My new favorite young singer – JULIA BOLLOCK
This post is in response to seeing her recital at Juilliard on May 17, 2013.
Photo by Hiroyuki Ito in New York Times Review (Feb 2012); Bullock sings Delage Four Hindu Poems with American Symphony Orchestra
A summary: Julia Bollock is a young soprano who got her undergrad at Eastman, went to Bard for her graduate degree, and just finished an extra Performance degree at Juilliard. She has won countless scholarships and done a few roles with the various institutions she went to. She seems to focus on performing contemporary music and unusual repertoire in a concert format.
Why you should LOVE her!: Julia Bollock is more than a breath of fresh air. She is a spaceship blasting her audience into space! She embraces amazing, unique, rarely performed songs, much welcome in a world of over performed arias. Bollock’s musicality and focus allow her to do ANY repertoire which suits her voice. Her dramatic intensity never falters, even when she leans over to pluck the strings inside the piano! Her amazing, natural sense of communication make Russian songs seem like they’re in English; not one person was reading the translations while she was singing because it just wasn’t necessary. All dramatic intention was as clear as day. Her diction was impeccable, although someone who actually knows Slavic languages should probably be the one to judge. Her physical presentation was also amazing, really inspiring. She’s a beautiful woman. But it’s more than that. She doesn’t try to fit into the typical play-it-safe singer look. She relied on her natural beauty, no false eyelashes here. Her jewelry was sparse and understated while most singers are encouraged to have a big, flashy piece to draw the audience’s eye. Her dress wasn’t even typical, arguably not quite professional, BUT YET IT WORKED! The audience wasn’t in their seat listening to a teeter-tottering singer sing normal repertoire with a good natural gift. They were having a conversation with a woman who could have been a fashionista walking down the street.
Why she matters in the larger sense: If you’ve watched Joyce Di Donato’s masterclass at J-yard (of course you have), she asks “What do you have to say?”. It may seem like a weird question to ask. With all the technical aspects of singing, all the networking, all the fear about job security, it can be hard to remember that the point of performing is to SAY SOMETHING. Well, this woman has something to say. She doesn’t dress like a typical singer, or sing what everyone else is singing. She is her own entity, who happens to sing. She walks out there and sings every song like she’s wearing every piece of her soul on her skin and she should walk off happy, no matter what weird vocal moments happened, because she sang something that mattered.
I really hope she gains a lot of publicity soon. Julia Bollock is a singer which should be well known for being an artist and serve as an inspiration and reminder of which parts of singing are the most important.