Emily D’Angelo: NT’s Claim to Fame

Article reprinted with permission from Graffiti, The Voice of NT.

The 2022 Juno Awards are fast approaching, and while I don’t know much about the nominees, I do know one thing: this year, North Toronto C.I. has a personal connection.

Emily D’Angelo, NT alum of 2012, is nominated for the 2022 Juno Awards in the Best Classical Album Award (Solo) category for her album enargeia, featuring newly-interpreted works from the 12th and 21st centuries.

In May 2021, she signed with Deutsche Grammophon (the biggest classical music label in the world) as an exclusive recording artist for them, and the album came out in October, only five months after signing. NPR named it one of the 50 best albums of 2021, featured it on their 100 best songs of 2021, and CBC called it the best Canadian classical album of 2021.

D’Angelo is a University of Toronto graduate, earning a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance before joining the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio. She is a graduate of the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio, and the Ravinia Steans Institute.

The 28-year-old vocalist has already had endless accomplishments in her short time in the spotlight, including being a Lincoln Center Emerging Artist, the first and only vocalist to win the Leonard Bernstein Award from the Schleswig Holstein Festival, Canada’s “Top 30 Under 30” Classical Musicians, WQXR NYC Public Radio’s “40 Under 40,” and various (endless) opera-singing competitions.

Although she studied and later pursued vocal performance in university, she played cello during her time at NT. In 2016, D’Angelo made a sort of “encore” at her high school to perform a solo in Mozart’s Requiem, flooring everyone who heard her powerful and beautiful voice.

She captured the attention of Ms. Monteith, recently retired NT teacher, who had nothing but kind words to say about the successful star. Ms. Monteith got to know D’Angelo in grade 10 or 11 when she overheard her cello playing — “focused on getting a passage of the music they were playing, not just right, but actively working at making it sound very expressive.” Clearly, this desire to perfect the emotion that goes into her music has taken her far, as did her parents “[telling] her to follow what she felt was her greatest passion,” and her singing teacher, who “strongly encouraged her to explore developing the potential that her voice has.”

In an homage to her high school-born love for cello, many of her recordings feature a cello as a duet partner. This makes sense, as her character has remained true; “She doesn’t seem to have an ego — even after she’s won so many opera competitions, she is still the same friendly and appreciative person she was in high school,” says Ms. Monteith. “Her career is taking off into the stratosphere, but her feet are still planted on the ground, in this nod to her high school self.”

As of now, D’Angelo is in various operas, performing in numerous productions and projects across the globe.

Even people who don’t love opera will remember D’Angelo’s voice forever. You can listen to her album and more works on Spotify, Apple Music, Youtube Music — and you should.

—Katie Distin

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