Who is Angel Blue?


Angel Blue is a 38-year-old American soprano and former beauty queen, acclaimed for her vocal luminosity, who successfully treads the line between classical music and other genres.

Where did she grow up?

She grew up in Apple Valley, California, just north of the San Gabriel mountains.

Did she come from a musical family?

Yes. Her late father, Sylvester, was a classically-trained gospel singer and pastor while her mother, Sylvia, was an educator and keyboard player. Blue and her four siblings could all sing and play instruments (Blue also plays the piano and bass), and would often accompany their father in a trailer on his travels, preaching and singing in churches across the country.

When did she realise she wanted to be a professional singer?

According to family legend, her father realised it before she did, remarking that, even as a baby, she had a big upper chest and a good pair of lungs. 'This is the next Leontyne Price,' he reportedly said. But her journey into the world of performing really began when she was accepted by the L.A County High School for the Arts. She later went on to gain a Music degree at the University of Redlands, California, following this up with a masters in in Music from the University of California, Los Angeles.

And the beauty pageantry?

That's something she did to fund her singing studies at UCLA. She won the titles of Miss Apple Valley, Miss Hollywood and Miss Southern California, but now looks back on that time with mixed feelings, as she told The Times two years ago: “I’m 5ft 11 and a half, and I would be competing against a woman who’s 5”2 with a petite frame. I did have people telling me ‘you’re overweight’.”...it taught me that I don't need to compare myself to other people.'

What kind of repertoire does she sing?

She has sung many operatic roles including Violetta (La Traviata), Musetta and Mimi (La Boheme), Bess (Porgy and Bess) Micaela (Carmen), Lucia (Lucia di Lammermoor), Manon (Manon), Contessa Almaviva (Le Nozze di Figaro), Dido (Dido and Aeneas), and Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni) in venues ranging from the Metropolitan Opera to the Royal Opera House. In 2019 she became the first black woman ever to sing the fully staged role of Mimi at Milan's Teatro alla Scala. But she's equally happy to venture beyond classical music and embrace genres including jazz, spirituals and Spanish zarzuelas.

When can I hear her?

At the BBC Proms on Thursday 8th September, when she will sing two American classics: Samuel Barber's Knoxville: Summer of 1915; and Valerie Coleman's This is Not a Small Voice, accompanied by the Philadelphia Orchestra under Yannick Nézét-Seguin.


Photo: Sonya Garza


Hannah Nepilova is a regular contributor to BBC Music Magazine. She has also written for The Financial Times, The Times, The Strad, Gramophone, Opera Now, Opera, the BBC Proms and the Philharmonia, and runs The Cusp, an online magazine exploring the boundaries between art forms. Born to Czech parents, she has a strong interest in Czech music and culture.