Angela Meade

Soprano

Biography

American soprano Angela Meade is the winner of both the Metropolitan Opera’s 2012 Beverly Sills Artist Award and the 2011 Richard Tucker Award. In 2008 she joined an elite group of history’s singers when, as Elvira in Verdi’s Ernani, she made her professional operatic debut on the Met stage. Since then she has fast become recognized as one of today’s outstanding vocalists, excelling in the most demanding heroines of the 19th-century bel canto repertoire as well as in the operas of Verdi and Mozart.

The 2018-19 season begins with Ms. Meade joining forces with Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Orchestre Métropolitain for a special performance of Verdi’s Requiem in memory of Jacqueline Desmarais. Domestic opera engagements will include a role debut as Margherita in the Robert Carsen production of Boito’s Mefistofeleat the Metropolitan Opera, a company debut with Seattle Opera as Leonora in Verdi’s Il Trovatore, and a return to the Dallas Opera as Alice Ford in Verdi’s Falstaff. Internationally, Ms. Meade returns to Spain in the title role of Rossini’s Semiramide for Asociación Bilbaina de Amigos de la Ópera and revives her portrayal of Leonora in Verdi’s Il Trovatore at Teatro de la Maestranza de Sevilla. Her schedule also includes a return to the Palacio de la Opera in A Coruña, Spain and the Sinfónica de Galicia for a concert of operatic highlights, a recital and masterclass with Vancouver’s The Singer Behind the Song series as well as a return to Verdi’s Requiem in Dublin, Ireland, with the RTÉ National Symphony conducted by Michele Mariotti. Ms. Meade ends the season with a gala concert in her debut at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, Italy.

In the 2017-18 season, Meade sang the title roles in Bellini’s Norma and Rossini’s Semiramide (broadcast Live in HD in theaters worldwide) at the Metropolitan Opera, Handel’s Alcina with Washington National Opera, and Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur with Oper Frankfurt. In addition, she sang the role of Giselda in Verdi’s I Lombardi at Teatro Regio di Torino and stepped in as a last minute replacement as Leonora in performances of Il Trovatorewith Deutsche Oper Berlin. Concert performances included Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Yannick Nézét-Séguin and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Seattle Symphony. She gave recitals in Philadelphia, Santa Fe, and Waterford (VA).

Read more

Reviews

“[Angela Meade] has a strong, supple voice, a knack for floating soft high notes, and an unusual agility in the rapid-fire technique of bel canto singing…” “[Angela Meade] wasted no time in showing off her talents. Anna’s first aria and cabaletta…was sung with impeccable phrasing and included a couple of high pianissimos that seemed to be spun out of finest silk. There were more of those in the final scene, and at one point Meade accompanied a hushed high note by extending a hand in the air as if reaching for a thread of the delicate fabric.”

Mike Silverman

The Associated Press

“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.”

Alex Ross

The New Yorker

“The promising young American soprano rose to the challenge, putting her own stamp on the role and drawing prolonged cheers from the audience at Friday night’s final curtain … She has a strong, supple voice, a knack for floating soft high notes, and an unusual agility in the rapid-fire technique of bel canto singing so crucial to this 1830 masterpiece … Anna’s first aria and cabaletta was sung with impeccable phrasing and included a couple of high pianissimos that seemed to be spun out of finest silk. There were more of those in the final scene, and at one point Meade accompanied a hushed high note by extending a hand in the air as if reaching for a thread of the delicate fabric”

Mike Silverman

Associated Press

More Reviews

“She showed a vibrant voice with nice color and an assured technique and sang like an old pro from start to finish”

Ron Blum, Associated Press

“The voice is sizable over an exceptional range, but she wields it prettily, with genuine trills, a lovely legato and soft but clear singing in the higher ranges that falls on the ear with special grace … as Bolena, who must present her tormented emotions over nearly four hours, she displayed impressive theatrical skill … she was in her element, tremendously affecting in the sweet singing of ‘Al dolce guidami,’ and then, with a terrific drop to almost threatening depths that exploded in the anger of ‘Coppia iniqua,’ her final denunciation, a dramatic coloratura at last.”

John Yohalem, Opera Today 

“Angela Meade made a triumphant appearance in the Met’s Anna Bolena last night, largely fulfilling the high expectations that have surrounded her. … The ‘Coppia iniqua’ that ends the opera was electrifying, as pure a display of vocal power as I’ve heard at the Met in the past few years. In her final moments, issuing a tractor beam of Wagnerian tone with her arms flung out, she was no longer an impeccable bel canto student but a full-on diva. I loved seeing the big, dazed smile on her face at the curtain call, before an exultant crowd; she knew she’d pulled it off. As it turns out, you don’t need celebrity glitz to create pandemonium at the Met; pace Anna Netrebko, we Americans want music as well as show”

Alex Ross, The Rest is Noise 

“As gala concerts go, this one had enough star power for a whole galaxy. With such guests on hand as tenor Jonas Kaufmann, bass-baritone Bryn Terfel and powerhouse mezzo-sopranos Stephanie Blythe and Dolora Zajick, the excitement level was up several notches Sunday night for this year’s benefit for the Richard Tucker Music Foundation. It helped that the 2011 honoree (and $30,000 prize winner), soprano Angela Meade, is already an accomplished artist who can hold her own in such high-powered company. Meade’s opening number, an aria from Verdi’s ‘Attila,’ showed off her large voice, resplendent high notes and technical agility.”

Mike Silverman, Associated Press

“The evening’s main business was to honor this year’s Tucker Award winner, the young soprano Angela Meade, who receives a $30,000 prize, the foundation’s largest grant. Ms. Meade recently sang three performances of the title role in Donizetti’s ‘Anna Bolena’ in the Met’s new production, and she returns to the company in February for Verdi’s seldom-heard ‘Ernani.’ Her first offering here was a fiery aria from Verdi’s ‘Attila.’ Her sound was enormous, rich and unforced; her coloratura runs and passagework were dispatched with aplomb and precision. Vocally, Ms. Meade was even better in the Act I finale of Bellini’s ‘Norma,’ for which she was joined by the mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick as Adalgisa and the sturdy tenor Frank Porretta (substituting for Mr. Giordani) as Pollione.”

Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times

“Most of the buzz surrounded soprano Angela Meade, recent winner of the Richard Tucker Foundation award, who was making her BSO debut. Meade has been honing the role of Norma in concert performances (most recently at the Caramoor Festival), and her poised voicing of ‘Casta diva’ was stunning.”

Judith Malafronte, Opera News

“Meade held the audience rapt in Casta diva, the priestess’s gorgeous, trance-like prayer to the moon, and later, singing of her love for the despised proconsul, Meade sent coloratura passages flashing like streaks of lightning through her cabaletta”

David Wright, The Classical Review

“[Meade] gave a sensational account of the pivotal soprano solo on Thursday. The way she floated the ‘Sed signifer’ portion of the ‘Offertorio’ matched perfectly the text’s description of a ‘holy light.’ Could Meade be the next great Verdian soprano? I might take that bet.”

Tim Smith, Baltimore Sun

“There were some shining solo moments, particularly from soprano Angela Meade, whose projection and ability to change the color of the voice in any register set her apart.”

Robert Battey, The Washington Post

“She has a tremendously powerful and flexible dramatic voice, and she blew the rest of the quartet out of the water in terms of both power and subtlety. Even at the loudest parts of the score, with the entire BSO at full bore, Meade’s voice sailed clearly over the fray, while she also had suave control of her voice at soft dynamics, shimmering in the stratosphere in the ‘Lacrymosa’ movement.”

Charles T. Downey, The Washingtonian

“Last year’s operatic high point in Oregon was the pairing of Angela Meade and Richard Zeller in Giuseppe Verdi’s ‘Il Trovatore’ at Washington Park. The soprano sensation from Centralia made her Portland debut singing into the sun amid chatting picnickers and wandering toddlers, and even in those less than ideal conditions she shone alongside her fellow Northwesterner and Metropolitan Opera colleague Zeller. She’d have raised the roof if there’d been one. This year’s high point was the same, with the added benefit of a room – Astoria’s handsome Liberty Theater – to display their sound to full effect … As Leonora, she combined bel canto finesse with power and profound musicality. She delivered fine filigrees of crisp coloratura and, especially in the fourth act, lingered on stratospheric pianissimos as the audience collectively held its breath.”

James McQuillen, The Oregonian

“Meade was spectacular in the role of Leonora, with gorgeous lyrical lines, crisp coloratura, beautiful tone and remarkable breath control. She ranged from heart-stopping stratospheric pianissimos down to a rich, well-supported low register, with plenty of power and color — and a keen sense of how to use them — in between.”

James McQuillen, The Oregonian

“Ms. Meade’s stunning Norma was the big news. From the first lines of Norma’s entrance — in which the druids, chafing under the degradation they suffer from the Romans, are poised to rebel — Ms. Meade sounded in complete command of the role, delivering the character’s charged, defiant dramatic recitative with gleaming sound and incisive attack. The druids await the blessing of their prophetic high priestess on the plan to battle the Romans. Norma counsels peace in ‘Casta Diva,’ and Ms. Meade sang it beautifully, filling the long-spun lines with rich, unforced sound, shaping the phrases with bittersweet poignancy, gracing the melody with tasteful embellishments and lifting her voice to majestic highs … Vocally, Ms. Meade handled the emotional shift brilliantly, unleashing hard-edged, piercing phrases to denounce Adalgisa. As an actress, Ms. Meade had a Junoesque presence and conveyed disarming honesty … She was even more impressive when she caressed soulful pianissimo phrases.”

Anthony Tommasini, The new York Times

“Angela Meade conquers Norma … In the world of talented young singers, there may be none with greater promise just now than 32-year-old American soprano Angela Meade … Meade gave a performance of power and poise that had the audience repeatedly interrupting with cheers and reinforced the impression that she has a remarkable career ahead of her … Meade met each test with an apparent ease rare in a singer still so early in her career. She displayed a voice of generous size and evenness of tone throughout its entire range from middle to high C—and above. She dashed off the most intricate embellishments with aplomb. Her soft singing had a hushed beauty, and her more stentorian outbursts were imposing, even if they may have stretched her lyric instrument to its capacity.”

Mike Silverman, Associated Press

“In my years of attending Normas, I have never heard a live performance in which the title role was sung accurately and without compromise — not, at least, until July 10, when Angela Meade sang her first Norma in a concert version at the Caramoor Festival. Meade, who lists Lucia, Anna Bolena and Rossini’s Armida in her repertory, has the formidable technique that the role demands. She can summon a range of dynamics from a finely spun pianissimo to an impressive, hall-filling forte, the latter achieved without strain or stridency. In fast passages, the notes emerge clear and in tempo; legato passages are cleanly drawn and well sustained. The voice, sweet and soaring on high, also boasts a tangy lower register. (A soprano without a fully developed lower range is only half a Norma.) Her considerable accomplishment at Caramoor brought her ovation after ovation from an audience thrilled to hear the role sung with such aplomb.”

Fred Cohn, Opera News

“In technical terms, Meade is astounding. She is almost scarily secure at the top of the range—at the end of Act I she let out a blazing high D—and she makes a rich, rounded sound at the lower end. 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. Her tone has a distinct character, slightly darker than the coloratura norm yet warmly glowing. She doesn’t seem to make her voice do things; it is doing what it was born to do.”

Alex Ross, The New Yorker

“Meade is a far more than respectable Norma … this was exceptional bel canto singing and operatic acting … Meade’s voice possesses some of Sutherland’s metallic power in her upper range, including a clarion high D she brought forth to end the great Act I trio, and she shares Sutherland’s cleanness of attack if not her unwavering breath control … Her chest voice…is superbly produced and of great beauty and evenness, reminding me of Tebaldi, who also sang dramatic coloratura roles early in her career … Meade knows how to present her dramatic ideas forcefully, jabbing with a sudden attack (as Norma, so often angry, must do) or turning reflective with a creamy legato”

John Yohalem, Opera Today

“The emergence of a brilliant new interpreter of “Norma” … The Washington state-born soprano boasted a creamy middle register, flexible top notes and a thrilling, aggressive snarl in the chest register, ideal for expressing the character’s frequent outbursts of rage. She also wielded an exquisite legato for her opening prayer to the moon (‘Casta diva’) and her tearful farewell to her children in the final act … Meade’s is a very fine Norma — and, as a first attempt at this Mount Everest of a role, it’s simply a miracle”

James Jorden, New York Post

“Meade can really, really sing Norma … Angela Meade is the kind of singer you should be building productions around.”

Zachary Woolfe, Capital New York

“Her Caramoor performance was … a thrilling, powerful, and poignant priestess, with a combination of force and bel canto lyricism”

Richard Traubner, Musical Criticism.com

“All the turns, the glissandi, the re-iterations of the A’s on top, a true messa di voce tossed in where appropriate. The vocal line is spun seamlessly and effortlessly. The glorious high C at the end shook even the most uninitiated listener to the core; and the foyer and smoking alcove outside were abuzz. This is fine singing, at any level…The crowd thought they’d been wowed by ‘Casta Diva’ from Bellini’s Norma, but they went absolutely bananas after her ‘O zittre nicht’ from Die Zauberflöte.”

trill.com

“Angela Meade powered out a ‘Casta Diva’ from Bellini’s ‘Norma’ that left everyone breathless.”

The New York Times

“Meade gave a performance of power and poise that had the audience repeatedly interrupting with cheers … she has a remarkable career ahead of her.”

Mike Silverman, Associated Press

“…reminiscent of the young Margaret Price (there are few greater compliments); wonderful promise here…”

Philadelphia City Paper

“…matchless beauty of tone and inimitable style. Mozart singing does not come much better than this.”

Willamette Week

“One powerhouse soprano out-larynxed them all – the supremely angelic Angela Meade. This lady’s got big pipes, real instincts, and a sincerity on stage that seems almost incongruent with her enormous potential for diva status.”

Willamette Week

“A dramatic coloratura at last.”

Opera Today

“…the evening’s knockout – soprano Angela Meade, whose ‘Casta Diva’ was nothing less than a revelation”

Opera News

“Her sound was enormous, rich and unforced; her coloratura runs and passagework were dispatched with aplomb and precision”

Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times

“Could Meade be the next great Verdian soprano? I might take that bet”

Tim Smith, Baltimore Sun

“In the world of talented young singers, there may be none with greater promise just now than 32- year-old American soprano Angela Meade.”

Mike Silverman, Associated Press

“The laser-like soprano of Angela Meade soared over the ensemble…”

William Randall Beard, Star Tribune

“…in my years of attending Normas, I have never heard a live performance in which the title role was sung accurately and without compromise – not, at least, until July 10, when Angela Meade sang her first Norma…The voice, sweet and soaring on high, also boasts a tangy lower register. (A soprano without a fully developed lower range is only half a Norma).”

Fred Cohn, Opera News

“With her entrancing “Casta Diva,” Ms. Meade showed potential to be a great Norma of the future. From the first lines of Norma’s entrance – in which the druids, chafing under the degradation they suffer from the Romans, are poised to rebel – Ms. Meade sounded in complete command of the role, delivering the character’s charged, defiant dramatic recitative with gleaming sound and incisive attack. Norma counsels peace in “Casta Diva,” and Ms. Meade sang it beautifully, filling the long-spun lines with rich, unforced sound, shaping the phrases with bittersweet poignancy, gracing the melody with tasteful embellishments and lifting her voice to majestic highs.” Vocally, Ms. Meade handled the emotional shift brilliantly, unleashing hard-edged, piercing phrases to denounce Adalgisa. As an actress, Ms. Meade had a Junoesque presence and conveyed disarming honesty…she let fly chilling top notes. She was even more impressive when she caressed soulful pianissimo phrases. ”

Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times

“The Washington state-born soprano boasted a creamy middle register, flexible top notes and a thrilling, aggressive snarl in the chest register, ideal for expressing the character’s frequent outbursts of rage. She also wielded an exquisite legato for her opening prayer to the moon (“Casta diva”) and her tearful farewell to her children in the final act…by any standard, Meade’s is a very fine Norma — and, as a first attempt at this Mount Everest of a role, it’s simply a miracle.”

James Jorden, The New York Post

“In technical terms, Meade is astounding. She is almost scarily secure at the top of the range – at the end of Act I she let out a blazing high D – and she makes a rich, rounded sound at the lower end. 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. Her tone has a distinct character, slightly darker than the coloratura norm yet warmly glowing. She doesn’t seem to make her voice do things; it is doing what it was born to do. As a friend remarked, you relax when you listen to her; you don’t worry for the singer and lose yourself in the music. …she confidently goes her own way, and the prayerful serenity and intimacy that she brings to “Casta Diva” or to passages such as “Ei tornerà!,” in Act II, have a personal stamp. Certainly, as a first attempt at the complete role, this was a formidable achievement, easily outclassing recent stabs at “Norma” at the Met. ”

Alex Ross, The New Yorker

“Meade gave a performance of power and poise that had the audience repeatedly interrupting with cheers and reinforced the impression that she has a remarkable career ahead of her. Meade set each test with an apparent ease rare in a singer still so early in her career. She displayed a voice of generous size and evenness of ton throughout its entire range from middle to high C – and above. She dashed off the most intricate embellishments with aplomb. Her soft singing had a hushed beauty, and her more stentorian outbursts were imposing, even if they may have stretched her lyric instrument to its capacity. ”

Mike Silverman, AP

“…[Angela Meade’s] Norma betrayed strong temperament and no vocal weak links. She can float creamy high-note pianissimos, bring a seamless legato to Bellini’s long melodies and articulate coloratura cleanly – whether of the decorative variety or of the more dramatic type…Meade can leap up to a high note with abandon, then come off it with a descending chromatic scale…[the voice] has ample range and body but not undue heaviness.”

George Loomis, MusicalAmerica.com

“Angela Meade, the headliner, graduated from AVA last spring and is now a Metropolitan Opera artist. She continues to develop, revealing rich low tones as well as the high-flying agility for which she is best known. Dressed in a flowing white gown, she captured the authority of this Druid priestess [Norma] who is betrayed by her Roman lover.”

Broad Street Review

“…the evening’s knockout – soprano Angela Meade, whose ‘Casta Diva’ was nothing less than a revelation.”

Opera News

“Angela Meade powered out a ‘Casta Diva’ from Bellini’s ‘Norma’ that left everyone breathless.”

The New York Times

“…Meade held the audience breathless with the beauty of her singing in the third-act cavatina. Her limpid, pure voice seemed to float magically in the air…”

Courier Post Online

“All the turns, the glissandi, the re-iterations of the A’s on top, a true messa di voce tossed in where appropriate. The vocal line is spun seamlessly and effortlessly. The glorious high C at the end shook even the most uninitiated listener to the core; and the foyer and smoking alcove outside were abuzz. This is fine singing, at any level…The crowd thought they’d been wowed by ‘Casta Diva’ from Bellini’s Norma, but they went absolutely bananas after her ‘O zittre nicht’ from Die Zauberflöte”

trill.com

“…reminiscent of the young Margaret Price (there are few greater compliments); wonderful promise here…”

Philadelphia City Paper

“…matchless beauty of tone and inimitable style. Mozart singing does not come much better than this.”

Courier Post

“One powerhouse soprano out-larynxed them all – the supremely angelic Angela Meade. This lady’s got big pipes, real instincts, and a sincerity on stage that seems almost incongruent with her enormous potential for diva status.”

Willamette Week

X