Soprano Angela Brown Announces Dates for ...FROM A SISTAH'S POINT OF VIEW
Traveling the world as an international opera star, Angela Brown noticed something about audiences. "I would see very few people who looked like me," says Brown. On the surface, it looked like a racial divide, but when Brown performed at schools and universities across the country, she learned that exposure and access also played key roles in the gap. This compelled her to create her show Opera...from a Sistah's Point of View that dispels the myths surrounding the sometimes-intimidating art form called opera. By demonstrating the ethnic, geographic, and socio-economic diversity portrayed in opera characters, she helps people from all walks of life and races find themselves in and enjoy opera. She blows up the preconceived expectations of opera by mixing show-stopping arias, poignant art songs, and moving spirituals with tongue-in-cheek commentary. The show breaks down barriers for audiences that wouldn't necessarily include opera as a part of their entertainment options.
Two summers ago Portland Summerfest presented Angela in the title role of Tosca, found out about her nonprofit Morning Brown, Inc., that bridges the gap between live musical performance and underserved audiences, and jumped at the chance to bring her back in an educational capacity. As a result, she will spend a week in Portland singing for the city's Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration, performing Opera...from a Sistah's Point of View for schools, and speaking with media outlets to promote opera awareness and accessibility. To see the full week of Angela's Portland events, visit Portland Summerfest's site.
"We believe," said Portland SummerFest Board Chair Jocelyn Bates O'Brien, "that opera is for everyone. And our avowed goal is to make it accessible to the wider public. I don't think we could have picked a more powerful way to do that than sharing this extraordinary performer."
The sassy show is gaining momentum around the country for opera outreach. Other recent performances include Atlanta Public Schools and Spelman College in partnership with The Atlanta Opera and Indianapolis Public Schools in partnership with the Community Foundation of Central Indiana and Indianapolis Opera. The 45-minute show includes a Q and A with the audience to ask her anything about her career. An added bonus is an educational video intended to "break the opera ice" by introducing students and teachers to opera lingo, people in the opera field, and characters in opera that reflect a wide diversity of people. Cameos in the video by tenor Lawrence Brownlee, baritone Will Liverman, stage director Omer Ben Seadia, and conductor Keitaro Harada show current opera craftspeople participating in other hobbies and sports. View the educational video on YouTube.
From Portland, Angela heads to Seattle where she will perform the show on Saturday, January 25, at the Northwest African American Museum and make her stage debut with Seattle Operain their production of Charlie Parker's Yardbird in February and March. The role of Addie, Parker's mother, was written for Angela and it has become a signature role for her alongside her traditional roles of Aida, Tosca, and Amelia. On February 4, Seattle Opera will also present Angela in an intimate, cabaret-style performance with pianist John Keene titled Mari, Morrison, Maya, and Me. Showcasing the words and poetry of luminaries Mari Evans, Toni Morrison, and Maya Angelou, Angela performs songs written for her with their lyrics and narrates throughout, giving context and commentary on her relationship with each writer.
Angela Brown's multi-genre career has been lauded on the front page of The New York Times, CNN, CBS, in Oprah Magazine and Reader's Digest. With classical and pops engagements spanning six continents, Angela has graced the leading opera and symphonic stages of the world. Her vocal artistry is featured on the two-time Grammy Award winning recording "Ask Your Mama."