(Credit: Joe Ritter, courtesy of Utopia Opera)
This week Iain Bell and Mark Campbell’s new opera “Stonewall” makes its world premiere at the New York City Opera, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Riots at the Stonewall Inn. The opera has a particular significance as it will continue the New York City Opera’s annual pride initiative by showcasing operas with LGBT themes. Bell and Campbell’s opera is of particular note as it is the first major opera ever to be composed for a Transgender singer. That singer is Liz Bouk.
Bouk will make his New York City Opera debut, his highest-profile assignment to date. He will play a trans woman, Sarah, who visits the bar to mark “her first birthday of being herself.” As a transgender man, Bouk has already made history being the first transgender performer to sing the well-known chamber opera “As One” with Alamo City Opera. He received rave reviews and with “Stonewall,” his profile will continue to rise as the work is one of the most anticipated operas of the year.
As he is noted in a recent interview with the New Yorker, “I still am very comfortable playing female roles, because I pretended to be a woman for 30 years of my life. So onstage I’m happy to put on a dress and makeup. I specialize in playing women who are trapped by society, like Lucretia.”
And if audiences are unable to catch the mezzo-soprano in “Stonewall,” he will reprise his role as “Hannah after” in “As One” at Wow Cafe Theater and will also be part of the world premiere of “Princess Madeline” with Dell’Arte Ensemble.
While Liz does not have any commercial recordings he has many clips from various operas he has performed.
Here he is in the world premiere of “Tabula Rasa.”
And here he is in “The Rape of Lucretia.”