Pulitzer Prize-winning composer-conductor John Adams is one of Bullock’s most important musical associates. It was she who created the role of Dame Shirley in his opera Girls of the Golden West and sang the role of Kitty Oppenheimer under his baton on the Grammy-nominated 2018 recording of his opera Doctor Atomic. In a note for Nonesuch Records’ 2022 release of his collected works, she explains:

“I’ve probably spent more hours of my life pouring over, analyzing, internalizing, and figuring out how to deliver his material than I have on any other composer’s music. I’m a fan of John Adams. I’m a fan of the scope of human experience his music has the capacity to hold. He’s one of the greats.”

Bullock first fell in love with Adams’s music through his Christmas opera-oratorio, El Niño. Interweaving sacred and secular texts in English, Spanish and Latin, from biblical times to the present day, El Niño considers the Nativity story from Mary’s perspective and explores, in Adams’s words, “what is meant by a miracle.” Bullock says: “This work was centered around the fragility of human existence, not human accomplishment. It centered on women, children, and life.” When she featured an aria from the work on her solo album debut, 2022’s Walking in the DarkBBC Music magazine marveled:

“Bullock’s blazing performance of John Adams’s ‘Memorial de Tlatelolco’, a fiendish aria from his opera-oratorio El Niño, showcases her exceptional technical and expressive range.”

Next spring, the singer makes her Metropolitan Opera debut in the work’s company premiere. Directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz, the Tony-nominated resident director of Lincoln Center Theater, El Niño’s fully staged new production will co-star Davóne Tines, the bass-baritone who, like Bullock herself, “is changing what it means to be a classical singer” (New Yorker). Two mezzo-sopranos – two-time Grammy winner J’Nai Bridges and Cardiff Singer of the World finalist Daniela Mack – will take turns to complete the trio of principals, with MacArthur award-winner Marin Alsop conducting from the pit (April 23–May 17).