Adalgisa in NORMA

San Francisco Opera

"Barton’s debut was in all respects a heroic and heartening affair. She introduced a voice of ruby hue, with an instinctive feel for the limpid Bellini phrase and an ample chest tone employed with discretion and taste. A sweet innocence guided her acting, but the requisite sparks flew during the 'Mira, O Norma' duet, where she matched Radvanovsky thrill for thrill."
–Allan Ulrich, Opera Magazine

"Barton is a phenom, with a plush-textured, burnished, focused sound that feels seamless from the bottom to the extended top of her range. The qualities of her voice and her stage demeanor conveyed the innocence of the character and her anguish when she found herself in deep water dramatically. She has the full tool kit for bel canto, including precise but smoothly articulated coloratura made apparent in her opening aria, “Va crudele,” and in her duets with Radvanosky, especially the exquisite “Mira, o Norma” in Act II."
–Harvey Steiman, Seen and Heard International

"Radvanovsky has a stunning partner in mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, who sings the role of Adalgisa, the younger priestess. If Radvanovsky's voice can be like a clarion trumpet, Barton's is like a French horn, with its mysterious sound, deep and wide -- a comfort, calling the listener home to the nest. This is her San Francisco Opera debut, and she undoubtedly will be returning, for she is a singer of calming power and grace, of confessional expression. She and Radvanovsky sang like sisters. Their lengthy Act 1 duet -- in which the priestesses discover their shared love interest, setting off a conflagration before they calm down and become BFFs once again -- was a highlight. Their tightly harmonized voices were like twin kites, flying through coloratura runs and roulades in flawless formation."
–Richard Scheinin, San Jose Mercury News

"Soprano Jamie Barton took on the challenges of Adalgisa. This young artist, already well credentialed in this role, made a coherent dramatic and vocal contrast to the mature presence of Mme. Radvanosky. She brought appropriate virginal voice and presence that validates the casting of a young artist for artistic reasons (in this case like the original 1832 production) rather than for pecuniary reasons. Mlle. Barton displayed a technique well able to cope with Bellini..."
–Michael Milenski, Opera Today

"The voice is rich, flexible, and fully equal to Adalgisa’s trips into the stratosphere. Barton deploys it with drama and musicality and was especially winning in the second act’s long duet with Norma."
–Greg Freed, Parterre Box

"No holds were barred but many bars were held, and held, when soprano Sondra Radvanovsky met mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton in the San Francisco Opera’s new production of Bellini’s 1831 masterpiece. The vocal thrills were of the sort that make opera fans for life. ... That Barton, last year’s winner of the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, was recruited for Adalgisa a mere week before the opening night, made her company debut a rather heroic affair. Barton possesses a voice of ruby hue, and empathy for the limpid Bellini phrase, a chest tone she prefers not to exploit beyond the limits of good taste. When Barton traded fioriture with Radvanovksy in “Mira, o Norma”, sparks flew."
–Allan Ulrich, Financial Times

"American mezzo soprano Jamie Barton made a sensational debut here as Adalgisa, exhibiting a dark timbre that remained vibrant over an extended range."
–James Roy MacBean, Berkeley Daily Planet

"In a major local debut, Jamie Barton sang Adalgisa, Norma's protégée and rival for Pollione's affections, as well as anyone I have heard anyone I have heard since Marilyn Horne in 1982."
–David Littlejohn, Wall Street Journal

"The role of Norma’s romantic rival was taken by Jamie Barton, and the young mezzo of the moment made a spectacular company debut. The Cardiff Singer of the World winner showed once again that she is the real thing. A poised and sensitive actress, she deployed her plush, wide-ranging mezzo with infinite ease of production, soaring in her duets and ranging from deep chest tones up to surprising high notes on top. Barton was always credible dramatically, even in the most absurd moments."
–Lawrence A. Johnson, The Classical Review

"As the virgin priestess, "Adalgisa", mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton was a fine match for Radvanovsky. Barton's smooth tonality and dynamic lower register was a perfect balance for the close-knit harmonies of the Act II duets, "Mira, o Norma" and "Si fino all'ore estreme". At the curtain call, it appeared that everyone's musical wish list had been fulfilled."
–Sean Martinfield, Huffington Post

"Barton's mezzo soprano exhibited a brightness and fluid flexibility throughout its range, achieving a range of colors without ever turning dusky. She more than held her own in her two big duets with Radvanovsky, especially the famous "Mira, o Norma"."
–Jeffrey S. McMillan, Bachtrack

"The SFO debut of Jamie Barton, whose Adalgisa at the Met was already well-reviewed, triumphed with her display of pure and thrilling singing. She matched beautifully with star soprano Sondra Radvanovsky in what amounted to the closest we have come in years to a golden-age pairing of divas in Norma."
–Philip Campbell, The Bay Area Reporter

"Radvanovsky’s admirable achievement was well supported by the Adalgisa of mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton. In her company debut, Barton introduced an alluring instrument...she partnered the soprano beautifully, particularly in their great Act II confrontation."
–Georgia Rowe, Opera News

"American mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton was Radvanovsky's able partner as the druid novice Adalgisa. Barton's bright, flexible tone and overall control mark her as a young artist to watch. The difference in timbre between Radvanovsky's resonant, rich soprano and Barton's refulgent instrument moving along in harmony made their duets, especially "Mira, O Norma," among the evening's highlights."
–Jeffery S. McMillan, Musical America

"Alongside Radvanovsky and keeping pace with her at every turn was the young American mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, making a magnificent company debut as Norma's friend and unwitting romantic rival Adalgisa. Barton's recent appearances at the Metropolitan Opera in this role garnered breathless praise from all quarters, and her last-minute inclusion in the cast offered a welcome opportunity to experience her artistry in person. She didn't disappoint. Barton's gifts were evident at once – in particular a gleaming vocal tone that is evenly produced throughout a large range, and the ability to shape a vocal line with both precision and emotional urgency. And her depiction of the naive but morally upright Adalgisa was full of psychological nuance."
–Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle


Beth Stewart