18 brilliant LGBTQ + opera stars you should know
The incredible performers who also light up opera stages around the world with rainbow colors.
The approaches to opera plots about gender, identities and love are as fluid as they come.
And it makes sense that stars in the opera world have the opportunity to be as diverse and representative as the characters they embody.
For Pride Month and beyond, we celebrate the people behind the lavish costumes and wave the flag of the LGBTQ + community atop the world’s most sacred opera stages.
Patricia Racette is an American soprano who made her debut in Puccini’s play Bohemian in 1996.
She is a regular at the Met, Royal Opera and San Francisco Opera, and she was released in print in 2002 with her longtime partner Beth Clayton. Racette met and moved in with Clayton in 1997, before the couple married in 2005.
âI’ve been asked a lot of questions about this, and number one was, ‘Was that scary? Racette said in a video for the Metropolitan Opera. “And it was scary for a while, but I quickly realized the price wasn’t worth paying for my relationship.”
Wife of soprano Patricia Racette (see above), Beth Clayton is a mezzo-soprano who has performed over 50 leading roles around the world. She has been a lesbian since 2002 and married Racette in 2005.
âIt was that great feeling of validation as a couple. A lot of young and struggling people came to us and asked if it really made a big difference in our lives, and we said “yes” [it has made a big difference] to be honest and to come out in more ways than just saying it in our lives, âClayton said in the same video for The Met (below).
âIt is now part of our mission to never deny who we are as individuals and who we are as a coupleâ¦ Things will change and things will get better. “
John Holiday is a countertenor who was portrayed by the Los Angeles Times as “one of the best of his generation”.
Often specializing in baroque repertoire, he is praised for his “stunning” voice and is expected to make his Met debut this year in Matthew Aucoin’s play. Eurydice. Holiday married her husband, Paul Gater, in 2013.
Adrian Angelico is a mezzo-soprano who made her Royal Opera debut in London in 2014 in John Fulljames’ Quartet, before appearing at Verdi La Traviata there in 2015.
Angelico is a trans man, who described his pride in being out. “I wanted to be the person I needed when I grew upâ¦ Someone who worked and succeeded in any way, and who also happened to be trans / Two-Spiritâ¦ Hoping my story could mean something to me. someone, âhe said.
Jamie Barton is an inspiring mezzo-soprano who has established herself as one of opera’s most exciting young artists and a role model for body positivity and sexuality.
The 2013 Cardiff Singer of the World winner describes herself as a âproudly queer opera singer in drag queens, bluegrass, social justice, equality and catsâ on her Instagram biography.
Read more: Meet Jamie Barton, “the rock star with the nose of opera”
Michael Fabiano is an American tenor who has performed on the world’s most famous opera stages, from the Met in New York to Glyndebourne.
Speaking about his sexuality, Fabiano said: âI had to hide [in my career]. Hiding is even worse than being in the closet. I was out, it’s not like I haven’t come out of the closet – all my friends and family knew who I was from a young age, but the reality is I didn’t talk about it .
Lucia Lucas is a trans woman who made history when she became the first female baritone to star in the United States, when she appeared as Don Giovanni in the opera production. of Mozart by the Tulsa Opera in 2019.
Lucas described coming out at the age of 33. “Friends said ‘what are you going to do now? Clearly, you are going to stop singing â. And my response was “Did I say that? “
âBeing able to truly be yourself and show the world who you are is invaluable,â says the baritone. âYour art will be better, the more authentic you will be. ”
Read more: Transgender baritone makes US debut in Don Giovanni
Russell Thomas is a sought-after tenor who has performed at the English National Opera and the Met, as well as in major symphony orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic and the Finnish Radio Symphony. He is known for his acclaimed interpretation of Verdi Otello.
Thomas identifies as gay, and recently released Faded away, an LGBTQ + story about âDesire, Grief, and the Search for Loveâ with John Holiday (above).
Breanna SinclairÃ© is a transgender soprano who has had an eclectic career singing a wide range of genres and settings – from the opera stage to the Walt Disney Concert Hall with the Los Angeles Gay Men’s Chorus.
SinclairÃ© made history in 2015 when she became the first trans woman to perform the national anthem at a professional sporting event, and three years later she made her debut with the San Francisco Symphony in as the first trans singer to perform with the orchestra.
David Portillo is an American tenor and proud husband of David Lawrence.
He has performed at the Met, Washington State Opera, and Bayerische Staatsoper, among other prestigious venues, and he regularly posts on his Instagram about his life with Lawrence and their dog Ruthie.
Tenor Frederick Ballentine made his New York Met debut as Sportin ‘Life in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess in 2019 and played Charlie in Daniel Schnyder’s opera, Charlie Parker’s yardbird, the same year.
âI was pulled out of the closet in high school by my best friend,â Ballentine said Washington blade. âIt was probably 2005 or 2006. Because it wasn’t my fault, my coming out was surprisingly easy. The hardest people to tell were my parents, who I spoke to four years later.
Holden Madagame is a tenor and trans activist, who sang as a mezzo-soprano before becoming trans.
“It was the first lesson I had to learn: I am not my voice,” he wrote in The independent in 2017.
He attended Glyndebourne Academy, which changed his life. “It was as if my dreams of social justice had come true: a training program for aspiring opera singers who had non-traditional career paths, with an emphasis on diversity.”
Lucus Bouk is a mezzo-soprano singer and actor turned baritone, who revealed himself publicly as a trans man in 2018.
He came out playing a new opera, Tabula rasa, which was specially composed to tell the story of his journey. The mezzo also collaborated with director Bea Goodwin to produce a solo cabaret show about her life.
Anthony Roth Costanzo
Countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo began performing at the prodigious age of 11 and since then has performed extensively on the world’s best opera stages.
A multidisciplinary artist who also has recitals, film appearances and Broadway experience under his belt, Costanzo was nominated for a Grammy for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album in 2019.
Kangmin justin kim
Kangmin Justin Kim is an American-Korean countertenor specializing in Baroque, Mozartian and contemporary repertoire.
He is also known for his drag alter ego, Kimchilia Bartoli, who is the dramatic coloratura mezzo-soprano male interpretation of the legendary mezzo Cecilia Bartoli.
Kim, who presents himself as a self-proclaimed ‘male mezzosopranist’, made his Royal Opera debut in the 2018/19 season as Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro.
Read more: What is the difference between a relative pitch and a perfect pitch?
Opera bass Andrea Mastroni began his musical career as a clarinetist before taking the stages of the Met, Teatro Real Madrid and Royal Opera House Covent Garden, to name just three famous venues.
He is known for his opera music videos and elegant style.
Nicholas Phan is a tenor who has been described by the Boston Globe as “one of the most remarkable singers in the world”.
In 2017, he spoke to Huffington Post on the importance of bringing out LGBTQ + artists and people with a public profile.
âI think it’s really important because when you’re an artist of any sort you have a public profile and therefore you’re an example to so many, many people,â he said. âI think you should be aware of this. You have a social responsibility that goes with these gifts that we have received.
Soprano Adrianne Pieczonka is widely celebrated for her interpretations of Wagner, Strauss, Verdi and Puccini.
The Canadian singer is married to mezzo-soprano Laura Tucker and they live in Toronto with their family – their child and their two cats.