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Critical Acclaim | Features

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)

Verdi Requiem in New York Philharmonic Debut

“Shaking the Rafters With the Thundering Chords of a Monumental Requiem”
“…In the concluding Libera me, Ms. Meade’s voice soared commandingly over the orchestra and chorus — an operatic feat, undoubtedly, and a magnificent one.”

The New York Times, Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim (January 2015)

 

“The star soloist in the piece is the soprano and Meade was wonderful. She soared over the orchestra and chorus in the concluding ‘Libera me’ showing off how enormous her vocal resources really are, while earlier in the evening, in the ‘Recordare,’ she modulated her voice so that it blossomed and was totally alluring.”

BWW Opera World, Richard Sasanow (January 2015)

 

“Angela Meade made her Philharmonic debut with the Requiem, but she is well-known here in concert and opera. Verdi kept her under wraps for most of the Requiem, but he knew theater as well as any dramatist, First with the Agnus Dei and then with the final Libera Me, he put the anguish behind him and gave an angelic high-ranged Libera Me, where Ms. Meade soared to the heavens.”

ConcertoNet, Harry Rolnick (January 2015)

George London Recital with Nicholas Pallessen at the Morgan Library

“Both baritone Nicholas Pallesen and soprano Angela Meade have been setting the opera world on fire and garnering lavish praise and precious prizes for their dazzling vocal artistry. Yesterday we got to see and hear them “up close and personal. … The second half of the program took us to more familiar territory. Ms. Meade initiated with “Crudele!…Non mi dir”, Donna Anna’s aria from Mozart’s Don Giovanni. This was the perfect vehicle for Ms. Meade to show the ample size of her beautiful instrument, her elegant phrasing, and ease with embellishments. … The four Strauss songs chosen by Ms. Meade for the next set are very familiar to us but that never detracts from the pleasure we get from the passionate importuning ‘Stänchen’, the joyful ‘Zueignung’, the soulful ‘Allerseelen’ and the enthusiastic ‘Cäcilie’. Indeed, Ms. Meade brought her unique communicative skills to the performance and made the songs new again. Her voice seems made for Strauss!”

Voce di Meche, Meche Kroop (January 2015)

 

“Meade is known best for her operatic roles, so to hear Strauss lieder from her was a new experience. ‘Zueignung’’s honeyed melody was sung with abandon, Meade’s searing passion giving it a blasting authority it rarely has. … The duet from Verdi’s I Due Foscari proved a perfect ending. This material is squarely in Meade’s wheelhouse, and her combination of laser-like precision and firm, fiery voice, was thrilling, raising hairs when she condemned her father as “barbaro genitor.” This music turned out to be a major strength for Pallesen, too, as he brought a viscous sound perfectly suited to the rep and the role.”

New York Classical Review, Eric C. Simpson (January 2015)

Rossini’s Guglielmo Tell with Teatro Regio di Torino (Mathilde)

Carnegie Hall, NYC

On Sunday the stylish and glowing playing of the orchestra; the robust yet sensitive singing of the impressive chorus; the solid cast, especially the glorious soprano Angela Meade; and the insightful conducting of Mr. Noseda all combined to make this event one of the New York’s operatic highlights of recent years. Rossini’s heroic, humane work, which in the version presented here lasted four hours with two intermissions, seemed more than ever his masterpiece. … Ms. Meade brought her sumptuous, powerful voice to Mathilde. She can be dramatically cautious, but this was a deeply felt as well as exquisitely sung performance. In the great choral ensemble at the end of Act III, when Tell is dragged away by the Austrian soldiers and the Swiss people denounce Gessler, Ms. Meade’s soaring phrases cut through the sound of the entire orchestra and chorus.”

The New York Times, Anthony Tommasini (December 2014)

 

“Angela Meade has grown in strength and assurance in the past several years, and she was thrilling as Mathilde. Her soprano has always been generous, multihued and dispatched with pinpoint control, but here it blazed with passion.”

The Wall Street Journal, Heidi Waleson (December 2014)

 

Chicago

Noseda, Teatro Regio hit the mark with thrill-packed ‘William Tell’

“[The tenor’s] voice was ideally matched in the Act 2 duet with Meade’s voluminous sound, uncommon flexibility and crushed-velvet richness of timbre. Matilde’s romanza, known in English as “Somber Forests,” was a model of bel canto singing at its finest, and the soprano’s top notes gleamed like lasers. … Too bad Noseda and the Regio Torino only gave one performance of “William Tell” here. This one could have played to packed houses all week.”

Chicago Tribune, John Von Rhein (December 2014)

 

Grand Torino: Noseda, inspired cast and Italian musicians hit the bullseye in a thrilling “William Tell”

“With a first-class cast, Noseda led an electrifying performance that revealed the epic Guglielmo Tell as Rossini’s greatest achievement. Over four hours (including two 25-minute intermissions) Noseda sustained the immensely rich score with bristling momentum, drawing thrilling vocalism from his singers and searing dramatic impact in one of Chicago’s musical highlights of the year. … The only Americans among the all-Italian cast were the two lovers, John Osborn as Arnoldo and Angela Meade as Mathilde. The fast-rising Meade fully lived up to high expectations in her Chicago debut, displaying a creamy, resplendent soprano. If her Act 2 aria (‘Sombre foret’) was a little too carefully underlined, she showed striking agility for such a big voice, impassioned in the love duets and her high notes ringing out excitingly over the ensembles.”

Chicago Classical Review, Lawrence A. Johnson (December 2014)

 

Noseda’s Gamble Pays Off

The cast was about as strong as we could hope, not perfect by any means, but filled with great voices. The obvious standout among the soloists was American soprano Angela Meade, singing the role of Matilde, Arnold’s beloved. Her Act 2 introductory aria was a revelatory experience for those who have not heard her before. Meade’s clarity of both tone and diction, as well as her control of loud and soft tones, made the show worthwhile on their own. Meade wasn’t done yet; she topped her Act 2 aria in Act 3, with high notes that would make even the most experienced opera-going ears twitch. Her talent is so remarkable her voice could convert non-opera lovers; she is a threat to blow almost any other soprano out of the water.”

LA Splash, Adam Dalgren (December 2014)

 

Edinburgh Festival, Scotland

“It is Rossini’s final and greatest work for the theatre – a tale of resistance to foreign tyranny and a hopeful hymn to nationalistic liberty. … The Edinburgh Festival offered a concert performance, emanating from the Teatro Regio in Turin and presented in the Italian version made under the composer’s supervision. It proved hugely enjoyable and rewarding. … Mathilde was also impressively incarnated by the American soprano Angela Meade, who has recently become a big favourite at the Metropolitan Opera. One could hear why: the voice is sumptuous and it paints the music with a confidently broad brush and a richly coloured palette.

The Telegraph (UK), Rupert Christiansen (August 2014)

 

“Noseda and his team made a terrific case for the piece. The demands on the soloists are as daunting as the Alps – poor Arnold needs an absurd cache of high notes, but John Osborn sounded heroically well-oiled. Angela Meade was an ardent, sassy Matilde with huge decibels.

The Guardian (UK), Kate Molleson (August 2014)

 

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

“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)