Angel Romero loves food. And he KNOWS food. He also possesses a sublime, natural set of pipes and an easy placement that produce a lyric, sweet tone. But when he wants to turn up the heat, he absolutely delivers.
In Angel’s first year in the Yale Master’s Degree program, he played Tamino in Yale Opera’s very peculiar production of The Magic Flute. I say peculiar because the staging made no sense at all, quite frankly. (This season’s luscious production of Eugene Onegin, however made up for that.) In my review of Eugene Onegin, I mentioned that the acting was the best I have seen from the Yale Opera productions, and Angel’s flamboyant performance as Monsieur Triquet was no exception, and the audience loved him.
New Haven’s audiences frequently stand at curtain fall, (as a New Yorker, I am a bit more reserved regarding standing ovations) but it is rare to see people stand for student recitals, aside from the artist’s family and friends. However at Angel’s recital, which took place this past Sunday, I saw audience members who are otherwise not connected to Angel, stand. And they were not lemming standers; they shot out of their seats, anxious to show him their appreciation. I listened to them talk to each other as they left Sprague Hall, and they were glowing in their praise of his lyricism and his sensitivity to the text. I too, am an audience member who was so impressed with his performance, I invited Angel out to lunch the day after, so that I could find out a little more about him.
We met at Tarry Lodge (a favorite place of mine) and Angel was already familiar with the menu to the point that he asked if he could order something special for me, for which he insisted upon paying. I could tell that I was in the presence of someone who is as passionate about food as he is about music. (And he was right, the dish was amazing)
When both your parents make their livings as cooks, you will probably grow up learning a few things about cooking, and that is certainly the case with Angel. He is the youngest in his family of all boys, and grew up in a small town just outside of Houston, Texas. No one in his family makes their living in music, but he certainly is not lacking in familial support. His older brothers paid for his undergraduate program, with the caveat that if he was unsuccessful, he would have to pay them back. Motivated by their love and support, and fearful of having to reimburse them, he graduated with mostly A’s and a few B’s from Houston Baptist University. Upon graduation, he was accepted into Indiana University, Rice, University of Texas, and UCLA, and Yale; all of them offering scholarships, and decided upon Yale because it is…well, Yale!
Angel’s recital showed that his time at Yale was well spent. His program included works by Mozart, Richard Strauss, Rachmaninoff, Robert Schumann, and Roger Quilter’s sublime, To Julia, Op.8. It was this selection of songs that caused this listener to completely melt. For this section, the superb Douglas Dickson’s piano was joined with a string quartet. Angel’s voice suits these beautiful songs so perfectly. His high pianissimos were exquisite, but Angel also possesses a powerful and riveting forte, as well.
Angel’s next performance at Yale will be in May at Sprague Hall again, in a performance of Stravinsky’s Le Rossignol which will play alongside Menotti’s, The Old Maid and the Thief. After this, Angel will be graduating, and then he will be off to Santa Fe Opera for the summer.
Preferring a concert career over Opera, and preferring smaller towns to big cities, Angel will be going back to Texas, to re-unite with his family and his girlfriend. I wish this delightful guy and wonderful artist all the very best for what I know will be a dazzling future.
Yale Opera’s productions of Le Rossignol and The Old Maid and the Thief will be at Sprague Hall on May 3rd and 4th