Most opera singers work their way to the big league by singing bit parts in regional opera houses. Not soprano Angela Meade. She landed on top instantly with her professional debut in the lead soprano role of Giuseppe Verdi's Ernani at New York's Metropolitan Opera in 2008.
It was a dream come true. The star soprano took ill and the understudy, Meade, was suddenly shoved into the spotlight. The press said she sang "like an old pro from start to finish."
As Meade's career catapulted, she proceeded to add Verdi roles to her repertoire. Last season she sang in Il trovatore, I lombardi, I vespri siciliani and the Requiem. In December she'll be back at the Met in Falstaff.
If you think of it in terms of clothing, Verdi's music seems tailor-made for Meade's large, beautiful and extraordinarily agile voice. These days, she is considered one of the preeminent Verdi singers. So to help mark the 200th anniversary of the composer's birth, we invited Meade into our studio to spin a few of her favorite Verdi recordings and comment on them. She chose classic divas, like Maria Callas and Montserrat Caballé, plus some deep tracks from underappreciated early Verdi operas.