Singer in Flower
Angela Brown as herself and in the title role of Aïda at
the Metropolitan Opera.
Is there anyone who wouldn’t like to be there when an unknown
artist becomes famous overnight?
Marlane Linepensel ’07 is in that happy position. When Angela
Brown was announced last year as the Great Artist Series performer
for 2005, Marlane already had discovered her—and without having
read the New York Times announcement: “At last, an
Brown will sing a recital of opera arias (including “Ritorna
vincitor!” from Aïda) and songs by African-American
composers such as William Grant Still and Undine Smith Moore
at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, November 9, in Foy Hall. Tickets and
information: Ext. 1650.
Marlane, from Washington, N.J., had never attended an opera
before her freshman year at Moravian. But she had seen the
Tim Rice-Elton John rock version of Aïda on Broadway when
she was in high school. So in January 2005, she went to see
the Opera Company of Philadelphia production of the Verdi
opera Aïda. And it starred Angela Brown.
Brown is a late bloomer. She did not win the Metropolitan
Opera national auditions until her fourth try, when she was
33, the cutoff age for women singers. She was hired by the
Met for the 2004 season as a “cover”—someone who fills in
when a listed singer cannot perform.
On November 2, she stepped into the last act of Aïda for
an ailing Andrea Gruber and won a roaring ovation for singing
the hardest music in the opera, the duet “O terra, addio,” with its sustained high
She also won the New York Times accolade.
When she sang in Philadelphia, two months later, Marlane
said, Brown was “just fantastic . . . with incredible stage
“What I noticed about her voice was that it was very sweet.
It had a lot of color, and it didn’t sound like that operatic-soprano
Which proves that Marlane has good ears, for the New
York Times’ critic, Anne Midgette, said almost the same
thing: “a big, warm voice capable of trumpeting high notes
or beautiful, melting soft ones.”
“The blood of Verdi courses through your veins,’’ voice teacher
Virginia Zeani told Angela Brown.
“I never wanted to be what I would have described as a screechy
soprano” Brown says. “And now I’m a soprano. I hope I’m not