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Angel Blue, the new Violetta Valery at MET

Tuesday, 14 March 2023 , ora 13.54

I believe that, in its history summing up 25 seasons and live transmissions- from the Metropolitan Opera House, Teatro alla Scala, Wiener Staatsoper, etc- The Opera Night has had the opportunity to take over, LIVE, most often, "La Traviata", the love story between the well-known courtesan from the Paris of the 40's and a young aristocrat, an idea by which Verdi was inspired from Alexandre Dumas fils's novel, which apparently was a memoir. "La Traviata", an opera constantly at the top of the music lovers preferences and in consequence a customary to the lyric theater posters; with a leading role which sums up/ requiring vocal and theatrical skills, sensuality (sensitivity, vulnerability) and an unique beauty of the interpret, a role for three different voice types-of course!-to which all the sopranos out there dream of and one which was approached by all the international lyric theatre starts since its debut and until today.

Only from the Metropolitan Opera House in New York we have received a live broadcasting of "La Traviata" in which six different sopranos performed cronologically: Anna Netrebko, Marina Poplavskaja, Angela Gheorghiu, Renne Fleming, Diana Damrau and Aleksandra Kurzak. And this Saturday, the plethora of the ones performing "Violetta Valery"- to whom we listened to while live at MET, would be completed by soprano Angel Blue (38): most appreciated and awarded Afro-American soprano of the moment.

Angel Blue- some facts

Born in Southern California, she'd spend her adolescence playing the guitar, saxophone and piano, also part of the school choir, smiling when her dad- a gospel and opera buffa singer was presenting her as "The Next Leontyne Price". But before she would have taken over the world with the splendour of her voice, she had conquered it with her natural beauty, receiving the title "Miss California" at 17 years old.

In 2007, Placido Domingo has given her the chance of being part of the Opera's Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program in Los Angeles. And then, her stage debut came along, with the role "Musetta"from Giacomo Puccini's "La Boheme" - the opera that marked her first years of career. In 2009 Angel Blue was winning the Second Prize and Zarzuela Prize, Pepita Embil de Domingo at the "Operalia Competition". Five years later she was already a well-known name on the European scene (after her debuts at the English National Opera, Vienna State Opera, Hamburg State Opera and Semperoper) making her debut a great success!- Teatro alla Scala (2015) and at MET (2017)- performing the role "Mimi".

In the fall of 2009, Angel Blue was headline for the new production of the masterpiece "Porgy and Bess" by George Gerschwin, a masterpiece with which the famour Metropolitan Opera House in New York was about to open their 2019-2020 Season. A triumph which brought her, through other thing- A Grammy Award!

In 2020 she became the first African-American artist awarded by the Metropolitan Opera with the "Beverly Sills" Prize; in 2022 she received the "Richard Tucker" award and by the beginning of this year she was already winning a second Grammy, with a MET production- the one of the contemporary opera "Fire Shut Up in My Bones" by Terence Blanchard, in the category "Best Opera Recording".

10 years ago, it was said that she was "protected" by Domingo. Today, it is whispered that she would benefit from the unconditional support of Peter Gelb. But does all of this matter? Not at all! - when the stage and the audience have, nevertheless, the last word. And when the artist in question - I would say, assumes a role like Violetta in "La Traviata", which is famous for so many reference portraits and complex...

The opera evening, "La Traviata" - in a live transmission from MET, Saturday, March the 11th, at 20.00. The Ukrainian tenor Dmytro Popov will also perform alongside Angel Blue, he is also a laureate of the "Operalia" Competition (Second Prize and Special Jury Prize in 2007) and we'll also have the exceptional Polish baritone Artur Rucinski.

Luminița Arvunescu
Translated by Georgiana Morozii,
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year I
Corrected by Silvia Petrescu