Angela Allen

Some reflections on the 2015 Portland Jazz Festival

Festival curators did a first-class job of mixing up big names and smaller ones, international hotshots with local stars.

Originally Published in Oregon ArtsWatch March 2015

Take superstar Kurt Elling, who crooned an hour-plus of ‘60s-era Sinatra hits in the first week of the annual Portland Jazz Festival, which ran from Feb. 18-March 1. Read More

Musicians Edgar Meyer, Mike Marshall and George Meyer

Chamber Music Northwest review: Category-busting Collaboration

Musicians Edgar Meyer, Mike Marshall and George Meyer lit up the string-fired pyrotechnics in Chamber Music Northwest’s “In Motion” performance.

Originally Published in Oregon ArtsWatch July 2014

If any dance company avoids the obvious, it’s Portland’s 17-year-old imaginative and ultra-flexible BodyVox, which cannot be wedged into any genre or box, no matter how big and bendable the container. Ballet? Modern? Jazz? Full-stage projected videos? Computer graphics as backdrops? Opera collaborators? Wacky. Whimsical. The innovative company’s technically solid members make just about any move in a mix of styles, and make you laugh at their clever movement as they unfold, unlock and untangle. In what has evolved into a Portland starry summer tradition and star-spangled collaboration, BodyVox paired up with Chamber Music Northwest over the Fourth of July weekend. Read More

Charlie Dennard's Musical Gumbo

Music preview: Charlie Dennard’s musical gumbo

Charlie Dennard, Cirque du Soleil music director, cooks up a tasty gumbo on his brand-new CD, "From Brazil to New Orleans."

Originally Published in Oregon ArtsWatch April 2014

In Charlie Dennard’s multi-continental musical world, fusion is anything but a dirty word. Then again, when the term is limited to the passé, 1970s-era quasi-mind-bending melding of rock, funk and electronic music, it does translate as a four-letter word to Dennard, though he doesn’t swear too much. The 45-year-old jazz musician/ composer/Cirque du Soleil musical director is as conscious of his polite French roots reaching back centuries into American history (his label is Deneaux Music) as he is of his Southern heritage. Dennard’s southern ingredients include a childhood in Birmingham, Ala., and an adult life, off and on in New Orleans. He studied with jazz pianist Ellis Marsalis (father of brothers Wynton, Branford, et al.) in the late ‘90s at the University of New Orleans, where he earned a master’s degree in music. Read More

Portland Opera's Postcard from Morocco

More Beckett than Bellini

Portland Opera preview: Dominic Argento's chamber opera, Postcard from Morocco, that took Portland by surprise this season

Originally Published in Oregon ArtsWatch March 2014

Love and death are opera’s go-to themes, but erase those traditional expectations when Postcard from Morocco opens Friday for a four-performance premier run at Portland’s Newmark Theater. Expect a brew of Beckett-like suspense flavored with quirky characters with such names as Woman with a Hatbox and Man with a Shoe Sample Kit. Instead of a conventional orchestra, eight instruments – guitar, alto saxophone and trombone included – will accompany the seven singers. Read More

Bloody Fun Opera

Portland Opera's production of Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor is a bloody good time

Originally Published in Oregon ArtsWatch February 2014

Scottish moors and forbidding towers have ways of inspiring violence and insanity. Even Lady MacBeth’s blood-stained dress pales against Lucia’s blood-soaked wedding gown in Portland Opera’s Lucia di Lammermoor, which opened Friday at Keller Auditorium for a two-weekend run. Read More

Melodic and lovey-dovey

Angela previews “La Rondine,” a much neglected Puccini opera.

Originally Published in Oregon ArtsWatch April 2013

Everybody knows his “Madame Butterfly,” “La Boheme” and “Tosca,” but why is Giacomo Puccini’s “La Rondine” (“The Swallow”), which opens Friday at Portland State University’s Lincoln Performance Hall, so rarely seen or even heard of? Read More

Soprano Angela Meade sings Bellini’s Norma

Angela covers up-and-coming Northwest-born diva Angela Meade at the Astoria Music Festiva

Originally Published in Oregon ArtsWatch June 2012

Angela Meade was originally approached to sing the title role of Vincenzo Bellini’s tragic opera Norma for the 2010 Caramoor Festival in New York’s Westchester County. The Northwest native knew it would pose an immense challenge. The role “requires so much of a singer vocally, technically, emotionally,” Meade said. “Norma is consumed with so many different emotions. She’s betrayed by her best friend who is sleeping with the father of her children. She has so much anger that she wants to kill her children. She has a crazy amount of emotional demands.” Read More