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Laura Beth Clayton is an American mezzo-soprano opera singer, and a native of Malvern, Arkansas.[1]

Education and early career[edit]

Clayton's father was a Methodist minister. She sang in church and then in musical productions in church camp and in high school. Her first exposure to live opera, a Little Rock production of Dido and Aeneas, made her an instant fan.[2]

Clayton is a graduate of Southern Methodist University and the Manhattan School of Music, where she studied with Mignon Dunn.[2] She has been an apprentice artist for the Santa Fe Opera and a member of the Houston Grand Opera Studio.

Awards and nominations[edit]

2007 Grammy nominated album, The Mines of Sulphur

Clayton's awards include a William Matheus Sullivan Award. She was a finalist at the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions.

In the summer of 2003, Clayton sang the role of Rosalind in the first performances of Sir Richard Rodney Bennett's opera The Mines of Sulphur in 30 years. A recording was issued on the Chandos label and nominated for a 2007 Grammy Award.[3][4] In 2008 Clayton created multiple roles (Officer/Medical Analyst/Cheevers) at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Howard Shore's opera The Fly.[5]

Critical reception[edit]

Justin Davidson, Pulitzer prize winner for criticism, said of Clayton's performance in the premiere of Deborah Drattell's Lilith at the New York State Theater in 2001: "Beth Clayton, making her debut with the company, slinked memorably through the title role, armed with a cloak of long, brown, shampoo-commercial hair, a fierce and glistening soprano and a shiny nightie."[6]

Personal life[edit]

Clayton is an out lesbian. She lives in Santa Fe and New York City with her long-time partner, opera soprano Patricia Racette. The couple met in 1997. That year they sang together in La traviata at the Santa Fe Opera. Clayton has expressed gratitude to Racette for not speaking publicly of their sexuality for several years: "My career was just getting started, and I thought, Gosh, I don't need that adjective. It felt like extra baggage just when I was establishing myself. But now I'm very proud to embrace it. It doesn't define my career by any means. It's validating. We're living our truth."[2] In June 2002, when Patricia Racette was featured on the cover of Opera News, Racette requested that the magazine include her public coming-out statement. She stated that her sexuality and long-term relationship with Clayton were a very important part of her identity as an artist. Clayton participated in the interview as well.[7] Clayton and Racette were married in 2005.[8]


  1. ^ 1987 Graduates of MHS
  2. ^ a b c Philip Gambone, Travels in a Gay Nation: Portraits of GLBTQ Americans (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2010), pp. 60-65
  3. ^ Imgartists.com
  4. ^ Palm Beach Post
  5. ^ "Howard Shore: The Fly — The Opera: The Cast". Los Angeles Opera. 2008. Retrieved 4 June 2008. 
  6. ^ Pulitzer.org
  7. ^ Eric Myers "cover story", Opera News June 2002
  8. ^ Questia.com

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beth_Clayton — Please support Wikipedia.
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Metropolitan Opera star Patricia Racette and her partner, mezzo-soprano Beth Clayton, share their coming-out story for the "It Gets Better" Project. For more...

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136 news items

Lichfield Mercury

Lichfield Mercury
Thu, 15 Jan 2015 09:26:15 -0800

Several senior Lichfield cyclists also enjoyed success at the championships, most notably Beth Clayton who picked up a silver medal in the 50+ age category. With the race doubling up with the 40+ section, Clayton also finished 12th overall in a fine ...

The Press, York

The Press, York
Tue, 06 Jan 2015 23:07:30 -0800

Moments later, Beth Clayton tapped the ball in but was ruled offside before York made the breakthrough on ten minutes when Renfrew converted from close range following an Ashlee Brack corner. Bramham went on to strike the crossbar with a great effort ...

Southwales Evening Post

Southwales Evening Post
Wed, 20 Aug 2014 00:51:19 -0700

A TEENAGER, who was physically and emotionally abused and became homeless at the age of just 14, has turned her life around with the help of her love of football. Beth Clayton (pictured) was forced to leave home at 14 and now lives in Skewen. She said: ...


Sat, 23 Aug 2014 22:30:36 -0700

Living on the streets at the age of 16, you could forgive Beth Clayton if she had wanted to give up on society. Turfed out from her family home, she was left homeless in Newport. But Beth didn't give up – and had found herself a job after taking part ...
Wall Street Journal
Thu, 25 Oct 2012 15:26:23 -0700

As an escape from this frenzied life, Ms. Racette and her partner, mezzo-soprano Beth Clayton, who also has to travel for performances, decided to spend their remaining two months each year in a home in the middle of the desert on the outskirts of ...
O-Blog-Dee-O-Blog-Da (blog)
Thu, 05 Sep 2013 12:51:15 -0700

Today, a coalition of LGBT activists received a personal statement of support from openly lesbian opera mega-couple, Patricia Racette and Beth Clayton, in support of a letter of solidarity for Russia's LGBT community as well as a vigil to be held at ...
New York Times
Tue, 25 Feb 2014 14:59:26 -0800

They did a Haydn opera about a supposed trip to the moon at the Hayden Planetarium, a rare Baroque piece featuring a decadent Roman emperor at a decadent downtown nightclub, and a Daniel Catán opera set in a poisonous garden at the Brooklyn ...

The Grand Rapids Press - MLive.com

The Grand Rapids Press - MLive.com
Wed, 01 Oct 2014 07:26:15 -0700

Across Bridge Street NW, a 65-foot-wide scroll flutters in the breeze, gently animating a menagerie of creatures lately disembarked from Noah's ark. Beth Clayton drew them on drapery material with magic marker over about a year, interrupted for about ...

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