Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia in concert at Caramoor (Lucrezia Borgia)

November 12th, 2014

“By force of personality, Lucrezia dominates every scene of the opera — even the ones without her. With her extraordinarily powerful and multifaceted soprano, Ms. Meade managed to do the same vocally, standing out from the excellent cast and focusing the energy of each ensemble on her. In the beginning, her high notes had a sharp edge; but in the course of the evening, her singing gained noticeably in warmth and pliancy. Her intelligent command of both text and melodic architecture helped knit the coloratura passages into a coherent musical structure.”

— The New York Times, Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim (July 2014)

Angela Meade took the title role, giving as accomplished a performance as I’ve ever seen from her — which is saying quite a lot. The voice itself was, if anything, richer and fuller than ever, especially in its potent lower reaches. The technique was, as expected, a marvel: the full-throated voicing of passagework, the easy access to brilliant high notes. In the prologue finale, a pianissimo high A-flat, sustained over the churning ensemble for five long measures, provoked astonished gasps from the crowd. But Meade, who seems to grow as an artist with each passing season, brought a new element of authority to this assignment: a formerly diffident performer has become one who now commands the stage as her natural dominion. Her fiery declamation in her encounters with her husband was that of a singer in full command of the dramatic moment; so, in the same scene, was the pathos in her pleas for her adored Gennaro’s life. This was the work of a true prima donna.”

— Opera News, Fred Cohn (July 2014)

The performance marked another achievement for Angela Meade, whose artistic development since her 2010 Norma at Caramoor has largely played out in the public eye. … she was terrific in the confrontations of Act 2 when her grim husband, the Ferrarese Duke Alfonso, was determined to execute Gennaro, thinking he was Lucrezia’s lover, and later when engineering Gennaro’s escape. It was especially gratifying that Meade wielded her big voice to maximum effect without allowing her singing to turn gross. She also showed herself capable of producing a more concentrated, resonant sound than I remember from before. And she was striking in the opera’s concluding cabaletta, sung over the body of Gennaro, whom she inadvertently poisoned, excelling in both its impassioned and its florid aspects.”

— Musical America, George Loomis (July 2014)

“Soprano Angela Meade has almost every necessary quality for the title role: a big, beautiful sound, coloratura suppleness for the roulades in her final showpiece aria and astonishing technical control for the effortless leaps between registers and the floating pianissimos that can be heard above the full orchestra and chorus. … a superb display.”

— The Wall Street Journal, Heidi Waleson (July 2014)

Angela Meade’s commanding temperament, declamatory power, and wide vocal range were ideal for the title role; as a soprano drammatico d’agilita she effortlessly executed Donizetti’s demanding ornamentation. The most stunning moment of many in her performance was when she held a mezza-voce note for bars and bars over the chorus, ultimately swelling it and holding it even longer at full, sustained force, all without any audible pause for breath. The Met would be wise to mount this opera for her.”

— New York Classical Review, Eric Myers (July 2014)