Artist of the week: Laquita Mitchell
On January 6, the New Orleans Opera House will present “An Homage to Josephine Baker”, an evening that will feature “Josephine” by Tom Cipullo and the world premiere of the ballet “Josephine”. Performances are sold out and part of New Orleans Opera’s mission to increase access to this art form for all New Orleans residents and to produce more operas that reflect the city’s diversity. This includes the engagement of BIPOC creatives in all aspects.
The production will feature Laquita Mitchell in the title role “Josephine” in her home debut. Mitchell previously performed the work at Opera Colorado in 2019 and hosted a digital series in 2021 that also included the famous work.
Over the years Mitchell has performed a variety of repertoires including classic gems and more modern works such as “Porgy and Bess”, “Knoxville: Summer of 1915” by Barber, “A Child of our Time” by Tippett. , Margaret Bonds and Langston Hughes “The Ballad of the Brown King” and the Grammy-nominated oratorio “Sanctuary Road” by Paul Moravec. She has also performed works by Bizet, Mozart, Verdi and Mahler.
Over the years, she has gained acclaim in North America and Europe. and has performed at the Los Angeles Opera, the San Francisco Opera, the Houston Grand Opera, the Lyric Opera in Chicago, the New York City Opera, the Washington National Opera and the Opéra Comique de Paris.
Critics raved that Mitchell has a “rich, shimmering, and important voice” and “her vocals are tender and expressive.” No doubt the New Orleans audience will be in for a treat as Mitchell will bring his powerful and expressive voice to the role of iconic Josephine Baker.
Mitchell is a recipient of the Metropolitan Opera National Council’s Grand Prix in Auditions, 2004 Sara Tucker Prize winner, and a vocal teacher at the Brooklyn College CUNY Conservatory of Music. This year, she was named a faculty member at the New School’s Mannes College of Music.
For audiences not in New Orleans for their debut, this year Mitchell will perform with the On Site Opera, Mthe emphis symphony orchestra, Brooklyn Art Song Society and Albany Pro Musica. This summer, she will headline the highly anticipated world premiere of “Omar” at the Spoleto Festival, as Julie.
For those unfamiliar with the soprano, Mitchell can be seen on the San Francisco Opera DVD of Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess” and recordings of “The Ballad of the Brown King” by Margaret Bonds and “Sanctuary. Road ”by Paul Moravec.
Here she performs a selection of songs by Strauss.
Here, she performs “La Traviata” from the Memphis Opera.
Here she performs a selection of Gounod’s “Faust”.