Angela Brown won't necessarily be presenting her program Opera From a Sistah's Point of View on Friday night at First Presbyterian Church. But "any time I sing, it's opera from a sistah's point of view," she says, laughing.
Brown has made her name in the opera world, establishing herself as an Aida for the 21st century on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera and originating roles in operas such as Richard Danielpour's Margaret Garner. But Friday's concert is a homecoming.
The soprano recorded her debut album, Mosaic, at First Presbyterian in December 2003, and she has spent plenty of time in Lexington and on the road with Central Kentucky singers as part of the American Spiritual Ensemble.
"Working with the American Spiritual Ensemble has been an awesome, awesome experience for me," Brown says. "Not only do I get to help preserve the American spiritual, but I also made so many great friends."
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With this concert, Brown also gets to help launch First Presbyterian's philanthropic concert series. Admission to the shows is free because the artists' fees are paid by series patrons. An offering will be taken during intermission, and organizers say 100 percent of the proceeds will go to a designated mission project.
Brown's concert will benefit Central Music Academy, which provides music education for financially disadvantaged children in downtown Lexington.
"Organizations like that helped me get where I am today," Brown said. "I'm humbled that people would consider me a 'draw,' and come see my performance and contribute their hard-earned money to the community."
Five years after her head-turning Met debut as Aida, Brown says she remains surprised by the acclaim for her performances and tries not to get caught up in it. "I keep my head down and do my work," she says, "and I try not to notice being noticed."