Soprano Angela Brown receives lifetime achievement award
June 25, soprano opera Angela Brown received the first Lifetime Achievement Award from The Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts (CAAPA) for his impactful career and his personal commitment to the diversity of role models, performers, educators and audiences in the arts. The presentation was part of CAAPA’s 20th Anniversary Gala Concert at Prince George Community College Center for the Arts in Maryland, which included Angela’s signature show, Opera…from a Sistah’s Point of View: Generation Next.
Angela’s dedication to diversifying opera audiences began over 20 years ago. As she sang on stages around the world, she says she noticed something about the audience: “I saw very few people who looked like me.” So she created a solo show, Opera…from a Sistah’s Point of View, to shamelessly demonstrate the great diversity displayed in opera. She wanted to help people see themselves in the characters and stories of opera.
Angela is known for her big personality and comedic timing, on and off stage. His witty retelling of operatic plots from his perspective demystifies opera so that people feel like they belong in the audience and on the stage. She copyrighted the show’s title in 1997 and began offering it as a means of outreach when performing with opera companies, symphonies and concert series. It caught on and was featured on CNN.
In 2015, she founded Morning Brown, Inc., a nonprofit initiative that bridges the gap between accessible music programs and historically excluded communities. Morning Brown acts as an umbrella for several programs, including its extended version of the show: Opera…from a Sistah’s Point of View: Generation Next. This release spotlights emerging black singers of all genres and has been featured by Cincinnati Opera, Birmingham Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Elon University and CAAPA. She enjoys mentoring young artists and offering them a platform by her side.
Generation Next shows have featured young and rapidly rising artists, including countertenor Key’mon Murrah, baritone Reginald Smith, Jr., soprano Alexandria Crichlow, bass-baritone Christian Simmons and others. University music schools, conservatories and artist-in-residence programs of opera companies are its target. Angela aims to give up-and-coming black artists performance opportunities in a show designed to celebrate their musical gifts, potential and personality.
CAAPA, a national organization that actively promotes opportunities for black classical musicians through performance, education and outreach, profiled the career and founding of Angela Brown, Morning Brown, Inc., in a proper tribute video as part of the celebration.
Photo: Catrilia Watson