While mainstream media is all abuzz about the upcoming Royal Wedding of future princess Kate Middleton to Prince William, the world of opera has its own ‘royal wedding’ to celebrate. Internationally acclaimed soprano Angela M. Brown moments ago shared an exclusive about her recent wedding in Paris, France. It is was no mistake when after Brown sang the role of the Ethiopian Princess in Aïda for her Metropolitan Opera debut, The New York Times declared “At last an Aida.” In fact, it is one of the many sparkling ‘jewels’ to adorn her crown of accomplishments, which she wears with the epitome of grace.
Ms. Brown took a moment to reflect on her new life with her husband, Blaise Argelier and in her new role as a mother to Argelier’s three children. “Blaise and I met here in Paris at the Paris Bastille Opera House. I was doing my debut as Amelia in Ballo and he was also in the opera. At the time we were both in relationships, but a year or so later , when I came back to do a reprise of the same show our relationships were over, so we began to see each other. Things progressed, by way of skype...a beautiful piece of technology, and bloomed into a wonderful friendship. “ said Brown.
Argelier visited Brown for the first time and the two fell in love. “He came to visit me the first time in Vienna, when I was doing my Vienna Opera debut in Ballo and the relationship was set! We visited each other in Paris and America. We traveled to Shanghai, China and had Christmas together in America. We decided to marry and make our family complete. So, we began to plan. We wanted to do something very small, inexpensive and private. We thought about Las Vegas, but we needed to do all the paperwork for him so it would be legal in the states and in France. Then we said let's do it in Paris...but it was the same thing as far as paperwork is concerned for me too.” Brown explained.
It all worked out. Paris is perhaps the most romantic place in the world and provided the perfect backdrop for the two lovebirds. Economically speaking, Paris was also more convenient. Having the wedding in Paris made it possible for Argelier’s mother and three children to attend, without having to worry about the expense of a flight to America. Brown’s mother passed away in 2008, but was there in spirit “We decided to marry in Paris, because let's face it, it sounds more romantic to get married in Paris than in Indianapolis!” Brown said jokingly.
The couple decided to have an April spring wedding in Paris “What better month...after all it would be springtime in Paris.” said the soprano. With a choice between April 15th or April 22nd, they chose the 22nd to avoid tax day in the states. So with the date being set, the excited couple went on to make wedding plans. In the all of the excitement, it never occurred to them that the date they chose was indeed Good Friday. Nevertheless, full of joy, happiness and sheer excitement, the two went with that date. The couple decided to marry at the mairie in Paris, which is the equivalent to the justice of the peace in America. “The idea was to have a civil ceremony in Paris and a church wedding in America. We have still to decide if and when the American one will take place.” said Brown. The original ceremony was only to include the happy couple and four witnesses. What was to be a small ceremony turned into a full wedding.
Brown and her Prince Charming began to think about a theme for their special day. With the groom having an affinity for the vintage look, they both favored a 50’s inspired chic feel for the wedding. In contrast to the royal wedding gown of Princess Diana, which was long and now the upcoming excitement about the same possibility with the future princess’ gown, Brown shared her love of a short dress for her special day. “ I always wanted a short dress. My mother wore a short dress to her wedding. And besides, I get to wear big flowing gowns every other weekend or so with my performances. So, a long gown was not a big thrill for me. I wanted something short and form fitting.”
Keeping in the economical vein, Brown found the perfect dress online from the famous chain, David’s Bridal. ”I was able to walk right into a store in Indianapolis, pick out the same dress and it was my size! I found a veil I adored there too! I bought them on the spot...it was meant to be.” she said proudly. The fact that this singer of great stature, presence and accomplishment proudly chose David Bridal for her wedding gown speaks to her “realness” and ability to identify with people of all backgrounds, not losing the ‘common touch.’ “In the same way that Diana was considered The People’s Princess, Angela Brown brings opera to the community through her concert Opera From A Sista’s Point View.” said Terri Allen, Co-Founder of Coalition for African American in the Performing Arts, a non-profit arts organization based in Washington, D. C., whose focus is ‘bringing color to the classics.’
In the midst of planning for her wedding, Brown still had to keep up with her numerous performances. “While I was planning the wedding I had to continue to keep up with my performance schedule. So, I would buy articles for my wedding along the way. I had my bouquet and boutineers and corsages done in Lexington, KY. Yes, the bouquet is silk! Spring wisteria flowers bought from Michael's craft store. A professional florist went with me and helped me pick out flowers of the season and made it for me,so I had a very real effect! And it makes a great centerpiece when placed in a vase. I will always have something to remember that special day. My shoes and purse also came from a store in Lexington.” Brown shared.
Every thing seemed to be going perfect. Many of the of the services that were used were either given as gifts to the glowing couple or discounted because of Argelier’s relationship with the vendors. But just two days before the wedding, Brown shared that wedding the photographer needed to catch a train at 5 p.m., but the wedding was at 3 p.m. The photographer asked if he could he take all the pictures needed before the wedding. The couple said “no.” “So, we got a subsitute. He called the day before the wedding with the flu! “ Brown explained further. Like a true prince, Brown’s husband- to -be made sure that everything went off without a hitch, taking care of everything so that his princess would have a magical day that was stress free. Miraculously, the next day the photographer who previously had to catch the train, showed up just as the couple were about to walk into the hall of the mairie. Brown’s brother and his family were not able to attend the wedding, but were able to witness the occasion thanks to modern day computer technology via Mac. During the ceremony, the beaming bride and groom were presented their rings by the groom’s youngest son. What would any wedding ceremony be without music. Brown sang ‘The Lord Prayer’ prior to the presentation of the rings. After the two sealed the nuptials with a kiss, they enjoyed a magnificent reception of Thai cuisine at the Num Restaurant. Aside from the traditional happenings at a wedding reception, a twist was a belly dancer bringing in the wedding cake.
This was a royal wedding indeed, with opera’s princess, planning every detail with her prince. Two new beautiful jewels have been placed in her royal crown, which now bear the gems of a loving wife and mother.