Great Artists Series ’22: Angel Blue, soprano and Douglas Sumi, piano

April 24, 2022
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Where: E. Desmond Lee Concert Hall, 560 Music Center

When: Sunday, April 24 at 7:00pm

Edison Box Office: 314-935-6543

The Lady of the Harbor by Lee Hoiby

Ne poy krasavitsa primne by Rachmaninov
Zdes Khorosho
V’molchani Nochi

Piano Solo: Reflets dans l’eau from Images I by Claude Debussy

Stille Tränen by Schumann

Allerseelen by Strauss


Piano Solo: The Man I Love arranged for solo piano by George Gershwin
Summertime by George Gershwin
Youkali by Kurt Weill

Winter Song by Lee Hoiby
There came a wind like a bugle

My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord arr. Margaret Bonds
You can tell the World
Deep River arr. H.T Burleigh
Ride on King Jesus

“The sumptuously voiced soprano Angel Blue is radiant, capturing both the pride and fragility of the character.”


Angel Blue has emerged in recent seasons as one of the most important sopranos before the public today. On September 23, 2019 she opened the Metropolitan Opera’s 2019/2020 season as Bess in a new production of George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess; she will reprise this role at the Met in Fall 2021. These performances followed her internationally praised French Opera debut and role debut as Floria Tosca at the Aix-en-Provence Festival in July of 2019. She has also been praised for performances in many other theaters, such as the Vienna State Opera, Semperoper Dresden, San Francisco Opera, Seattle Opera, Theater an der Wien, Oper Frankfurt, and San Diego Opera. In the current season, Ms. Blue will make her debut at the Staatsoper Berlin in the title role of Tosca. She will also appear in recital at Carnegie Hall, in concert in Malta and at the Carmel Bach Festival, and in galas in St. Petersburg and Santa Fe. On September 27, 2021, Ms. Blue made history by performing the role of Destiny/Loneliness/Greta in Terrance Blanchard’s Fire Shut up in My Bones, the first production at the Metropolitan Opera by a Black composer. 

Puccini’s La Boheme has played an especially prominent role in the development of Angel Blue’s career. She made her United States operatic debut as Musetta at the Los Angeles Opera in 2007 while a member of the company’s Young Artist Program and subsequently made her debut at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan in the same role. As Mimi, she has won special international acclaim. Ms. Blue first sang the role at the English National Opera in London in 2014 and has since sung Mimi for her debuts at the Palau de Les Arts in Valencia in 2015, at the Vienna State Opera in 2016, and with the Canadian Opera Company in 2019. Mimi was also the role of her Metropolitan Opera debut in 2017, and it is as Mimi that she will debut this season at the Hamburg State Opera. In Germany, she has already been heard as Mimi at the Semperoper Dresden. Other recent operatic engagements have included her debuts as Liu in Turandot at the San Diego Opera in 2018, as Marguerite in Faust at the Portland Opera in 2018 and as Bess in Porgy and Bess in Seattle in the same year. She debuted in Baden Baden as Elena in Mefistofele in 2016 and sang her first Violetta in La Traviata at the Seattle Opera in 2017, a role she also sang in the 2018/19 season for her debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and her return to the Teatro alla Scala. In the 2019/2020 season, Ms. Blue made her debut at the Hamburg State Opera as Mimi. She also became the first African-American to receive the Beverly Sills Award from the Metropolitan Opera in 2020. 

Also active on the concert platform, Ms. Blue has appeared in recital and in concert in over thirty-five countries. Important orchestral engagements have included Porgy and Bess at the Berliner Philharmoniker under Sir Simon Rattle and with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Marin Alsop, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with the Münchener Philharmoniker under the baton of Zubin Mehta, and Verdi’s Requiem in Sydney, Australia with Oleg Caetani. She has also sung Strauss’s Vier Letzte Lieder and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Peri in Schumann’s Das Paradis und die Peri with the Accademia Santa Cecilla in Rome, conducted by Daniele Gatti, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Cincinnati Symphony under Music Director Louis Langree. Ms. Blue debuted in recital at the Ravinia Festival in August of 2019, after which she joined many of her international colleagues at the 2019 Richard Tucker Gala at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Angel Blue was raised in California and completed her musical studies at UCLA. She was a member of the Young Artists Program at the Los Angeles Opera, after which she moved to Europe to begin her
international career at the Palau de les Arts in Valencia, Spain in 2009 and at the Verbier Festival in 2010. She subsequently appeared at the Theater an der Wien in The Rape of Lucretia (female chorus) and as Giulietta in Les Contes d’Hoffmann in a production created by Oscar-award-winning director William Friedkin. Blue also debuted in Frankfurt as the 3rd Norn in Götterdämmerung and returned to the United States as Clara in Porgy and Bess at the Seattle Opera in 2011. She also appeared as Micaela in Carmen with the Israeli Philharmonic and in Verdi’s Requiem with the Cincinnati Symphony under the late Raphael Frubeck de Burgos.

Angel Blue is represented by Zemsky Green Artists Management, New York, NY.

American pianist, Douglas Sumi, is a frequent collaborator with many of today’s artists and opera theaters. He is a versatile artist, comfortable in the capacities of pianist, coach, and assistant conductor, and has a recognized commitment to song and opera. He has assisted conductors such as James Conlon, Patrick Summers, Michele Mariotti, and Emmanuel Villaume. He has worked with artists such as Renée Fleming, Plácido Domingo, Carol Vaness, Sir Thomas Allen, Vladimir Chernov, Linda Watson, Joyce DiDonato, Charles Castronovo, Juan Diego Flórez, Alek Shrader, Ailyn Pérez, Jamie Barton, Ryan McKinny, Angel Blue, Janai Brugger, and members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Opera Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, and Boston Symphony Orchestra. Most notably, he collaborated with Renée Fleming in recital, after their work together in A Streetcar Named Desire. He has performed throughout Europe and North America, including the Kennedy Center for the Arts.

Sumi served for many seasons on music staff at Los Angeles Opera and is an alumnus of their young artist program. He has also worked for the Metropolitan Opera: Live in HD, New York City Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, New Orleans Opera Company, Wolf Trap Opera Company, Indianapolis Opera, Ash Lawn Opera Festival, American Opera Projects, Pacific Opera Projects and his alma mater, the Manhattan School of Music, as Assistant Coach to English diction expert, Kathryn LaBouff. In Russia, he has given master classes at the St. Petersburg Conservatory and Galina Vishnevskaya’s Opera Center. In Mexico, he premiered La Paloma y el Ruiseñor at the Cultural Festival of Mazatlán. He has led singers to top prizes of premiere competitions including Plácido Domingo’s Operalia, the Metropolitan National Council Auditions, BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, Neue Stimmen, Licia Albanese Competition, Gerda Lissner Competition, Giulio Gari Competition, Palm Springs Opera Guild Competition, the Dallas Opera Guild Competition and the Richard Tucker Foundation.

As a piano teacher himself, he has guided students of collaborative piano to earn acceptance into programs at the Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, Mannes College of Music and New England Conservatory. While residing in Los Angeles, he was on faculty at UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of Music, fastidiously guiding students through innovative recitals, original works and opera productions, and still maintains a vibrant private teaching studio in southern California. He has curated countless recitals with many singers over the years, promoting the relevancy of art song literature. In addition to his many responsibilities, Sumi began making a path for himself in chamber music. A cofounder of Prospect Park Chamber Players, he regularly creates and performs a variety of programs in the greater Los Angeles area. In addition to coaching singers at Boston University’s School of Music, he teaches courses in song literature, lyric diction, and opera for pianists.

**All programs subject to change

Co-Sponsored by the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity & Equity. Additional financial assistance has been provided by The Missouri Arts Council and the Robert H. Orchard Fund