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18 to Watch: Angel Blue


18 to Watch Angel Blue hdl 1118
© Jack Hill

ANGEL BLUE HAS TAKEN some unusual detours en route to an opera career. Her youth in Southern California was spent playing guitar, alto sax and piano in the family’s church band. Later, her striking figure and megawatt smile earned her titles as Miss Hollywood and first runner-up Miss California, helping fund her undergraduate years at the University of Redlands. 

Blue’s first mentor was her father, Sylvester, a classically trained gospel singer and opera buff. Family lore has it that at her birth, he declared her “the next Leontyne Price,” a singer the young Angel would come to idolize. Shortly after her father’s death, during her graduate studies at UCLA, Blue had an opportunity to audition for Plácido Domingo, who invited her to join LA Opera’s young-artist program and became a second mentor to her.

Blue’s plush-velvet soprano has a rich-hued middle register that suits her to the full-lyric roles that have been her bread and butter. She sings Musetta at the Met this fall, then reverts to Mimì (her Met debut role) in Toronto later in the season; in between, Covent Garden hears her as Violetta. On a recent San Diego Opera podcast, she revealed that Tosca is in her near future.

Blue, a firm believer in “paying it forward,” is the founder of the nonprofit Sylvia’s Kids, which provides scholarships to inner-city students. —L.T.G.

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