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.’
‘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.’