Spotlight on: Angel BlueInterview
American soprano Angel Blue keeps busy with coveted soprano roles like Violetta, Musetta, and Manon, and as a 2015 Opera Awards nominee, a presenter for the BBC Cardiff Singer of the Year Competition, and a former beauty queen, her career is refreshingly versatile. Her singing schedule has her on the stages of La Scala and the Royal Opera House, and this summer she’ll sing with the Metropolitan Opera’s Summer Concert Series, and with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl.
Angel chats with us about roles on her bucket list, embracing weaknesses, and the opera-singer-as-athlete.
Why do you sing, and why are you doing it professionally?
I just like music, I love sound. The best way for me to be a part of music making is to sing. I sing because of my Dad. He introduced me to classical music when I was about 4 years old, and I’ve been hooked on it since. I sing professionally because I love it and it is one of the jobs that makes me the most happy. It’s a blessing to be able to sing professionally. I love it!
I’m also a presenter for the BBC Proms and BBC Cardiff Singer of the World. Singing has opened many doors for me, and I’m grateful for that.
What does “good singing” mean to you? What does it feel like when you achieve it?
Good singing… I’m not sure that it can really be described. I don’t know what good singing is, really; I only know that when I feel good in my body, then I’m usually singing well. For me, “good singing” is so much more than technique. It’s easy to focus on breath, diction, phrasing, or placement, but I think for me what constitutes good singing is when I’m completely emotionally involved/connected with my character. When my character/performance takes me to another level of singing and I get lost in the music itself, then I feel that is “good singing” or a “good performance”.
I suppose, for me, that good singing simply means that I’m committed to whatever I’m singing, be it opera, oratorio, or a gospel song I grew up with.
What do young singers need to do more of? What should they do less of?
Be yourself and be happy being yourself. Oftentimes so many young singers in the opera world feel that they need to “fit in” with whatever is popular in the field. In slang terms we say, “do you!” Just be yourself and be happy being yourself, singing like yourself, looking like yourself, be comfortable with your voice…its strengths and its weaknesses. Even the weaknesses (if you choose to call them that) make you unique.
Singers should try to be more positive with themselves. Encourage yourself, be confident, keep practicing, and please save yourself the trouble of wasting time by comparing yourself to others. I’ll be the first to tell you…it doesn’t help, and in fact, it just takes up time that you could be spending on learning music or with your family. Just my opinion.
Do you have any “bucket list” roles you’d like to sing (realistically or otherwise)?
In my heart I am one of the world’s greatest Sieglindes, or even Brünnhildes. I could listen to Die Walküre all day, everyday. Realistically though… I’d like to sing Tosca and Leonora in Il Trovatore.
How do you explain your job to non-music folks?
I compare my job to that of an athlete. Being an opera singer is like being in the NBA or NFL… I have some performances/games at home, but most of them are away and for long periods of time. If I get injured, then I can be out for the rest of the show/game or if it’s really bad, for the remainder of the season.