Jamie Barton was Giovanna Seymour, singing with a well-placed, resonant mezzo of notable beauty."
"In a house as big as the Met, 'Anna Bolena' is often cast with heavier, less idiomatic voices; plush lyric lines fare better than florid runs. Radvanovsky and Barton both sang with stamina, intelligence, and style. Barton, who played Jane Seymour, is a once in a generation talent who can sing Purcell and Wagner with equal authority. But agile music shortchanges her: you want to hear that luminous tone extend through the bar."
The New Yorker
"As her rival Jane Seymour, mezzo Jamie Barton revealed superb bel canto style, her singing ideally balanced between pinpoint control and runaway passion."
New York Observer
"The rest of the cast provided bel canto singing of the highest level. Mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton’s voice—an instrument of singular beauty and amplitude—transcends an amiable stage persona that is at odds with suffering or tormented characters (as 2013’s Adalgisa, for example). In Donizetti’s opera, Giovanna (Queen Anne’s lady-in-waiting Jane Seymour) is the reluctant focus of the king’s attention. In the great Act II confrontation in which Anna figures this out, Barton conveyed Giovanna’s guilt and anguish with touching sincerity and glorious sound."
"With the splendid mezzo Jamie Barton singing the role of Jane (or Giovanna) Seymour, this is an Anna Bolena that captures all the passion of one of history's most momentous love triangles. Ravanovsky's and Barton's thrilling second act duet, which begins with Anna's prayer and in which Anna learns that Giovanna is the king's new love interest, is of such raw emotional power and so magnificently sung, one is willing to forgive any historical liberties. Barton, singing only her third role at the Met has a soaring voice of crystal clarity and one hopes to hear more from her."