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Alumni Profiles

Angela Meade
Written by Damien Elwood, February 9, 2009

Bright young opera star and recent Thornton Opera Program alumna Angela Meade talks about her career and her time at the USC Thornton School.

(The following was taken from an email interview with Angela on February 7, 2009)

Angela, when and what was your last involvement with the USC Thornton Opera Program?

Spring Semester 2005: Mother Goose in Rake’s Progress.

Who did you study with while at the Thornton School and what performances were you involved with?

Gary Glaze.

Performances:

Königin der Nacht: Die Zauberflöte

Madame Herz: Der Schauspieldirektor

Gertrude: Hänsel und Gretel

Fiordiligi: Cosí fan tutte

Title role: Agrippina

Mother Goose: Rake’s Progress

Where are you living now and what have you done since leaving the Thornton School?

I’m currently living in Philadelphia . So much has happened since leaving USC. In 2005 I was working on my DMA when I auditioned for the Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA). I was accepted and put my DMA on hold to move to Philadelphia to see how AVA would work out.  It has been a great experience. I have sung six leading roles at AVA all to great reviews. I have participated in and won 23 major competitions since leaving USC, including the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a George London Award, a Richard Tucker Award, the Zachary Competition, the Gerda Lissner Foundation Awards and the Jose Iturbi Foundation Awards. Last March I also had the great fortune of starting my professional career at the Metropolitan Opera as Elvira in Verdi’s Ernani and I currently have gigs lined up through the beginning of 2012. I also just had my first feature article in the January edition of Opera News.

Is there anything upcoming you would like the readers of this article to know about?

The Caramoor Festival outside of NYC has planned Rossini’s Semiramide for me this summer. I will also be singing Strauss’ Vier letzte lieder in Philadelphia at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in April.

How did you transition from your involvement at the Thornton School to what you are doing now? Was it an easy transition or a difficult one?

Fortunately it was a rather smooth transition. I think USC gave me a great foundation so I was able to get to the next level.

What did you gain from your time at the Thornton School?

I learned a lot about myself as a singer and also as a performer while at USC. I was very lucky that I was as involved as I was. I sang a role in every opera, which allowed me to experiment and find out who I was on stage. The faculty was very supportive and steered me in the right direction and really cared about who I was both as a person and as an artist.

What do you now know/understand about the opera world that you wish you had known earlier?

How lonely this business can be at times.

What is there about the opera world you still wish you knew/understood better?

Sometimes I wish I could get in the minds of artistic directors of opera companies and see what it is that makes them decide who to cast.

What’s your opinion about the current state of the opera world?

Well with the recession, it makes me slightly nervous, but I think everything will be alright in the end. I am also hopeful for the future. I just sang a couple of student performances of an opera and I was stunned by how enthusiastic the kids were. Let me just say that judging by the applause at the end of the show, you would have thought we were rock stars

Who, from your time at the Thornton School, do you keep touch with?

I keep in touch most often with Jessica Cambio (Owen) since she has joined the roster at AVA. I also keep in contact with Gabby Demers, Ryan Goessl, Erica Miller and Krista Kiefski.

What do you like to do that is not opera career related?

Well…I love to spend time with my friends going out shopping or to the movies. I also love to bake, but the truth is that there is not a whole lot of time for things that aren’t opera related. I end up spending usually 4-5 hours in opera rehearsal if I’m preparing a show at AVA and then usually 1-3 hours of “other” coaching to prepare arias or other roles I’m preparing. In the professional world, there are usually 6 hours a day of rehearsal. By the time I get home and make dinner and study for the next day, it’s time to go to bed. Sometimes I can squeeze in other things. It’s really okay though since I love what I do.

Finally, what advice or comments can you offer young opera singers?

Dream big. Work hard. Be prepared. In fact, be over prepared. Be vulnerable. Take risks. Absorb everything. Never stop learning. Be nice to your colleagues. Get a good manager, someone who is interested in your long term career, not just making money off of you. Listen to good advice and finally, only pursue this if you feel like your heart would stop beating if you didn’t.

Thanks, Angela! Your comments were both candid and insightful. All of us here at the Thornton School are very proud of you as a person and young opera artist. We wish you all the best both personally and professionally.

Angela Meade as Elvira in the Metropolitan Opera's

Angela Meade as Elvira in the Metropolitan
Opera's production of Verdi’s Ernani.
Marty Sohl - Photographer

Related Links:

Angela Meade as Elvira in the Metropolitan Opera's

Metropolitan Opera. Marty Sohl - Photographer

Angela Meade as Elvira in the Metropolitan Opera's

Metropolitan Opera. Marty Sohl - Photographer

Angela Meade as Elvira in the Metropolitan Opera's

Metropolitan Opera. Marty Sohl - Photographer

Angela Meade as Elvira in the Metropolitan Opera's

Metropolitan Opera. Marty Sohl - Photographer