Luretta Bybee

Luretta Bybee

Mezzo-soprano Luretta Bybee has proven to be an artist of remarkable range and versatility in her performances throughout the world and has now become in demand as a dynamic and comedic singing actress. Continuing her forays into the realm of musical theatre, Ms. Bybee has portrayed roles such as Madame Armfeldt in A Little Night Music with the Pine Mountain Music Festival, Little Buttercup in H.M.S. Pinafore and her role début as Golde in Fiddler on the Roof at Shreveport Opera, Ruth in Pirates of Penzance with San Diego Opera, and Mrs. Lovett in Sondheim’s beloved horror story Sweeney Todd at Vancouver Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, and New Orleans Opera. 2020 engagements were to include Bybee returning to Carnegie Hall to perform in “The Music of Carly Simon”, Emilia in Otello for Pacific Symphony, and Marcellina in La Nozze di Figaro with Maryland Lyric Opera.

Recent engagements include performing as Mary in The Flying Dutchman with Dallas Opera, “On Broadway” with the Springfield Symphony, Madame de la Haltière in Cendrillon with New Orleans Opera, Mary in Der fliegende Holländer with Opera Carolina and Seattle Opera, and Dame Marthe in Faust with Arizona Opera. She also sang as a soloist in the NYFOS Sondheim Concert at Carnegie Hall and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Seattle Symphony and San Antonio Symphony.

Calendar

Event Date
Apr 7
to
Apr 12
Otello
Emilia
Pacific Symphony
Orange County, California

Artist Bio

Mezzo-soprano Luretta Bybee has proven to be an artist of remarkable range and versatility in her performances throughout the world and has now become in demand as a dynamic and comedic singing actress. Continuing her forays into the realm of musical theatre, Ms. Bybee has portrayed roles such as Madame Armfeldt in A Little Night Music with the Pine Mountain Music Festival, Little Buttercup in H.M.S. Pinafore and her role début as Golde in Fiddler on the Roof at Shreveport Opera, Ruth in Pirates of Penzance with San Diego Opera, and Mrs. Lovett in Sondheim’s beloved horror story Sweeney Todd at Vancouver Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, and New Orleans Opera. 2020 engagements were to include Bybee returning to Carnegie Hall to perform in “The Music of Carly Simon”, Emilia in Otello for Pacific Symphony, and Marcellina in La Nozze di Figaro with Maryland Lyric Opera.

Recent engagements include performing as Mary in The Flying Dutchman with Dallas Opera, “On Broadway” with the Springfield Symphony, Madame de la Haltière in Cendrillon with New Orleans Opera, Mary in Der fliegende Holländer with Opera Carolina and Seattle Opera, and Dame Marthe in Faust with Arizona Opera. She also sang as a soloist in the NYFOS Sondheim Concert at Carnegie Hall and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Seattle Symphony and San Antonio Symphony.

She first made her Seattle Opera début as Princess Maria in Prokofiev’s War and Peace, in a production directed by Francesca Zambello, released on video. She returned as a house favorite as Paula in Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas, Amanda in the world première of Daron Hagen’s Amelia, Klytämnestra in Elektra, Mary in Der fliegende Holländer, Waltraute in Die Walküre, Second Norn and Waltraute in Götterdämmerung, and Fricka in both Das Rheingold and Die Walküre.  She has appeared in Seattle Opera’s Der Ring des Nibelungen in their cycles in 2005, 2009, and 2013. Other appearances have included Herodias in Salome at the Arizona Opera, Orlando Opera, and Cleveland Opera; Ulrica in Un ballo in maschera with Opera Memphis; the title role in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia for Opéra de Montréal; and Dalila in Samson et Dalila with Memphis Opera.

International recognition came early in her career when she sang the title role in the world tour of Peter Brook’s La tragédie de Carmen. Bizet’s heroine has since figured heavily in Ms. Bybee’s career success. The Seattle Times hailed: “Luretta Bybee…is a sexy, adroit Carmen whose wealth of experience shows in every phrase and gesture.”  She has performed the role for over 25 opera companies throughout the world.

Ms. Bybee’s interpretations of Rossini characters earlier in her career garnered widespread recognition and praise. In addition to her appearances as Isabella at New York City Opera, she sang the role in Cologne, Dublin and at the Festival International de Santander. She made her Frankfurt Opera début in concert performances of Tancredi and sang the role of Falliero in the American première of Rossini’s Bianca e Falliero at Florida Grand Opera. Ms. Bybee also enjoyed great success as Farnace in Mozart’s Mitridate, re di Ponto at the Wexford Festival and in Queen Elizabeth Hall in London.

The Verdi Requiem marked Ms. Bybee’s début at Carnegie Hall. She also appeared as the mezzo-soprano soloist in a Verdi Gala with the Jacksonville Symphony and sang Bernstein’s Songfest to open the season at the 92nd St. Y in New York, and again in with Seiji Ozawa at the Tanglewood Festival. Additionally, she sang Händel’s Messiah with the Colorado and Houston Symphonies. Ms. Bybee created the role of Joanna in Carly Simon’s opera Romulus Hunt in its world première in New York. The production was directed by Francesca Zambello and recorded on Angel records.

A sought-after educator, clinician, and competition judge, Professor Bybee serves on the voice faculty at Loyola University’s College of Music and Fine Arts in New Orleans.

 

Updated 2.16.21

Video

Excerpts from Sweeney Todd with New Orleans Opera

Press

"...brightly ornamented vocals..." – New Orleans Advocate

Sweeney Todd – “As Mrs. Lovett, mezzo-soprano Luretta Bybee (Grimsley’s wife of 30 years) is the near-perfect accomplice to his villainy, grinding up the bodies of his victims and baking them into meat pies she cheerfully sells to adoring customers. Her brightly ornamented vocals are a reflection of that joy, as well as the joy she and Sweeney share in their “By the Sea” duet.”

"...presence commanded the stage...” – Nola Defender

Cendrillon – “His despotic wife Mme. De la Haltiere, was played with brilliant authority by mezzo Luretta Bybee, whose presence commanded the stage.”

"...acted to perfection..." – Green Valley News

Faust – “Marthe Schwerlein was sung by Luretta Bybee and acted to perfection as the seductive “older” widow bent on catching Mephistopheles as her second husband.”

"...finely tuned and versatile vocal instrument..." – The Tennessean

Aida – “Bybee manages to convey love and jealousy with complete believability through her finely tuned and versatile vocal instrument. One feels greatly for her character despite Amneris’ flaws.”

"...nice comic turn..." – Seattle Times

Falstaff – “Luretta Bybee had a nice comic turn as the indispensable Dame – Quickly.”