A pair of extraordinarily talented musicians blew into the Historic Asolo Theater last week, thanks to the Artist Series of Sarasota. Soprano Angela Meade and pianist Danielle Orlando made a big splash and an even bigger impression, but each for a different reason.
Meade, whom you may remember from her appearance on “The Audition,” the recent documentary film about the Met auditions, has a big, technically magnificent voice that will, barring something unforeseen, probably carry her into a major career. She’s already made her Met debut as Elvira in Verdi’s “Ernani” and has covered the title role in “Armida.” She’s also popping up all over the globe.
This is an opera singer in the old golden-age-of-opera sense: big voice, solid technique, exquisite breath control, secure coloratura abilities and excellent training. She should do really well on the operatic stage. Her “Casta diva,” “Bel raggio lusinghier” and “Ernani! Ernani, involami,” were impressively sung and beautifully crafted.
Her attempts at Lieder by Liszt and Richard Strauss were less successful, because her focus on sound trounced her understanding of the poetry and ability to communicate with sincerity and sensitivity. The same could be said for her “Depuis le jour,” the gorgeous aria from Charpentier’s “Louise,” which needs more than the spinning float Meade delivers so well.
In this day of great acting singers (Fleming, Dessay, Damrau, Netrebko, to name just sopranos), a great singer needs more than a great voice. Meade has all the makings of a world-class singer. The question is, does she have what it takes to be a world-class artist?
Orlando does. This is a pianist with incredible technique, sensitivity and ability to make music. She supports, leads and follows all at the same time. Any singer would be thrilled to have her at the keyboard.
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