Rossini’s Semiramide at the Metropolitan Opera

September 9th, 2018

“In the title role of the queen who murders her husband and unwittingly tries to marry her son, the soprano Angela Meade gives her gutsiest Met performance since “Norma” in 2013, her coloratura fireworks amplifying her pride, guilt and fear. Even with 45 minutes cut from the score, this is a long opera — the conductor Maurizio Benini led a crisp, clear rendition that nevertheless struggled to find variety in the 105-minute first act — and a long part. But if Semiramide seems to tire Ms. Meade no more than it did when she coolly dazzled in it at Caramoor in 2009, her tone has shed the overly pearled sheen it had then; its silver is now warmer.” NY Times – Zachary Woolfe

“The reason for this third appearance in three consecutive centuries is simple: Angela Meade, the soprano whose high-horsepower voice and hummingbird nimbleness is a rare match for Semiramide’s semiquavers… Abdrazakov’s dark-alley baritone sets off Meade’s opalescent highlights….Each aria and duet is the vocal equivalent of an Olympic figure-skating routine. We ordinary mortals could no more sing along than we could levitate, twirl four times, and land on a speeding blade. And yet we sit in judgment not just of the feat itself but of the grace, fluidity, and passion with which it’s executed. Meade glides through one musical triple lutz after another as if she could keep going all night, and it hardly matters that her character is a homicidal manipulator and monster mom.” VULTURE – Justin Davidson

“Soprano Angela Meade anchored the cast with a fearless performance in the title role of the morally compromised and lovestruck queen, issuing a blizzard of sixteenth and thirty-second notes and dizzying leaps with expressive power to back them up. Her ode to love “Bel raggio lusinghier” bubbled and soared with little apparent effort… Rossini stirred the general’s fealty to the queen and her passionate desire for him together in the radiant quasi-love duet “Serbami ognor,” which Meade and DeShong turned into a memorable efflorescence of trills and scales Monday night.” NEW YORK CLASSICAL REVIEW – David Wright

“Angela Meade marchent sur leurs pas également. Si l’on peut lui adresser un reproche ce serait de parfois (trop) chambouler la rythmique. Autrement, la soprano américaine propose une Semiramide qui possède les qualités pyrotechniques de Jessica Pratt et l’intelligence coloriste de Joyce DiDonato. La voix possède en live un timbre plus épais que ce que les captations aisément consultables en ligne laissent entendre. « Dolce pensiero » se conclut par un mi stratosphérique alors que ses variations de nuances et de couleurs dans les tutti du finale du premier acte (« Giuri ognuno… ») font regretter que celui-ci ait été tant amputé. En tout plus d’une demi-heure de musique passe à la trappe. Les coupes concernent en priorité les reprises des airs, des duos et même les canons de la fin du premier acte. Par voie de conséquence, tout ce qui permet aux interprètes de rendre justice à Rossini et d’exprimer leur personnalité propre se voit aussi restreint. Pourtant, cela n’empêche pas Angela Meade d’accèder au trône de l’art rossinien, si exigeant et subtil.” Forum Opera – Yannick Boussaert

“Angela Meade is a vocal powerhouse as the repentant Babylonian queen Semiramide, who schemed with Prince Assur to murder her regal husband, Nino. Semiramide has a falling-out with Assur in a scene that has some of her most intense utterances, and Meade handles them with aplomb.” Financial Times – George Loomis

“And this production is damn well sung, lead by the vocally beautiful Angela Meade… Heading an impressive cast, Meade lives as comfortably in her voice as most any singer could. Like those around her, the passage work is squeaky clean. And it’s rich and thrilling. Her comfortable, warm sound has weight you can hold, throughout her range. Her top is big and secure. Meade, with the help of a succinct libretto, is in every way exciting as this tortured and most interesting queen.” Zeal NYC – Mark McLaren

“Meade debuted the role at the Caramoor Festival several years ago and she’s fulfilling a dream of doing this production since she first saw a video of it. She did herself proud. If the role of the Babylonian queen has “simply too many notes” (as HRE Joseph II commented to Mozart in AMADEUS about ABDUCTION FROM THE SERAGLIO), Meade took them in stride. She was a force of nature, with gorgeous singing, superb articulation and the feeling that she could do anything.” BWW