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Soprano likes to keep performances ‘out of the ordinary’

Soprano Angela Meade

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — When Angela Meade was growing up near Seattle, she sang along with the pop and country tunes emanating from the radio.

But they never really fit her titanic range.

The winner of the 2012 Metropolitan Opera Beverly Sills award recently finished an acclaimed role in Bellini’s “Norma” at the Met.

Opera News named her “the most talked about soprano of her generation.”

Meade will give a recital in Santa Fe’s St. Francis Auditorium on Sunday, Jan. 14. The program features the art songs of Rossini, Mahler and Bellini, as well as the lesser-known German composer Giacomo Meyerbeer.

“I’m doing a set of Meyerbeer,” Meade said in a telephone interview from Los Angeles. “They’re these gigantic French operas that have like a million people in the cast. Nobody ever does these; they’re very charming and feminine. I like to do things that are out of the ordinary. “The five pieces of the Mahler Rückert lieder are more familiar,” Meade said. Mahler penned the works for voice and orchestra or piano in 1901-02, set to the poems of Friedrich Rückert.

“They’re done so regularly, but this is my first venture out with them,” she explained. “The text is so beautiful and very heartfelt. They’re just a joy to sing.”

Meade also will sing Beethoven’s concert aria “Ah Perfido!”

“It’s very operatic in scope,” she said. “Beethoven only wrote one opera. I really wish he would have written more.”

Of course, Bellini is a mainstay of her concert repertoire. The concert will feature the composer’s “Il fervido desiderio” and “Dolente immagini.”

“It’s like coming home for me,” she said .

Meade grew up south of Seattle, the daughter of an amateur singer and steel guitar player.

When she entered her local community college, she wanted to become a doctor. But she took a choir course as a “mindless elective,” which led to her first voice teacher.

“He said, ‘You sound like an opera singer.’ I had no idea what that meant.”

She soon transferred to Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, where she majored in voice.

“When I started singing arias, it felt like a really natural way to sing,” she said.

“I guess when I won the Met competition (the National Council Auditions in 2007), I knew I could make a living.”

Meade next stars as the evil queen of Babylon in Rossini’s “Semiramide” on Feb. 19 at the Met.