Mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton wins BBC Music Magazine Personality of the Year
Following her iconic performance at the 2019 Last Night of the Proms, singer Jamie Barton is celebrated for her advocacy for diversity and representation as well as her superb appearances onstage
The winners of the 2020 BBC Music Magazine Awards have been announced online today.
This year’s BBC Music Magazine Personality of the Year has gone to American mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, who has had a triumphant year, appearing at the Last Night of the Proms and making her title role debut and first ‘trouser role’ as Orfeo in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice at the Metropolitan Opera.
She has been a force for change in the opera world, promoting equality, diversity and representation, and speaking out on issues of weight diversity and bi visibility on the opera and recital stages.
‘I truly believe that people want to see their stories told’, Barton tells BBC Music Magazine. ‘They want to see themselves represented on stage. That is why I’m personally an advocate of on-stage body diversity, racial diversity, ability diversity. There’s a good reason why we are living in the age of Lizzo.’
Performing at the Last Night of the Proms in 2019, she brandished a large LGBT flag during the annual performance of Rule, Brittania!, while wearing a dress with the colours of bisexual pride.
‘To this day I still get emails, Tweets and messages on Instagram from people who are queer and say they don’t feel like they have a place’, Barton tells BBC Music Magazine. ‘If me showing up with a beautiful flag and waving it in front of a cheering audience can [help] someone, then I’m going to keep doing it.’
Barton is a previous winner of the BBC Music Magazine Vocal Award, which she won in 2018 for her debut recital album.
Freya Parr is BBC Music Magazine's Digital Editor and Staff Writer. She has also written for titles including the Guardian, Circus Journal, Frankie and Suitcase Magazine, and runs The Noiseletter, a fortnightly arts and culture publication. Freya's main areas of interest and research lie in 20th-century and contemporary music.