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Sound Bites spotlights up-and-coming singers and conductors in the world of opera.

Sound Bites: Emily D'Angelo

The Canadian mezzo sings her first Rosina at Glimmerglass this month.
By Louise T. Guinther 

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Photograph by Dario Acosta Hair and makeup by Affan Graber Malik
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Rising mezzo Emily D’Angelo conquers Glimmerglass as Rosina this month
© Dario Acosta

EMILY D'ANGELO is a mezzo with a mission. “We bring art and joy and visceral human experiences to people who might not have that opportunity every day,” she says.“That’s the job—to be present and emotional and open. It brings challenges, but also a lot of insight and listening and putting yourself into other people’s shoes—which I think we should do more of in society these days.

“Recently I’ve been reading a lot of nonfiction,” she adds. “We live our lives in a fantasy world, and a lot of it is fiction, playing characters, so I think it’s our responsibility to stay as informed as possible—to stay in the present in an art form that is so based in the past, and to bring as much reality to what we’re doing as we possibly can.”

The Toronto, Ontario native’s musical foundation was laid during her years in the Toronto Children’s Chorus. “I loved being part of something bigger than myself,” she says. By her mid teens, she had won her first big solo—Bach’s “Bist du bei mir” with the Toronto Symphony. “The transition to solo singing is a very big one,” she reflects. “It’s a totally different mindset, but it’s great to have the choir background—especially in opera, where you’re working with so many people and collaborating.”

After studies at the University of Toronto, D’Angelo joined the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio before beginning her current stint in the Met’s Lindemann Young Artist Development program. At twenty-three, she has a rich, flexible, darkly gleaming voice, well suited to a fach she defines as “a lot of Rossini, a lot of Handel and Mozart—anything early.” High on her wish list are Strauss’s Octavian and Composer. Right now, she’s savoring her role and company debut as Rosina at Glimmerglass Opera. “It’s an amazing thing to have art at such a high level in a beautiful place surrounded by nature,” she says. 

Considering D’Angelo’s vivid, confident stage persona, it’s a surprise to learn that she didn’t do any musical theater growing up. “I’ve always been interested in acting and drama, and being onstage for sure—but being onstage as something with a purpose,” she says. “I didn’t love when I was in the spotlight just for the sake of being in the spotlight. The personality, I think, goes away—I feel uncomfortable. But when it’s art, when it’s a message to communicate that I’m very earnest to share—then it clicks.” spacer 




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