Skip to main content

The Readiness Is All

By F. Paul Driscoll

Angela Meade as Norma at the Met
Angela Meade as Norma at the Met

© Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

ON THE AFTERNOON of Friday, March 17, the Metropolitan Opera announced that the title role in that evening’s performance of Norma would be sung by Angela Meade, due to the indisposition of soprano Sonya Yoncheva. Meade had last sung Norma in New York in 2017, during the first season the Met presented David McVicar’s production of Bellini’s opera. I later learned from a post on Meade’s Instagram account that she got the call to fill in as Norma on Thursday, March 16, when she was at home on the West Coast. Meade caught a red-eye flight and, after some harrowing delays, arrived in New York just a few hours before the performance on Friday evening. As soon as I knew that Meade would be singing Norma, I requested tickets. I was rewarded with an exhilarating performancenot just from Meade, who was splendid in every way, but from all of her fellow cast members, chorus as well as principals. It was an unforgettable night at the opera.

Since the Met emerged from its long Covid shutdown in autumn 2021, the members of the company have accomplished a succession of near-miracles of scheduling, with performers replacing one another on little or no notice. In May 2022, I saw the Met’s first two performances of Brett Dean’s Hamlet; four of the performers in the opening-night cast, on May 13, were out of the show at the second scheduled performance of the run five days later, but Neil Armfield’s production still looked smashing, with all the singers in top form.

These last-minute jump-ins are a testament to the years of hard work and training by the artists who work in opera, onstage and offstage. Their discipline is heroic. They stand in perpetual readiness to support their colleagues and keep the curtain up.

Editor in Chief

The opinions expressed in OPERA NEWS do not necessarily represent the views of The Metropolitan Opera Guild or The Metropolitan Opera.

Letters to the Editor:

70 Lincoln Center Plaza
New York, NY 10023-6593