American soprano Angela Meade is the winner of the 2012 Beverly Sills Artist Award from the Metropolitan Opera and the 2011 Richard Tucker Award. Since her professional debut in 2008, she has quickly become recognized as one of the outstanding vocalists of her generation. The New Yorker has stated, “Meade is astounding. … 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.” She excels in the most demanding heroines of the nineteenth-century bel canto repertoire as well as in the operas of Verdi and Mozart.
Meade joined an elite group of history’s singers when she made her professional operatic debut on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera substituting for an ill colleague in March 2008, in the role of Elvira in Verdi’s Ernani. The Associated Press wrote of the debut, “she showed a vibrant voice with nice color and an assured technique and sang like an old pro from start to finish.” She had previously sung on the Met stage as one of the winners of the 2007 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a process that is documented in the film The Audition, released on DVD by Decca. The New York Times singled out Meade as “an impressive soprano who powered out a ‘Casta diva’ from Bellini’s Norma that left everyone breathless.
Highlights of the 2014/15 season include Meade’s return to the Metropolitan Opera as Elvira in Verdi’s Ernani opposite Plácido Domingo, conducted by James Levine, and her acclaimed interpretation in the title role of Bellini’s Norma for her debut in Seville. On the concert stage, she makes her debut with the New York Philharmonic under Alan Gilbert in Verdi’s Requiem, which she will also perform in Oviedo, Spain. She travels with the orchestra of the Teatro Regio di Torino under Gianandrea Noseda to the Edinburgh International Festival and the Stresa Festival in Italy for concert performances of Mathilde in Rossini’s Guglielmo Tell, and will repeat the role for a North American tour that includes performances in Chicago, Toronto, Ann Arbor, and New York’s Carnegie Hall. The season brings a return to the Philadelphia Orchestra for Mahler’s Second Symphony with Yannick Nézet-Séguin in Philadelphia and at Carnegie Hall, as well as performances of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with both the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under Donald Runnicles. Additional projects include a studio recording of Donizetti’s rarely performed Le duc d’Albe with Opera Rara in London and a New York joint recital under the auspices of the George London Foundation.
During the 2013/14 season, Meade sang the title role of Norma at the Metropolitan Opera and portrayed Alice Ford in a new production of Verdi’s Falstaff under the baton of James Levine, which was seen around the world in the Met’s Live in HD series. She made her Oper Frankfurt debut as Fidelia in concert performances of Puccini’s Edgar, and her Italian debut at the Teatro Regio di Torino as Mathilde in the new production of Guglielmo Tell, conducted by Noseda. Additionally, she returned to the Caramoor Festival for performances of the title role in Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia and performed Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. The 2011 Richard Tucker Award honoree was also a guest artist in the Richard Tucker Gala at Lincoln Center.
Other highlights of Meade’s recent seasons include debuts at the Vienna State Opera as Elena in Verdi’s I vespri siciliani; Deutsche Oper Berlin as Lucrezia in a concert version of Verdi’s I due Foscari opposite Ramón Vargas and Leo Nucci; Los Angeles Opera and Cincinnati Opera as Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni; and Washington National Opera in her first fully staged title role of Bellini’s Norma, where she was subsequently honored as “2013 Artist of the Year.” She was catapulted to prominence in a 2010 concert performance of Norma at the Caramoor International Music Festival, where she has also triumphed in the title role of Rossini’s challenging Semiramide, and as Hélène in the French version of Verdi’s vespri, Les vêpres siciliennes.
At the Metropolitan Opera, since her dramatic debut in 2008, Meade has starred in the title role of David McVicar’s new production of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena; as Leonora in Verdi’s Il Trovatore; and as Mozart’s Countess in Jonathan Miller’s production of Le Nozze di Figaro under the baton of Fabio Luisi. She also reprised her Elvira in Verdi’s Ernani opposite Marcello Giordani, Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Ferruccio Furlanetto, in a production that was seen in the Met’s Live in HD series and as a Great Performances at the Met presentation on PBS-TV. At Carnegie Hall, she has sung the title role of Bellini’s Beatrice di Tenda and appeared in Rossini’s Moïse et Pharaon with the Collegiate Chorale and American Symphony Orchestra; at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall she portrayed Giselda in Verdi’s I Lombardi with the Opera Orchestra of New York.
On the concert stage, Meade has appeared in recital at the Kennedy Center, and as soloist with the Baltimore Symphony, Boston Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Montreal’s Orchestre Métropolitain, Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony, and Seattle Symphony, among others. Conductors with whom she has collaborated in concert include Roberto Abbado, Marin Alsop, Will Crutchfield, Thomas Dausgaard, Charles Dutoit, Manfred Honeck, Sebastian Lang-Lessing, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Gerard Schwarz, and Osmo Vänskä.
Meade made her European operatic debut at the Wexford Festival in 2010, appearing in the title role of Mercadante’s rarely seen Virginia. Previously she added to her repertoire three of Donizetti’s greatest roles: Elisabetta in Roberto Devereux at the Dallas Opera, and the title roles of Anna Bolena and Lucia di Lammermoor at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia.
Meade has triumphed in an astounding number of vocal competitions, fifty-seven in all, including many of the opera world’s most important prizes. In addition to being a winner at the 2007 Met National Council Auditions, she was the first singer ever to take first prize in both the opera and operetta categories of Vienna’s prestigious Belvedere Competition, as well as the International Press Prize and the La Scala Prize chosen by its artistic administrator. Ms. Meade also garnered the largest cash prizes in the world of opera, the $50,000 first prize of the José Iturbi Competition and the $50,000 Beverly Sills Artist Award from the Metropolitan Opera. She is also a First Prize winner of the Richard Tucker Foundation Competition, the Gerda Lissner Competition, the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation Competition, the George London Competition, the Concours Musical International de Montréal, the Liederkranz Foundation Competition, the National Opera Association Competition, the Opera Index Competition, the Marguerite McCammon Competition, the Giargiari Bel Canto Competition and the Eleanor Lieber Awards. As a winner of the Astral Artists 2007 National Auditions, Astral presented her at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center in Strauss’s Four Last Songs, led by Philadelphia Orchestra Associate Conductor Rossen Milanov.
Angela Meade is a native of Washington State and an alumnus of the Academy of Vocal Arts.