Laura Beth Clayton is an American mezzo-soprano opera singer, and a native of Malvern, Arkansas.
Education and early career
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.
Clayton is a graduate of Southern Methodist University and the Manhattan School of Music, where she studied with Mignon Dunn. She has been an apprentice artist for the Santa Fe Opera and a member of the Houston Grand Opera Studio.
Awards and nominations
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. In 2008 Clayton created multiple roles (Officer/Medical Analyst/Cheevers) at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Howard Shore's opera The Fly.
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."
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." 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. Clayton and Racette were married in 2005.
- ^ 1987 Graduates of MHS
- ^ a b c Philip Gambone, Travels in a Gay Nation: Portraits of GLBTQ Americans (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2010), pp. 60-65
- ^ Imgartists.com
- ^ Palm Beach Post
- ^ "Howard Shore: The Fly — The Opera: The Cast". Los Angeles Opera. 2008. Retrieved 4 June 2008.
- ^ Pulitzer.org
- ^ Eric Myers "cover story", Opera News June 2002
- ^ Questia.com
Sat, 13 Jun 2015 20:56:15 -0700
Beth Alexander Clayton and James Franklin Wickliffe, III were united in marriage at half past five in the evening on Saturday, June 6, 2015 at Eastlan Baptist Church in Greenville, South Carolina. The ceremony was officiated by Dr. Stephen Clyborne.
Sat, 13 Jun 2015 21:24:47 -0700
Soprano Patricia Racette, who made her name with the world premiere of "Emmeline" at Santa Fe Opera in 1996, and repeated the role at New York City Opera two seasons later, was in the house with her wife, mezzo-soprano Beth Clayton. Judging by their ...
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 ...
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 ...
Tue, 21 Apr 2015 09:18:45 -0700
Pat and her partner Beth Clayton (a sensational mezzo in her own right) came to the studio. We had the studio set up exactly as it would be for the performances, with the chairs set up, the piano mic-ed and moved. (I played the piano as Craig wasn't in ...
Tue, 17 Mar 2015 13:32:11 -0700
... Alberta, Canada, Kenny and Linda Clayton of Seguin, Margaret Kerr of Burnet, James Clayton of Burnet, Charles Clayton of Denver, Colorado, Reba Sue Stewart of Burnet, Connie and Max McSpadden of Kingsland, Johnny and Beth Clayton of Batesville, ...
Windy City Times
Windy City Times
Tue, 31 Dec 2013 19:31:59 -0800
Racette and her fellow opera singer wife, mezzo-soprano Beth Clayton, have made a home together in Santa Fe, so they were bound to have a joyous response when the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled in favor of legalized gay marriage on Dec. 19, 2013.
Mon, 30 Mar 2015 09:30:00 -0700
The way it impacts upon the listener can go beyond mere sound, producing something akin to physical force. So Body Of Songs is an apt phrase. A new project curated by Gemma Cairney (Radio 1), Llywelyn Ap Myrrdin (composer) and Beth Clayton, the ...
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