Queerguru first came across the international baritone Opera singer Lucia Lucas two years ago after viewing The Sound Of Identity one of the most uplifting LGBTQ+ documentaries we had seen for a very long time. It’s the story of how Tobias Picker a remarkable queer composer and also a forward-thinking Artistic Director of Tulsa Opera House, decided to mount a production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. It was he who decided to cast Lucia Lucas for the lead role purely on her talent but he was more than aware of the risks of casting an openly transgender woman.
From the very first scene of James Kicklighter’s film (which went on to win countless awards), it is impossible not to warm to the disarmingly charming Lucas. Besides her powerful voice that literally sends shivers down your back, both her quiet confidence and her sheer natural generosity of spirit, leave you slightly in awe. Lucas insists that there is more to her than being trans, and that is reflected in how Kicklighter filmed her story.
Fast forward to the present time and Lucas has very successfully made both her NY Metropolitan Opera debut and her London Coliseum debut and she is back working with Picker. With his husband Aryeh Lev Stollman, Picker has composed a new opera LiLI Elbe about the Danish painter and trans woman who was among the early recipients of gender-affirming surgery. Already her story has been the subject of a film ……The Danish Girl .…. when LiLI was played by a cisgender male, however, the opera was written specifically for Lucas giving it so much more authenticity.
LiLI Elba the Opera has just enjoyed its World Premiere at Theater St Gallen in Switzerland to rave reviews and has more performances this month. We seized the opportunity to reach out to her while she had a few days off to catch.