An opera singer in gender transition

Two London events:

Oedipa collaborates with the extraordinary female baritone Lucia Lucas (Wuppertaler Bühnen, Deutsche Oper, Chicago Opera Theatre) on an evening of song in transition: from masc to femme, classical to queer and oppression to freedom. Singing Bizet, Britten, Wagner, Purcell and Adams, flirting with Sarah Vaughan and Rocky Horror, Lucia draws on her experience singing classical repertoire across the world to tell her incredible story and celebrate the fluidity and plurality of gender in opera.

Tickets here.


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  • Exactly, no comment. Whatever you say you’d be criticised so best to keep your mouth shut! No way as a soprano that I’d suddenly want to sing baritone …

    • I don’t understand this comment. There is an important difference between male-to-female transsexuals and female-to-male transsexuals, namely, that when a male transitions to female he retains his male voice, whereas when a female transitions to male she acquires a male voice. This is because the deepening of the male voice that takes place during puberty cannot be reversed. You comment does not make sense because Lucia Lucas has not changed voice type. She has reassigned (if that is now the correct term) her gender, but has continued to sing as a baritone. To achieve a valid comparison you would have to imagine undergoing gender reassignment to become male while retaining a soprano voice (which would not be possible).

    • You don’t think that fluidity and plurality of gender exists in opera? What about Der Rosenkavalier, where a woman sings the role of a man who for part of the opera is disguised as a woman? Or Partenope, in which Arsace and Armindo are men who may be sung by men or women, and Rosmira is a woman sung by a woman, but disguised as a man during most of the opera?

    • Methinks Holly means ‘dysmorphia’, a misperception of the characteristics of one’s body, as occurs in anorexia, not ‘dysphoria’, which is purely a mood disorder, e.g., depression, agitation, etc. There is no such thing as “body dysphoria”. But even if she’d got the term correct, she’d still be wrong.

    • No doubt. Sometimes people have to make choices that are in their best interests, not just in the best interests of their career.

      • bring my apologies Mr.Davidson, I’m not a big expert in trans/gender transitions ( or, remembering my personally adorable Opera Chickie, whatevs) …. don’t put smile here taking into account your subtle feelings ….
        P.S. there is no good in any surgeries , just my opinion, of course ….

  • A very interesting interview (from nearly 2 years ago). She actually addresses the issues raised by the most dismissive commenters on this thread (so far), Holly and Una.

    “Hormones cannot raise the pitch of a trans woman’s voice. I think many trans women would hope that it would raise their voices, including me, but sadly it does not. So the idea was born that maybe I could be a female baritone.

    Kothner, Monterone, Bitterolf etc. were blueprints for my future. Now they are simply roles I play for the evening. I can actually enjoy playing a man onstage now that I don’t have to play one in real life.

  • Well in my next life I am most definitely coming back as a helden tenor. There are far too many sopranos!

  • A note from the show’s producer:

    You may be interested to know that the set list for these performances includes

    – Votre Toast (Bizet)
    – Batter My Heart (Adams)
    – Die Frist ist Um (Wagner)
    – Perfidi!… Pietà, rispetto, amore (Verdi)
    – Credo in un Dio crudel (Verdi)

    Lucia has been performing opera her entire adult life, having sung nearly 500 performances over the last 10 years, including 8 years spent as a fest artist in Germany. Opera fans will be aware of the level of technical and expressive skill required to tackle the programme above, which Lucia combines with a further five pieces in the hour-long show.

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