Angela Meade: A lot of this business is about hard work and some luck. It’s about knowing and understanding your strengths and weaknesses and capitalizing on the strengths.

Winner of both Metropolitan Opera’s  Beverly Sills Artist Award and the Richard Tucker Award, the American soprano Angela Meade made her professional operatic debut at Metropolitan Opera of New York as Elvira in Verdi’s Ernani, becoming 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. Extraordinarily appreciated by OPERA Charm Magazine for her performances as Aida in Arena di Verona, but also for her recent debut at Festival Verdi & Teatro Regio di Parma,  constantly in our attention & finally on the cover of our publication, in an interview by Bianca L. Nica, Angela talks about the Italian public & performing Verdi’s heroines, the challenges & the satisfactions of building a career in the opera world & many other captivating arguments meant to give an insight view to those how are taking the first steps on this path.

Thank you, Angela, for accepting our invitation! It’s an honor for us to have you interviewed and, first of all, I’d like to express my admiration for your performances as Aida in Arena di Verona! 

As I previously said in the review of one of the performance, you are a living lesson on how this role is meant to be sung and a voice that definitely belongs to Arena di Verona. I’d like to know about your view on this Verdian piece, getting into technical details, if you feel like, but also about singing in Arena di Verona. Each and every singer has a certain perception of this very particular theater.

I loved singing at the Arena. The acoustics are wonderful and the open air theater is something special. We were lucky that at all of the performances there was a lovely breeze which really lent itself to the atmospheric ideas in Aida and it also kept us cool on the balmy summer evenings. When you sing there it just feels like you have stepped back into another time. I appreciate your kind comments about my interpretation of Aida. Aida is one of the more challenging roles I’ve sung. Both interpretively and vocally. I think it’s because Verdi chose to write her in a way where the vocal line doesn’t sit so high as to be above the passaggio, but rather it sits directly under it and directly in it so getting above the passaggio into a different place in the voice where it can relax doesn’t ever really happen, except for the final scene. This is the reason that O Patria mia is so difficult. The entire aria lies directly in the passaggio and then it is in a weird place as you ascend to the C. For me, if the aria was ½ a tone higher, the difficulties of the aria would disappear because then the aria would ride at the top of the passaggio, rather than directly in it. I’m sure though that Verdi did this on purpose as he was trying to convey through struggle vocally, the internal struggles Aida was going through. 

Your presence on the Italian stages continues with several performance, among which your debut at Teatro Regio di Parma and at the XXI Festival Verdi in Simone Boccanegra that will take place tonight, under the baton of M° Michele Mariotti. You‘re American. Considering that Italy is the land where opera was born, is there something special about the audience here, especially in the theaters that are famous for their tradition and heritage, such as the Regio di Parma, Teatro alla Scala and so on?

I think in Italian audiences and in general European audiences appreciate opera, classical music and the arts more than American audiences on a whole. Of course there is a sect of people in America that deeply love opera, classical music and the arts but because the arts in Europe have been passed down and held as something special and are part of a culture that predates America even being founded, it runs deep. America has never really integrated it in the fabric of its culture.

Read the entire interview here, in the 6th/2021 issue of OPERA Charm Magazine.

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