Mezzo-soprano Luretta Bybee is proven to be an artist of remarkable range and versatility in her performances throughout the world. she is now in demand as a dynamic and comedic singing actress. Continuing her forays into the realm of musical theatre and character acting and singing, Ms. Bybee has portrayed roles such as Madame Armfeldt in A Little Night Music with the Pine Mountain Music Festival, Little Buttercup in H.M.S. Pinafore and her role début as Golde in Fiddler on the Roof at Shreveport Opera, and Mrs. Lovett in Sondheim’s beloved horror story Sweeney Todd at Vancouver Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, and New Orleans Opera. This season, Bybee performs Ruth in Pirates of Penzance alongside her equally-acclaimed husband Greer Grimsley at San Diego Opera. In future seasons, she will appear with Dallas Opera.
Recently, Ms. Bybee appeared as Madame de la Haltière in Cendrillon with New Orleans Opera, Mary in Der fliegende Holländer with Opera Carolina and Seattle Opera, and Dame Marthe in Faust with Arizona Opera. She also recently sang as a soloist in the NYFOS Sondheim Concert at Carnegie Hall and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Seattle Symphony and San Antonio Symphony.
She made her Seattle Opera début as Princess Maria in Prokofiev’s War and Peace, in a production directed by Francesca Zambello, released on video. She returned as a house favorite as Mary in Der fliegende Holländer, Paula in Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas, Amanda in the world première of Daron Hagen’s Amelia, Klytämnestra in Elektra, Waltraute in Die Walküre, Second Norn and Waltraute cover in Götterdämmerung, and Fricka in both Das Rheingold and Die Walküre. She also appeared in Seattle Opera’s Der Ring des Nibelungen in 2005, 2009, and 2013.
Other appearances have included Herodias in Salome at the Arizona Opera, Orlando Opera, and Cleveland Opera; Ulrica in Un ballo in maschera with Opera Memphis; the title role in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia for Opéra de Montréal; and Dalila in Samson et Dalila with Memphis Opera.
International recognition came early in her career when she sang the title role in the world tour of Peter Brook’s La tragédie de Carmen. Bizet’s heroine has since figured heavily in Ms. Bybee’s career success. The Seattle Times hailed: “Luretta Bybee…is a sexy, adroit Carmen whose wealth of experience shows in every phrase and gesture.” She has performed the role for over 25 opera companies throughout the world.
Ms. Bybee’s interpretations of Rossini characters earlier in her career garnered widespread recognition and praise. In addition to her appearances as Isabella at New York City Opera, she sang the role in Cologne, Dublin and at the Festival International de Santander. She made her Frankfurt Opera début in concert performances of Tancredi and sang the role of Falliero in the American première of Rossini’s Bianca e Falliero at Florida Grand Opera. Ms. Bybee also enjoyed great success as Farnace in Mozart’s Mitridate, re di Ponto at the Wexford Festival and in Queen Elizabeth Hall in London.
The Verdi Requiem marked Ms. Bybee’s début at Carnegie Hall. She also appeared as the mezzo-soprano soloist in a Verdi Gala with the Jacksonville Symphony and sang Bernstein’s Songfest to open the season at the 92nd St. Y in New York, and again in with Seiji Ozawa at the Tanglewood Festival. Additionally, she sang Händel’s Messiah with the Colorado and Houston Symphonies. Ms. Bybee created the role of Joanna in Carly Simon’s opera Romulus Hunt in its world première in New York. The production was directed by Francesca Zambello and recorded on Angel records.
A sought-after educator, clinician, and competition judge, Professor Bybee serves on the voice faculty at Loyola University’s College of Music and Fine Arts in New Orleans.