Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Bright Young Thing: Medicine or Opera!

As many “Bright Young Things” were struggling to find an alternative to medicine if they do not want to go into finance, the Cockroach Catcher may now have another answer apart from “Biodiversity”.

The Cockroach Catcher and his wife were fortunate enough to attend a performance of Verdi’s Ernani at the Met earlier this year.

“She was amazing” my wife said, ‘What  a voice and so effortless!”

She is the new rising star: Angela Meade

"I didn’t grow up listening to opera," she recalls of her childhood in Washington State. "My parents still don’t listen to it unless I drag them to one! But I was participating in a community college choir and the director suggested I take some lessons. My teacher gave me a couple of arias, and I found out that it was a really natural thing for me."

It wasn’t long before Meade dropped the pre-med classes she was taking to become a voice major at Pacific Lutheran University. She got into the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, and while a student there she competed in the Met’s National Council Auditions—and won. (Her experience in the final rounds of the Auditions was captured in Susan Froemke’s acclaimed documentary The Audition.) Less than a year later came Ernani.

The critics, for their part, are already enraptured with Meade’s abilities. The New York Times recently declared of her performance at the Richard Tucker Music Foundation’s gala, "Her sound was enormous, rich and unforced; her coloratura runs and passagework were dispatched with aplomb and precision." And even Meade’s parents have given up their hope of their daughter becoming a doctor. "My father loves it now—now that he knows I can support myself," Meade jokes. "He had really wanted me to finish my doctorate, but I told him, ‘This is an amazing opportunity and I need to see if it works. If it doesn’t, I’ll go back and get my doctorate.’ But it panned out!" 

Angela Meade as Elvira and Roberto De Biasio as the title character in
 Verdi's "Ernani" at the Metropolitan Opera. Photo: Marty Sohl.

Much interest centered on the evening’s Elvira, the soprano Angela Meade. A recent winner of the Beverly Sills Artist Award for young singers, Meade in recent years has attracted notice with second-cast and cover performances of Verdi and Donizetti at the Met and the fearsome title role of Bellini’s Norma at the Caramoor Festival. She has a sumptuous voice—lush, blooming, bright and majestic as sunlight—and her proud stage presence is that of a diva to the manner born. She negotiated the peaks and valleys of Ernani, involami with ease and commendable agility, and her cadenza was a thing of heart-stopping beauty, a buoyant, shimmering pianissimo that recalled Montserrat Caballé.

No comments: