Critical Acclaim | Features

Portland SummerFest brings back soprano Angela Meade for ‘Otello’

OregonLive | Angela Meade is coming back, and that is magic to the ears of opera fans. Meade, a super-soprano from Centralia, has a knack for singing soft, high notes – the kind that made her interpretation of Norma a standout role – but she also has the big, ringing notes that soar over orchestras. In short order, she’s become a regular at Carnegie Hall, the Vienna State Opera and other world stages.

On Friday, Meade returns to Washington Park to sing the poignant role of Desdemona in Verdi’s Otello at SummerFest’s Opera in the Park. In 2010, she sang Leonora in Il Trovatore and drew record crowds to the park. She should make an affecting Desdemona, wrongly accused wife of the misguided Moor.

You might think an up-and-comer like Meade wouldn’t have time for a Portland park at the height of festival season, but Meade regularly performs in the Northwest. She’s a huge draw to the Astoria Music Festival, for example. The fact she comes from Centralia, which she presumably visits when she’s in the area, benefits opera fans big time.

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Q&A with Opera in the Parks’ Star Soprano, Angela Meade

Portland Monthly | In 2010, Opera in the Park, consistently one of the most popular events in the Washington Park Summer Festival, drew close to 6,000 people to two performances of Il Trovatore, starring Metropolitan Opera singer Angela Meade as Leonora. Since making her professional debut on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera as Elvira in Verdi’s Ernani in March 2008, the bel canto singer has wooed fans in the states and overseas, inciting the New Yorker to exclaim: “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.”

This summer, Ms. Meade returns to Opera in the Park to take on a new role: Desdemona in Guiseppe Verdi’s opera Otello on August 2 and 4. We spoke with Ms. Meade about her growing up in Centralia, not making it in New York, and her workout playlist (Verdi’s not on it).

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Angela Meade brings her ‘Norma’ to the Kennedy Center

Washington Examiner Soprano Angela Meade has sung the title role of Norma several times since her debut performance at the Caramoor Festival in 2010, but the Bellini opera opening in the Kennedy Center Opera House this week is her first staged production.

“Both the music and the character are so complex, and yet it suits me well because the music plays to my particular strengths,” she said. “Even though Norma is a druid, she is so human and so real that I can portray all her emotions, from rage to falling in love and even wanting to do away with the children she loves because she is being cheated on. The plot is like a Jerry Springer opera.

“When I discovered the aria Casta diva, I had no idea that it belongs to one of the most challenging roles in opera. It simply happened. I was looking for an aria that fit my voice when I discovered it and I knew nothing of the complications in the story. Since the music was perfect for me, I began taking it to competitions and winning. That convinced me I was on to something.

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Interview: Angela Meade a soprano on a mission in Toronto début with Ontario Philharmonic

Musical Toronto | Rising young soprano Angela Meade is making her Toronto début performing Richard Strauss’s Four Last Songs with the Ontario Philharmonic at the Regent Theatre in Oshawa on Saturday and at Koerner Hall on Tuesday.

Meade is one of several significant younger voices in the American opera world. Two weeks ago, she stepped in for Patricia Racette to sing Leonora in the Metropolitan Opera’s radio broadcast of Verdi’s Il trovatore, with excellent results.

The there’s something of the old-school prima donna assoluta in the way her voice commands all it surveys.

Although the Washington-state native with an easy laugh comes across as approachable and down-to-earth, it quickly becomes clear in an interview that Meade is a woman on a mission — and has been like that since girlhood.

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Bellini’s ‘Beatrice di Tenda’ Makes a Rare Appearance

WQXR | To broadly paraphrase Shakespeare’s 29th Sonnet, when I all alone beweep the outcast state of parts of the opera world and trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries, and feel that in what I most enjoy I am contented least, I tend to go to my bookshelf and my well-worn copy of Marilyn Horne’s memoir The Song Continues (written with Jane Scovell) to read the no-nonsense and always perceptive views of an artist who refers to colleagues she esteems as “a real pro.” She knows whereof she speaks.

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The Beatrice Generation

Parterre | In the cast Wednesday there will be several names to draw attentive voice fanciers. Singing her first Beatrice will be Angela Meade, who has been thrilling in dramatic coloratura roles from Vienna and Wexford to Caramoor and the Met. Michael Spyres, impressive in virtuoso parts by Rossini and Meyerbeer, among others, will sing Orombello. I got a chance to put a few questions to each of them.

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Angela Meade Sings Bellini

Classical TV | Famous for uniting Joan Sutherland and Marilyn Horne, the dynamic duo of Bel Canto opera in 1961, Beatrice di Tenda, Bellini’s penultimate opera premiered in 1833, an operatic gem that has been mysteriously underperformed. Set in fifteenth century Milan and based on a historical figure, the opera tells of the tormented, but saintly wife of the Duke of Milan (soprano Angela Meade), falsely accused of adultery with Orombello (tenor Michael Spyres), and sentenced to death by her husband (baritone Nicholas Pallesen) and his love interest Agnese del Maino (mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton).

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The Superconductor Interview: Angela Meade

SuperConductor | “The essence of a great bel canto opera is beautifully written melodies that seem extremely organic.” Soprano Angela Meade should know. In the last five years, Ms. Meade has taken the spotlight as a bel canto specialist, reviving this lost operatic form (the phrase is Italian for “beautiful song”) for a new generation of opera lovers.
“There’s something in a line that’s written,” she says. “You can tell what someone’s soul is saying,” she adds. “It’s not just notes on a page. I think that the essence is those emotions. With singing, I express who I am.”

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20 (Plus) Questions with Soprano Angela Meade

PlaybillArts | Soprano Angela Meade is part of “Opera’s Next Wave” (Opera News) and she’s leading the wave in the demanding 19th-century bel canto repertoire and the operas of Verdi and Mozart.

She makes her Vienna State Opera debut this month (I Vespri Siciliani, opening September 9) and brings her considerable gifts this season to, among others, L.A. Opera (Don Giovanni), Washington Opera (Norma) and the Met (Il Trovatore).

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Opera’s Next Wave

Opera News | Audiences have hungered for a singer like Angela Meade for a long time. She’s a genuine soprano drammatico d’agilità, and while she may not have a particularly dramatic temperament, there’s no question that she has a voice to be reckoned with: it’s beautiful, it’s sizable, and it moves. Meade was born in Centralia, Washington, and studied at the University of Southern California and Philadelphia’s Academy of Vocal Arts. She arrived on the scene sounding like a winner, as she swept most of the major U.S. competitions. (She claims to have entered sixty in all, winning fifty-seven of those, and she has won top prizes from the Met National Council, George London Foundation, Richard Tucker Music Foundation, Gerda Lissner Foundation and many others.) Recently Meade told Classic Talk, “I’m retired [from competitions] — there will be lots of singers happy to hear me say that.”

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