Norma in concert at the Caramoor International Music Festival (Norma)

July 23rd, 2010

Ms. Meade’s stunning Norma was the big news. From the first lines of Norma’s entrance — in which the druids, chafing under the degradation they suffer from the Romans, are poised to rebel — Ms. Meade sounded in complete command of the role, delivering the character’s charged, defiant dramatic recitative with gleaming sound and incisive attack. The druids await the blessing of their prophetic high priestess on the plan to battle the Romans. Norma counsels peace in ‘Casta Diva,’ and Ms. Meade sang it beautifully, filling the long-spun lines with rich, unforced sound, shaping the phrases with bittersweet poignancy, gracing the melody with tasteful embellishments and lifting her voice to majestic highs … Vocally, Ms. Meade handled the emotional shift brilliantly, unleashing hard-edged, piercing phrases to denounce Adalgisa. As an actress, Ms. Meade had a Junoesque presence and conveyed disarming honesty … She was even more impressive when she caressed soulful pianissimo phrases.”

The New York Times, Anthony Tommasini (July 2010)

“Angela Meade conquers NormaIn the world of talented young singers, there may be none with greater promise just now than 32-year-old American soprano Angela Meade … Meade gave a performance of power and poise that had the audience repeatedly interrupting with cheers and reinforced the impression that she has a remarkable career ahead of her … Meade met each test with an apparent ease rare in a singer still so early in her career. She displayed a voice of generous size and evenness of tone throughout its entire range from middle to high C—and above. She dashed off the most intricate embellishments with aplomb. Her soft singing had a hushed beauty, and her more stentorian outbursts were imposing, even if they may have stretched her lyric instrument to its capacity.”

Associated Press, Mike Silverman (July 2010)

In my years of attending Normas, I have never heard a live performance in which the title role was sung accurately and without compromise — not, at least, until July 10, when Angela Meade sang her first Norma in a concert version at the Caramoor Festival.  Meade, who lists Lucia, Anna Bolena and Rossini’s Armida in her repertory, has the formidable technique that the role demands. She can summon a range of dynamics from a finely spun pianissimo to an impressive, hall-filling forte, the latter achieved without strain or stridency. In fast passages, the notes emerge clear and in tempo; legato passages are cleanly drawn and well sustained. The voice, sweet and soaring on high, also boasts a tangy lower register. (A soprano without a fully developed lower range is only half a Norma.) Her considerable accomplishment at Caramoor brought her ovation after ovation from an audience thrilled to hear the role sung with such aplomb.”

Opera News, Fred Cohn (July 2010)

“In technical terms, Meade is astounding. She is almost scarily secure at the top of the range—at the end of Act I she let out a blazing high D—and she makes a rich, rounded sound at the lower end. She has exceptional dynamic control, able to move from floating pianissimos to sudden dramatic swells. The coloratura effects—rapid runs, trills, delicate turns, and so on—are handled with uncommon ease. She is a very musical singer, naturally and intelligently riding the phrase. Her tone has a distinct character, slightly darker than the coloratura norm yet warmly glowing. She doesn’t seem to make her voice do things; it is doing what it was born to do.”

The New Yorker, Alex Ross (July 2010)

“Meade is a far more than respectable Norma … this was exceptional bel canto singing and operatic acting … Meade’s voice possesses some of Sutherland’s metallic power in her upper range, including a clarion high D she brought forth to end the great Act I trio, and she shares Sutherland’s cleanness of attack if not her unwavering breath control … Her chest voice…is superbly produced and of great beauty and evenness, reminding me of Tebaldi, who also sang dramatic coloratura roles early in her career … Meade knows how to present her dramatic ideas forcefully, jabbing with a sudden attack (as Norma, so often angry, must do) or turning reflective with a creamy legato.”

Opera Today, John Yohalem (July 2010)

“The emergence of a brilliant new interpreter of “Norma” … The Washington state-born soprano boasted a creamy middle register, flexible top notes and a thrilling, aggressive snarl in the chest register, ideal for expressing the character’s frequent outbursts of rage. She also wielded an exquisite legato for her opening prayer to the moon (‘Casta diva’) and her tearful farewell to her children in the final act … Meade’s is a very fine Norma — and, as a first attempt at this Mount Everest of a role, it’s simply a miracle.

New York Post, James Jorden (July 2010)

“Meade can really, really sing Norma … Angela Meade is the kind of singer you should be building productions around.”

Capital New York, Zachary Woolfe (July 2010)

“Her Caramoor performance was … a thrilling, powerful, and poignant priestess, with a combination of force and bel canto lyricism”

Musical, Richard Traubner (July 2010)

“In technical terms, Meade is astounding…she is a very musical singer, naturally and intelligently riding the phrase…she doesn’t seem to make her voice do things; it is doing what it was born to do.”

— Alex Ross, The New Yorker, July 12, 2010

“In the world of talented young singers, there may be none with greater promise just now than 32- year-old American soprano Angela Meade.”

– Mike Silverman, Associated Press, July 11, 2010