May 2023 | BBC Music Magazine
American baritone Lucia Lucas may not be the only transgender singer on today’s operatic stage, but she was among the very first to transition while maintaining what is an increasingly busy career. And she is certainly the most prominent: for some years she has been based in Germany, but her work involves major productions with the Metropolitan Opera in New York, Lyric Opera of Chicago and London’s English National Opera.
At these and other venues, audiences are by now used to seeing her play male roles on stage – including last autumn the Sacristan in Christof Loy’s production of Tosca at ENO, and at the beginning of 2023 Grech in David McVicar’s staging of Giordano’s Fedora at the Met. Managements, audiences and the singer herself all take this in their stride as no big deal. ‘I guess the whole thing that I’m always fighting against is that I’m fine playing men on stage, and my private life is my private life.’
Lucas comes from Sacramento – ‘a beautiful place,’ she tells me, ‘situated between San Francisco and Lake Tahoe’. Was her family interested in music, theatre or opera? ‘Not really. My dad’s a civil engineer and my mom is an electrical engineer, and my interest still puzzles them.’ Growing up there, she had a tough time expressing herself ‘until I got into music, partly because it allowed me to express myself without words. . . "