Angel Blue is the kind of breathtaking artist who hardly needs an introduction.
Interview: March 10, 2021
This astounding soprano has taken the opera world by storm, performing on stages around the world to thunderous applause and lots of “bravos.” It’s almost like she was born to be an opera singer—and she sort of was.
When you ask a little kid what they want to be when they grow up, the answer “an opera singer” usually doesn’t make the list. Unless you’re Angel Blue.
“I first decided that I wanted to become an opera singer quite early. I was only four years old. And that was because my parents took me to see a concert performance of Turandot by Giacomo Puccini. And I fell in love with opera at the very early age of four. Ever since then, I've just always had this zeal for opera, for singing.”
Her zeal for opera and runs in the family. Her father Sebastian was also classically trained, and he introduced her to recordings of all the greats. Namely, the incomparable Leontyne Price, who became one of Angel’s biggest influences.
“Leontyne Price has been my favorite soprano since I was about five years old. My father gave me a recording of her album called A Program of Song, and I’ve listened to her ever since. Her life story inspires me on so many levels. Opera is synonymous with Leontyne Price for me.”
Thanks to her father’s encouragement (and impeccable taste in music) and Angel’s own natural talent, she was accepted into a music studies program at UCLA where she discovered our Young Artist Program.
“I was studying at UCLA, and there was this new program that everybody was talking about it. I thought, wow, I would love to get into that program and to study at LA Opera. That just sounded so great to me.
“I went to audition and the program director at the time said to me, ‘Oh, you're wonderful, but you're really green.’ And I thought, ‘Green? What does that mean? My last name is Blue. What is she talking about?’ So then she explained to me, ‘Oh, there's a lot you have to learn.’ And so LA Opera brought me into the program at first as an intern, and to my knowledge, I am the only person who's been an intern with [the Young Artist Program].”
After two years of rigorous study with the Young Artist Program and with her father, Angel upgraded her title from intern to official young artist.
“When my relationship with LA Opera started, it really was the very beginning of my professional career as an opera singer. I've learned so much about the career, about singing, about all of what it means, I suppose, to be an international opera singer. I would not have had that experience, I think, had my roots not been planted at LA Opera.”
Her first performance on the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion stage wasn’t exactly an entry-level role: she was Musetta in 2007 student matinees of La Bohème (pictured above). Her “official” LA Opera debut came in La Rondine as Suzy (one of heroine Magda’s glamorous courtesan friends), shortly followed by an appearance as one of the nuns in Suor Angelica. And if the coronavirus hadn’t interfered, she would have opened the 2020/21 season as Leonora in Il Trovatore, a painful loss for local opera lovers. (But don’t worry! She’s scheduled for a much-anticipated return in a future season as opera's ultimate diva: Tosca.)
But this prolific singer has graced more than just our stage. From the Metropolitan Opera (where she has triumphed as both Mimi and Musetta in La Bohème as well as in a season-opening new production of Porgy and Bess) to Milan’s La Scala (where she debuted as Violetta in La Traviata) and everywhere in between, Angel Blue’s stunning performances in theaters around the world have made her one of today’s most important sopranos.
And even with all of those trips around the globe, one of Angel’s most memorable experiences in her career happened off the stage.
“I had the opportunity to work with Hi-Ho Kids in 2018 thanks to Seattle Opera, and I had the opportunity to introduce opera to a group of young people. They were about ages 6 to 13 and the video itself on YouTube went viral. And that was something I think I would put that at the top of my list for being the highlights of my opera career.”
But her latest career defining moment hits a bit closer to home.
“Winning the Eva and Marc Stern award is so humbling. When I was a young artist at LA Opera, I had the pleasure of meeting and knowing both Marc and Eva. Just the fact that the trajectory of my career has been followed by them and by LA Opera means a lot to me. I think that being one of the inaugural winners of this award also shows—and I say this in humility—that I've not been forgotten. And I'm very thankful for that.”