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Critical Acclaim | Features

Martinu’s The Epic of Gilgamesh with the Grant Park Music Festival

“Angela Meade’s plush dramatic soprano was made to order for the courtesan’s seductive solo”

Chicago Tribune – John von Rhein

“The four excellent soloists gave intensely affecting performances: the luminous soprano Angela Meade in the double role of the courtesan who seduces Enkidu and the goddess of love, Ishtar, whom Gilgamesh rejects, thus offending the gods who demand Enkidu’s death in revenge.”

Classical Voice North America – Marta Tonegutti

Donizetti’s Parisina d’Este with The Opera Orchestra of New York

“The problem with many of the bel canto operas that composers cranked out by the dozens in the 19th century is that they often feel like nothing more than vehicles for their star soprano. The plus side, for a company seeking to revive one of these works today, is that all it takes is one fiery-voiced singer to carry the show.

That certainly seemed to be the recipe behind Wednesday’s concert performance of Donizetti’s “Parisina d’Este,” which the Opera Orchestra of New York presented at the Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center under the direction of Eve Queler….a preposterous plot ultimately faded into irrelevance next to the glittering performance of Angela Meade in the title role.

The final act contains some stunningly dark and desperate music, with a funerary chorus, ominous drums and a bravura aria for Parisina, “Ugo è spento,” in which she veers between shocked grief and vindictive rage. Ms. Meade’s plush soprano, with a silvery glint that sharpens when she sings forte, eloquently expressed her character’s volatility and pain. The leaps, runs and ornaments of this role, which presses at the extremes of a soprano’s register, held no terrors for her.”

— Corinna da Fonesca-Wollheim, New York Times

 

Verdi’s Requiem with the Boston Philharmonic

“While it was featuring the mezzo, Verdi’s score “hid” the soprano soloist, having her join ensembles and contribute a well-placed high note here and there, but never step forward with an individual statement. But all that changed in the work’s closing passage, “Libera me,” a scena in several sections for soprano and chorus.

On Sunday, soprano Meade delivered the work’s closing prayer with unforgettable eloquence, passionate one moment and serene the next, meeting the composer’s vocal demands, especially for soft, high entrances, with little apparent effort.

Meade’s uplifting rendition sent the piece out literally on a high note, touching off a prolonged ovation that also recognized the sincerity, seriousness of purpose, and manifold beauties of this performance.”

— David Wright, Boston Classical Review

 

“Zander is known for working magic, but much of it must have been conjured at the last minute, since Soprano Angela Meade was only original vocal quartet member. She stunned in the requiem’s final movement, Libera me, and when in Agnus Dei, her long duet with mezzo Marianne Cornetti was sublime. These two seemed, quite simply, meant to sing together.”

— Susan Miron, The Boston Musical Intelligencer

 

“A late winnowing of soloists — only soprano Angela Meade remained from the originally-announced lineup — added extramusical last-judgment overtones; the survivors made persuasive arguments for being among the elect… Meade turned her “Libera me” into an anthology of soprano stage sorrow, launching high-note salvos from a platform of controlled restraint.”

— Matthew Guerrieri, The Boston Globe

New Year’s Eve with the Philadelphia Orchestra

“The remarkable soprano, who headlined The Philadelphia Orchestra‘s New Year’s Eve concert, was in absolute breathtaking form as she returned to the ensemble for her first ever December 31st gala….Ms. Meade clearly demonstrated that mastery of the Italian composer (Verdi), bringing the audience to their feet after her powerful rendition of “Pace, pace, mio Dio!” from La Forza del Destino… She had the same effect on the crowd after intermission, causing quite a stir during “Sempre libera” from La Traviata. Her tenor husband, John Myers, was planted in the audience and surprised everyone when he began to sing in the middle of her performance. It was truly a remarkable moment….She also brought a level of warmth and tenderness to her interpretation of yet another iconic work from the operatic cannon, Puccini’s La Boheme, singing “Mi chiamano Mimi” with amazing sensitivity.”

— Bryan Buttler, Phillymag.com

 

Norma with the Los Angeles Opera

“A Powerful soprano with exacting control, Angela Meade offers a textbook example of how to handle every nuance of Bellini’s exquisite melodic writing for his title character.”

— Mark Swed, The Los Angeles Times

 

“Meade made a formidable Norma. She’s got a big, lyric voice that can rise above fortissimo climaxes, yet remains nimble and supple enough for the graceful singing and pianissimo point required in bel canto.”

— Timothy Mangan, The Orange County Register

 

“Yet the takeaway from Saturday night is the performance of Angela Meade as the title character, a rendition where the word “sublime” doesn’t quite seem adequate. This American soprano, previously seen here as a soaring Donna Anna, has since taken The Met by storm and is a rare treat for Los Angeles audiences. Meade’s is a voice that immediately commands attention. It is large (the echo heard off the balcony walls) yet focused; it is powerful, thrilling, yet impeccably controlled. As the high priestess, an intensely demanding role, Meade was in complete control with vocal stamina to spare. She had all the technical aspects the role requires: thrilling high notes, tight coloratura, a trill, and ravishing pianissimos. “Casta Diva”, the musical redemption of the opera, was alone worth the price of admission. This is a special voice and a special musician.”

— Matthew Richard Martinez, Bachtrack

Scenes from Don Giovanni with Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

“This was vocalism that made you think of older, grander days in the opera world.”

 Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun

Portland SummerFest

“Most valuable performer: Meade deserves high honors for her participation in the festival, her performance throughout Saturday night’s concert and — to choose just one moment — her scorching final measures of ‘Pace, pace mio Dio’ from Verdi’s ‘La forza del destino.’ If there had been a roof, she’d have blown it off.”

— James McQuillen, The Oregonian

Verdi’s Requiem at the BBC Proms

“Dominating the solo quartet were Meade and mezzo Karen Cargill. Where Cargill is pure vocal muscle, Meade’s voice is all gilded evanescence and glow. The pairing was astonishing, each luxuriating in Verdi’s duet writing without ever forcing the sound; the “Recordare” alone was enough to resign one to death. Separately, too, they shone – Meade in the closing “Lux perpetua”, floated so tenderly, and Cargill in the hushed intensity of her “Lux aeterna” opening.”

— Alexandra Coghlan, The Arts Desk

 

“Of the four soloists, exceptional were the succulent-toned soprano Angela Meade and her grandly rhetorical mezzo colleague, Karen Cargill: their immaculately co-ordinated duetting provided some of the highlights of the interpretation as a whole.”

— George Hall, The Guardian

 

“The soprano Angela Meade also impressed – […] her voice proved to be measured and versatile, with a brilliantly demonstrated ability to tackle the opposites of terror and sweetness in the Libera me, and to make the perfect partnership with Karen Cargill’s voice in the Recordare and Agnus Dei.”

— Barry Creasy, Music OMH

 

“Soprano Angela Meade gave a smoothly musical performance, at her finest in Libera me, the final movement and the most openly operatic of all. Sounding much more like a queen’s death scene (one of Verdi’s many specialities) than a plea for redemption, Meade delivered her final lines with a superb, tense conviction nearer rage than regret. […] her shimmering vibrato allowed her voice to shine inside the quartet in the third (Offertory) movement, while her contribution to Agnus Dei was softly appealing.”

— Charlotte Valori, Bachtrack

 

“A much better night was enjoyed by American soprano Angela Meade, whose glisteningly light and agile sounds soared.”

— Rachel Fellows, The Arbuturian

Met National Finals Concert

“‘Grand Opera’s answer to ‘American Idol,’ ” said Peter Gelb, general manager of the Metropolitan Opera, describing the organization’s annual National Council Auditions while the judges deliberated on Sunday afternoon. The important vocal event has helped propel the careers of many young singers, including the soprano Angela Meade, who presented the Grand Finals Concert at the Met. … Before the judges announced their decision, Ms. Meade told the audience that she had entered 60 competitions (including the Met’s) and was “blessed to win 57.” After listening to her gorgeous rendition of ‘Casta Diva’ from Bellini’s ‘Norma,’ now one of her showpiece arias, there was no doubting why.

The New York Times, Vivien Schweitzer (March 2014)

Ernani at the Metropolitan Opera

“The soprano Angela Meade, who sang Elvira when ‘Ernani’ was last at the Met in 2012, again brought plush sound, unforced power and sumptuous beauty to the role. … It was wonderful to hear such a fresh, exciting voice in this music.”

The New York Times, Anthony Tommasini (December 2014)

 

Angela Meade scores another soaring success in Met Opera’s Ernani revival

“Angela Meade, who owns this role, conveyed the besieged noblewoman’s emotional fragility without turning her into a wilting damsel in distress. Vocally she was superb, easily heard over the other principals and the entire chorus in concerted numbers—a Verdi trademark—which abound in this unjustly underperformed work. She dispatched the part, encompassing the entire vocal range from the lowest lows to the skies, without the vocal “fry” and stridency that too often accompany both extremes, with sheer beauty regardless of the note. … The girl does it all and does it splendidly.”

Examiner.com, Richard Carter (March 2015)

 

“As Elvira, Angela Meade returned to a role that she has essentially made her own at the Met. What was most noticeable about this turn was the strength that Meade found in the lower register; in some ways these were the moments that resonated most dramatically, allowing the listener to listen to Elvira’s doomed and violent nature, something that often goes unnoticed in some performances. … In this performance, Meade delivered on Elvira’s suicidal potential and killed herself with a knife, something she had done in her first run a few years ago. This moment was so abrupt and quick that you could hear audible shock from around the auditorium in the grand pause that followed.

Latin Post, David Salazar (March 2015)

 

“Meade continues to amaze with her fluidity of voice, showing off her command from top to bottom as Elvira. What a beautiful, sumptuous sound she makes! She triumphed in her very first aria −the opera’s best known piece, “Ernani, involami” − and went on from there. … She’s a force of nature and we’re lucky to have her.”

Broadway World, Richard Sasanow (March 2015)