There were two vocal recitals at the Kennedy Center within a few days of each other this past week. I reviewed the one by Angela Meade, who really isn’t a recitalist: powerhouse soprano, yes; Lieder singer, not yet. Two days earlier, Vocal Arts DC presented Russell Braun in what according to Cecelia Porter was a masterful performance of Schubert’s “Winterreise.”
The art of the song recital has been so honed over the last few decades, with help from organizations like the Marilyn Horne Foundation and the New York Festival of Song, that seeing an opera-singer performance of the kind Meade gave, including arias with piano accompaniment, seemed like a kind of throwback. Which doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing, especially since it played to Meade’s strengths: the arias were the best part of the night.
Above: Angela Meade in the Metropolitan Opera’s “Ernani” earlier this year. I should note that I had some of the same reservations about that performance as about her recital on Saturday: I didn’t feel she’d entirely internalized the music yet. She seems to me like a woman with some personal spark, but very little of that spark comes through in her performance.