Angela has just been named Artist of the Year by the Washington National Opera (WNO). The May 13 announcement comes on the heels of the soprano’s triumphant company debut, in which she “thrilled WNO devotees with her nearly mind-blowing mastery of Bellini’s most challenging music” (Washington Times) in the title role of Norma. Previous recipients of the Artist of the Year award, which carries a $5,000 cash prize, include mezzo-sopranos Frederica von Stade and Denyce Graves, tenor Jerry Hadley, and conductor John Mauceri.
“I’m so honored to be chosen as Washington National Opera’s Artist of the Year and I appreciate their generosity with this award,” Meade responded when she heard the news. “I had such a wonderful time in Washington, DC this winter, and performing the role of Norma for the first time in a staged production was thrilling for me.”
“It was a privilege for the entire company to work with Angela as she performed her first staged performances of Norma,” said WNO Artistic Director Francesca Zambello. “Our audiences were riveted and thrilled by her fearless delivery, and many people told me they came back for multiple performances. As Angela garners worldwide acclaim for this role in the coming seasons, we will remain proud that she debuted it here in Washington.”
This coming October, the soprano – who is also the winner of the 2012 Beverly Sills Artist Award and 2011 Richard Tucker Award – will reprise Bellini’s heroine at the Metropolitan Opera. In the meantime, she looks forward to appearances as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni at Cincinnati Opera (June 13 & 15) and to her return to the Caramoor International Music Festival to celebrate the Verdi bicentennial. Besides performing the Italian composer’s Ave Maria, volgarizzata da Dante with string quartet (June 27), Meade will headline a semi-staged performance of Les vêpres siciliennes in the original French, with Will Crutchfield and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s (July 6).
In March Angela enjoyed a runaway success in her first full staging of the opera Norma at Washington National Opera, where she “thrilled WNO devotees with her nearly mind-blowing mastery of Bellini’s most challenging music” (Washington Times). “Of the four Normas I’ve heard live in the last ten years, Angela Meade is by far the best,” declared Anne Midgette in the Washington Post. The Associated Press agreed, finding that even in “perhaps the most daunting role in the bel canto repertoire,” Meade’s “vocal range and technique [were] awesome, especially when she’s spinning out a ravishing high note.” DC Theatre Scene noted, “People in the opera world travel miles to hear a voice like Angela Meade’s. … Spectacular,” while the Baltimore Sun stated, “Meade was clearly born to sing the role of the Druid priestess.” The Huffington Post concluded, “Angela Meade ruled the stage as Norma. … It’s no wonder she’s often compared to those iconic divas, Sutherland and Caballé, who excelled at bel canto.”
Following her sold-out recital debut at Washington’s Kennedy Center last November, Angela Meade returns to the venue to headline her first fully-staged Norma in a new Washington National Opera production from Anne Bogart (March 9–24). In concert, the young soprano has already been hailed as “a brilliant new interpreter of Norma” (New York Post), whose “stunning Norma was the big news” (New York Times) of the 2010 Caramoor International Music Festival. For her return to Caramoor this summer, Meade – a “true Verdian spinto” (Opera News) – graces Verdi’s Les vêpres siciliennes, while his I Lombardi is the vehicle for her upcoming Lincoln Center performance with the Opera Orchestra of New York (April 8). Appearances as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni at Cincinnati Opera (June 13 & 15) and as soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Pittsburgh Symphony under Manfred Honeck (April 26–28) round out the soprano’s spring and early summer line-up.
Angela will sing the role of Leonora in the January 12 matinee of Verdi’s Il Trovatore, replacing Patricia Recette, who is ill. The performance will be broadcast worldwide over the Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera Radio Network and it is Angela’s first staged production of Il Trovatore. As scheduled, Angela will also sing the role on Wednesday, January 16.