Special FeaturesChecking In With… Porgy and Bess Star Angel BlueThe soprano sings Bess opposite Eric Owens in the July 17 PBS broadcast of the opera, part of the Great Performances at the Met series.
July 15, 2020
As the temporary shutdown of Broadway and theatres around the world continues, Playbill is reaching out to some of our favorite artists to see how they are physically and creatively responding to a changed world.
The series continues with opera star Angel Blue, who has sung with companies including the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna State Opera, La Scala, Dresden Opera, San Francisco Opera, Frankfurt Opera, the Aix Festival, and the Royal Opera House. She recently launched a weekly talk show via Facebook and YouTube, Faithful Friday, in which she has interviewed such guests as Laverne Cox, Cat Cora, and Thomas Hampson, about how to stay encouraged during the ongoing pandemic.
Blue can also be seen as Bess in the July 17 PBS broadcast of Porgy and Bess, opposite Eric Owens as Porgy, as part of the Great Performances at The Met series. The James Robinson-helmed production made its New York premiere in September 2019 following runs at the English National Opera and Dutch National Opera. The Metropolitan Opera staging features choreography by Tony nominee Camille A. Brown (Choir Boy, Once on This Island).
What is your typical day like now? My day is pretty much the same as it was before the quarantine. I start my day with a morning devotional/meditation and exercise that helps me to focus on what I hope to accomplish that day. My day consists of having more time to get things done. I’ve been taking online intensive French courses and have learned two new operas in the past three months, which is very nice because I have not had to rush my learning process. (In 2018, I learned three roles in flight. I learned Marguerite in Faust traveling from Singapore to Los Angeles, Bess in PorgyandBess flying from Sydney, Australia, to Astana, Kazakhstan, and I learned the Beethoven 9th Symphony flying from Los Angeles to Cincinnati.) The best part about my day is being able to spend so much time with my family. The past few months have not been rushed for anything, and I love that!!
What book/TV show/podcast/film should everyone take the time to consume during this period? My family and I just finished watching all of StarWars and BacktotheFuture! Until this time I had not seen either film. I would suggest watching these two films. I also watched TheBoys on Amazon Prime and all eight seasons of Homeland on Showtime. I’m hoping for Season 2 of TheBoys. Homeland was amazing! I’ve always loved Claire Danes, and she was amazing as Carrie Mathison. Brava, Claire!! In April, I finished reading The Soul of America by Jon Meacham. It took me about eight months to finish the book.
What advice would you give to someone who may be struggling with the isolation? You’re not alone, and all of us are truly in this difficult time together. That may sound cliché, however, everyone is trying to get through this difficult time. Most of us have not lived through a pandemic. The virus—coupled with the social issues that are taking the world by storm—makes our current situation extremely volatile. If someone is struggling during this time I would advise them to reach out to a friend or family member who can help them. Also, there are support groups who can provide tips and tools to help those who are having difficulties with coping in isolation.
How are you keeping your creative juices flowing? I’ve kept my creative juices flowing by keeping my mind active. Learning new music, making green screen music videos, starting a web talk show on my social media channels called Faithful Friday, and also showcasing young talent from around the world in my Sunday Recital Series has kept me busy. These are ideas that I’ve had for years, but because my singing schedule was so intense I did not have the time to focus on them as much as I wanted. Now I have the time to do these projects, and they make me so happy!
Are you working on any theatrical projects during this time? Yes, thank you for that question. I’m currently working on a few virtual concerts with some of my opera singer colleagues. We’re hoping to present these concerts sometime in August.
What organization(s) would you recommend people learn more about or donate to during this time of change? There is an organization called Time In Kids in New York. Time In Kids is a groundbreaking opera and visual arts initiative that has brought some of New York’s youngest, most at-risk public school children out of underserved classrooms. The organization is doing a virtual summer camp for the students, and I’m very happy to be a part of their summer program. During this difficult and scary time, it is important to remember the children and teenagers in our communities.