Julia Bullock dedicated her fourth performance during her season-long Met residency to Joséphine Baker, the celebrated black artist who left America at the dawn of the Harlem Renaissance to ascend to global superstardom in Paris. In her moving Notes on the Residency, Bullock describes Baker as “not merely an icon for women…not just an icon for black people, [but] an icon of liberty.”
Perle Noire, a “darkly captivating show” (New York Times) “brimming with grief, resilience, and fury” (San Francisco Classical Voice), highlights Bullock’s incredibly emotive vocal range. Bullock, with a voice alternately “inky [and] deep” and “chilly and hard” (New York Times), evocatively portrays the triumph and anguish of Baker’s life as a black performer in the early twentieth century. Featuring texts by poet Claudia Rankine, music recomposed by Tyshawn Sorey, and choreography by Michael Schumacher—and performed from the Met’s awe-inspiring grand staircase—this deeply personal tribute performance is an impressive highlight of Bullock’s Met residency.