Lucia Lucas sings, and the world is changed instantly and forever. You will be changed as well from the experience. Lucia is the first trans woman, in the U.S., to star as the lead in Don Giovanni, presented at the Tulsa Opera. This extraordinary history-making event and the journey to get there is brilliantly chronicled in director James Kicklighter’s film The Sound of Identity.
You will need a minute to process what you see and hear: Lucia is a woman, presents as a woman, but sings in a deep, projected baritone. Forgive yourself if you find this shocking and subversive to your sensibilities. It is. The cognitive dissonance you’ll feel is a delightful, positive kind of disturbance. Once you recover from the sound you hear coming from Lucia, hang in there, and work on the understanding that what’s going on is an amazing and innovative moment. Give yourself the time to digest and appreciate the performance.
“She carries the power of Giovanni in her approach to the world.”
The media has taken notice and pointed out the impact of Lucia being cast as Giovanni. The New York Times says, “…as her booming, powerful baritone ricocheted off the walls, Ms. Lucas, 38, became the (Don Giovanni) character…” The Guardian calls Ms. Lucas “a rising star,” while the San Francisco Chronicle says while she “boasts a robust, flexible baritone… these (the) roles open up new dramatic vistas.”
Once you get accustomed to the notion of a woman, singing in a room, with a sweeping and foundation-shaking voice, that you’ve always thought of as male, then you can relax into the story of how Tulsa Opera director and composer Tobias Picker orchestrated this moment intentionally. See, he asked Lucia Lucas to come and perform.
"…put aside your initial startled reaction at a trans woman who can shake the pillars of heaven..."