GO Arts: Soprano Angela Meade to head up the Met Opera Council’s Northwest auditions, with bonus benefit recital at Pacific Lutheran University

Tacoma News TribuneJanuary 15, 2014 

Soprano and Pacific Lutheran University alum Angela Meade will sing at the Met Opera regional auditions and a PLU recital this weekend.

DARIO ACOSTA

Seven years ago, a young Centralia soprano called Angela Meade competed in the Metropolitan Opera National Council’s annual regional auditions in Seattle. She went on to win $15,000 as a grand finalist in New York, and begin an opera career that has seen her leading the Met’s “Norma” and “Falstaff” this season, among other international appearances. Now Meade is back in town as guest artist for this year’s auditions on Sunday, throwing in a recital at her alma mater Pacific Lutheran University for good measure. Dinners, discussions and a masterclass extend the Seattle auditions into a four-day opera weekend for audiences.

The auditions, which happen in 13 regions around the country, are organized by the National Council of the Metropolitan Opera to discover young talent for the company and Young Artist program. District winners compete in the regional auditions, and the winner of each regional goes on to compete in the national semi-finals and finals on the Met Opera House stage in New York.

Coincidentally, one of the 12 regional finalists this year is another PLU graduate: tenor John Marzano, who’s advanced to the regionals for the first time.

“It’s a reassurance that I’m doing the right thing,” says Marzano, who sings regularly in the chorus at Seattle Opera and with Vashon Opera. “This is a well-known and highly regarded competition. The opportunity to sing in front of people that are very knowledgeable about this field, and very successful…is just an amazing opportunity. That’s really why I do it – for the experience, and bettering myself.”

Angela Meade’s presence at the auditions is an “immense inspiration” to Marzano, who has met the soprano and will attend her PLU concert.

“It seems so far out of reach some times,” he explains. “To see all the things she’s done – she’s evolved into such an amazing musician. It’s a huge inspiration to see where she is now and say, this is doable.”

Called “the next great Verdian soprano” by the Baltimore Sun and “one vocal thrill after another” by the Associated Press, Meade has clocked up 57 competition wins in her career, including the Met’s 2012 Beverly Sills Award and the 2011 Richard Tucker Award. The Washington National Opera recently honored her as Artist of the Year.

Since she was going to be in town, Meade also offered to give a recital at PLU tomorrow to establish the Angela Meade Vocal Performance Scholarship. The recital includes virtuosic repertoire from 19th-century composers such as Meyerbeer, Puccini, Liszt and Bizet.

Met Opera National Council Northwest Auditions: 1 p.m. Jan. 19. $20. Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., Seattle. 206-215-4747, metoperanw.org

Angela Meade in recital: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 18. $50/$25 PLU students/$100 with VIP reception with the artist. Lagerquist Hall, Pacific Lutheran University, 12180 Park Ave. S, Tacoma. 253-535-7415, plu.edu

Also in the Met Opera National Council weekend: 

Lecture dinner: “Critics: Who Needs Them?” with Pulitzer Prize-winning music critic Martin Bernheimer. 7 p.m. Jan. 17. $75. The Ruins, 570 Roy St., Seattle. metoperanw.org

Panel discussion: “Opera: State of the Art” with Seattle Opera director Speight Jenkins, soprano Elizabeth Hynes, critic Martin Bernheimer, mezzo Judith Forst and Met National Council director Gayletha Nichols. 10:30 a.m. Jan. 18. $25. Fairmont Olympic Hotel 411 University St., Seattle. metoperanw.org 

Gala dinner with Angela Meade and regional winner. 6:30 p.m. Jan. 19. $150. Fairmont Olympic Hotel 411 University St., Seattle. metoperanw.org

Masterclass with Elizabeth Hynes. 1 p.m. Jan. 20. Free. Pigott Hall, Seattle University, 901 12th Ave., Seattle. seattleu.edu

Rosemary Ponnekanti: 253-597-8568 rosemary.ponnekanti@thenewstribune.com

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