Following a packed house at Central Park SummerStage, the free series will be continuing on Friday, June 24 at 7 pm at Brooklyn Bridge Park. The concert will feature the legendary pianist Dan Saunders as well as soprano Angel Blue, who will debut at the Met in a future season. Tenor Ben Bliss and baritone Alexey Lavrov will join them.
Soprano Michelle Bradley will perform alongside Saunders, tenor Kang Wang and baritone Yunpeng Wang at the concert in Socrates Sculpture Park in Astoria on Monday, July 11 at 7 p.m.. Wang, Bradley and Wang are members of the Met’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. Together, they will perform arias and duets from various operas including Rigoletto, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, La Traviata, and La Bohème.
Bradley said she never expected to take part in a concert series this big, with crowds having with more than 1,000 audience members. She never even listened to opera until she went to college, Kentucky State University, about 10 years ago. There, her professor Andrew Smith and his wife Wilhelmina Fernandez, taught her about opera. Smith gave her an album of an opera and Bradley walked all around campus listening to it on a walkman. She still hasn’t returned the CD to this day.
One of the reasons why Bradley was honored to be asked to do the concert series was because this is an opportunity for people who may not be familiar with opera to get to experience it.
“People who come to the Met all the time are well versed in opera and they know what they are looking for when singers are on stage,” Bradley said. “But for people who may have never heard an opera or have heard it but didn’t understand it, this concert is to bring them in and inspire more people to support opera more.”
“It’s a great art form and it’s something you don’t want to lose,” she added. “Pop music is a part of our culture so much and other musical genres are so often overlooked, especially amongst young people."
While people may expect to listen to slower-paced music, Bradley is thrilled that she has the opportunity to sing a more upbeat piece that could get the audience on the feet.
“You’re introducing someone to something new, you have to start off light,” she said. ”We were very thoughtful in planning the program to make sure that non-opera goers could understand even if they don’t understand Italian, French or German."