Press Room

Grammy winner Julia Bullock gives recitals at Minnesota’s Lakes Area Music Festival & London’s Bold Tendencies this August

(June 2024) — After making her acclaimed Metropolitan Opera debut this past spring, 2024
Grammy-winning American classical singer Julia Bullock gives two summer recitals with pianist
Bretton Brown. The first is at Minnesota’s Lakes Area Music Festival, where she is already a
firm audience favorite (Aug 9), and the second at London’s Bold Tendencies, where, as “one of
today’s smartest, most arresting vocalists in any genre” (NPR), she makes her house debut with a
thoughtfully curated program of songs by Alban Berg, Elizabeth Cotten, Marian Anderson, Kurt
Weill, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Connie Converse, Odetta, and Bob Dylan (Aug 24).

Since making her debut at Minnesota’s Lakes Area Music Festival in 2009, Bullock has returned
many times to the festival stage. In 2012, she starred in its first operatic production, and today
her association with the Brainerd festival is even closer, for this season marks the third that her
husband, conductor and pianist Christian Reif, will be its Music Director. By contrast, the Bold
Tendencies performance represents Bullock’s first at the arts nonprofit, which occupies the top
floors of a disused multistory car park in south-east London. “As a thriving, if grimy arts space,
it thrums with youthful energy,” writes the New York Times, while The Guardian notes the
venue’s success in fostering “a genuine sense of connection with the local community.”
Bullock makes her house debut with a genre-straddling program that draws on an eclectic mix of
songwriters and composers, many of whom also featured in her recital at New York’s Park Avenue
Armory last fall. This prompted the Observer to declare:

“Rarely have I attended a recital during which a singer wielded such a spellbinding array of vocal
colors, which she accessed with astonishing ease. … Bullock’s genuinely lovely and impressively
wide-ranging soprano is always used in service of her piercing intelligence.”

Among the featured singer-songwriters is Connie Converse, whose One by One may be heard on
Bullock’s solo album debut, Walking in the Dark. Released in December 2022 by Nonesuch
Records, the recording was not only recognized with both Opus Klassik and Edison Klassiek
awards, but also won the 2024 Grammy Award for Best Classical Solo Vocal.

Withdrawal from Pelléas et Mélisande at Festival d’Aix-en-Provence

Among Bullock’s previous collaborations with Brown was a 2022 recital at France’s Festival
d’Aix-en-Provence, where the singer was set to make her title role debut in next month’s
production of Pelléas et Mélisande. Unfortunately, however, she now finds herself forced to
withdraw from these engagements. She explains:

“It’s with some sadness to share that I have to withdraw from Pelléas et Mélisande at Festival d’Aix
this summer, because of a non-life-threatening illness affecting my child, and the doctor has advised
against travel while undergoing treatment. I and my family appreciate the unconditional support
and understanding expressed by Festival d’Aix and the entire creative team. This was a dream role,
in a dream production, with a dream cast. Wishing everyone on the project well.”

Recent successes in John Adams’s music: Met debut and new recording

Pulitzer Prize laureate John Adams is one of Bullock’s most important musical collaborators, and
she has recently won praise in two projects devoted to his music. April saw the release of his
opera Girls of the Golden West by Nonesuch. Captured live in concert with the composer
conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Master Chorale, the recording features Bullock as
Dame Shirley, the leading role she created and reprised for the work’s world and European
premieres. “Bullock brings wry understanding and lyrical warmth to Dame Shirley,” wrote
Gramophone magazine, naming the new release an “Editor’s Choice,” while The Guardian
welcomed it as “a definitive recording.”

It was also in April that Bullock made her Metropolitan Opera debut in the company premiere of
Adams’s opera-oratorio El Niño. Selecting the production as a NYT Critic’s Pick, the New York
Times wrote:

“Bullock was a knowing, self-assured young mother-to-be, who sang with warmth and mystery as
she wrestled with the human toll of holy purpose. Her ‘Magnificat’ was beatific.”

The Observer admired Bullock’s “power as a dramatic interpreter” and the Washington Post
noted: “The softness and vulnerability of Bullock’s voice cloaks its steely force.” Finding the
singer “vividly intense in her Met debut,” the Wall Street Journal observed: “Ms. Bullock’s
radiant, anticipatory ‘Magnificat’ in Part I was balanced in Part II by her wails and leaping
intervals in the devastating ‘Memorial de Tlatelolco.’” Broadway World agreed:

“She brought sumptuous singing to the ‘Magnificat.’ … In the “Memoria de Tlatelolco,” … she was
sensational , though she had already shown her divine vocal skills earlier in the evening.”

As Opera Wire concluded:

Bullock’s voice blossomed as she described the story of her discovery in ‘Hail Mary, Gracious!’
Her soprano radiated clarity and lush fertility. There was also a brightness of conscious
reflection all throughout her performance. It was as though Bullock’s life force became greater
than the whole of the production, drawing upon the score being kept by the body. She was a
resonating channel for all.”

To download a high-resolution photo, click here.
YouTube Channel

Julia Bullock: upcoming engagements

Aug 9
Brainerd, MN
Lakes Area Music Festival
Recital (with Bretton Brown, piano)

Aug 24
London, UK
Bold Tendencies (debut)
Recital (with Bretton Brown, piano)
Songs by Kurt WEILL, RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN, Connie CONVERSE, Alban BERG, Bob DYLAN, Elizabeth

#           #            #

© 21C Media Group, June 2024

Return to Press Room