Monday, September 7, 2009

Soprano Angela Meade gets rave review in The New Yorker

Angela Meade, a native of Centralia, Washington, and a graduate of Pacific Lutheran University got a rave review from Alex Ross in the August 31 issue of The New Yorker magazine (pages 80-81 in "Taking Liberties"). She sang Rossini's "Semiramide" at Carmoor with Lawrence Brownlee, the amazing tenor who gave a performance of a lifetime at Seattle Opera's production of "I Puritani" a year ago. Ross, who is not given to excess, said of Meade (who sang the title role in "Semiramide") that she is "a lavishly gifted young American soprano who sings across a very wide range with uncommon beauty and strength of tone". But the last paragraph is the zinger:
Semiramide's signature aria is "Bel raggio lusinghier," which sopranos from Luisa Tetrazzini to Joan Sutherland have adopted as a glittering showpiece. The aria is in A major, and a high-flying soprano can win ovations by working her way up to a brilliant high E (not in the score). Meade, too, has easy access to that stratospheric note, yet she unleashed it not at the end of the aria but in the middle of the fast section, in a brief cadenza on the words "How sweet the thought of that moment." She then plunged to an E two octaves below, with almost frightening insouciance. And perhaps there should be something scary about the display, since Semiramide is unknowingly fantasizing a union with her son. In any case, the gesture came as a delightful shock. Caramoor draws a knowing crowd - even Opera Chic, the mystery blogger of Milan, was said to be in attendance - but Meade caught the connoisseurs off guard: a murmur of amazement ran through the audience. This fast-rising soprano will undoubtedly have many triumphs, but she may remember that little noise of wonder longer than most.
I interviewed Meade last year for "Scene," PLU's magazine, and will try to keep tabs on her, but for those who want to see what she is doing can click on her web site here. She is scheduled to sing the role of Contessa Almaviva in "Le Nozze di Figaro" at the Met this December.

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