Photo: Metropolitan Opera.
Angela Meade and Jamie Barton both delivered tremendous performances in last night's Norma at the Met, causing some old-school pandemonium in the house. Meade sang with a degree of dramatic involvement that I hadn't yet seen from this greatly gifted soprano. It was a considerable advance on her Caramoor Norma, which was already very fine. She may be even stronger on Monday, her only other night in this run; in "Casta diva," she seemed a little on edge and short of breath. Soon enough, she settled in, and by the end she had taken full, fiery command of the stage. As for Barton, she is a fresh wonder of the opera world, possessing a voice of preternatural beauty and power. She has a remarkable ability to keep the vocal line afloat amid pauses for breath; she'd swell on a note, take a breath, and then resume at even greater volume, tricking the ear into thinking that the phrase had never been broken. To see these young artists reveling together in their voices makes you believe unswervingly in the future of the art.