Miggeul Anggelo perfecting a new Cabaret for Tomorrow
by Larry Murray
This is a story about an artist who has studied every aspect of the arts, performing and visual, and then erased the blackboard and started the process of creation anew. Migguel Anggelo is truly one of a kind.
Prelude: There are two kinds of cabaret performances. One is the American version. They sing exquisitely polite but emotionally charged songs delivered with squinty eyes and tremulous voices in elegant, upscale hotel lounges. These are sweet, subtle and sublime performances that touch the heart. Gently. The singers are, well, ever so sophisticated, and specialize in the American songbook and writers of musical theatre. Some – like Joe Iconis and his pals – go out on the limb and get raucous and others – like Alysha Umphress channel the torch singers of yore. And I love them all. You can’t go wrong with cabaret, and in the Berkshires, there’s really only one place to hear the full range of it, at Mr. Finn’s Cabaret at Barrington Stage Company. They will be announcing their summer’s offerings soon.
The Main Act: But today we look at the other kind – the more European, continental sort that performs in pubs and tinsel draped bars, performers who offer performances more like what you saw in the musical Cabaret where there’s a whole lot of heightened reality going on in addition to the songs. It’s American cabaret on steroids, and not for the gentle traditionalist but rather for those who live for surprises and a trip into the fantastical. I have seen only a few who meet this criteria and Migguel Anggelo is one of them.
Today only a few performers raise the musical stakes, with an emotionally charged style of delivery that combines great musicality with an over the top personality. Sometimes it can be like a day in the locked ward without any Thorazine to calm things down. Or dinner and drinks with Salvatore Dali and Frida Kahlo. By the end of the performance both you and the artist are completely drained. And in a state of ecstasy.
I adore the energy and imagination that develops when you remove all the inhibitions and just let an artist soar. This video captures Migguel Anggelo at the height of his art. Combining dramatic staging, choreography, and music ranging from pop to opera with snippets of rock, horror and The Star Spangled Banner, el cantante constructs a song cycle that culminates with Non, je ne regrette rien, the anthem of the great chanteuse Edith Piaf, in a song that sums up her life: “No, I have no regrets.”
Anggelo is a force to be reckoned with. His energy is so contagious that you can’t help but become engrossed by his intensity, piercing eyes and poetry, and then two seconds later, he has you in stitches with his animated facial expressions and quirky sense of humor.” – Latin Post
The polyglot Migguel Anggelo is a Brooklyn-based, Venezuelan-born dynamo known for his electric stage performances. Anggelo cut his teeth in the worlds of musical theater and opera and returns to Joe’s Pub on April 20, 2015 (and again on June 23) with his virtuosic band and a brand new kaleidoscope of vocal theatrics and poetic storytelling. Through his original compositions and reinterpretations of Latin, folk, pop, and opera works, and with themes touching upon art, history, immigration, homelessness and dictatorship, the artist paints the stories of larger-than-life characters that draw parallels between their passions and struggles and his own desires and dreams.
He has a lot more on his website: http://www.migguelanggelo.com
The Joe’s Pub performance will celebrate the release of Migguel’s new album La Casa Azul, produced by Mau Quiros and mixed by Grammy winner Felipe Tichauer. Again, here is a stunning video made as a tribute to Frida Kahlo who captured the singer’s imagination. Frida’s marriage with husband Diego Rivera was non-traditional, to say the least.
Musical Direction by Mau Quiros in a new show directed by the fabulous and Obie winning David Drake.
Migguel Anggelo thrills audiences with his bold voice, winning smile, swiveling hips, and radiant charm.” – Broadway World
“I’ve always been obsessed with music. My father, a chef, was constantly singing and listening to music while tending to his own craft in the kitchen, while my mother, a ballet dancer, always danced around the house to Spanish boleros or classical music.”
For someone whose early life was filled with such a range of artistic influences, Migguel Anggelo could have limited himself to one of the many talents that came naturally to him, acting, dancing, singing, writing, and painting among them. Instead, he chose to do it all.
Born in Venezuela, Migguel Anggelo first fell in love with the theater as a child playing Pinocchio, a character that battles with fact and fiction. It was then that he discovered the integral role of fantasy in storytelling, and began to imagine real and imagined characters that could illustrate the many facets of his own experience.
He trained for a dozen years in classical ballet and studied opera in the Conservatory of Music in Cologne, Germany. He loves the drama and discipline of opera and the explosive whimsy of pop. He counts Luciano Pavarotti and Freddy Mercury as two of his biggest influences and, with his multi-octave voice, pays homage to them by jumping easily from operatic aria to rock anthem.
He writes poetry and lyrics that walk a fine line between confession and invitation. He performs live shows with elaborate orchestration and staging that feel like a rock show one moment and an operatic dream the next. He dances with the ease of a child whose parents never told him to sit still. He creates sculptural portraits of people—historic and contemporary—in the form of chairs made from all kinds of unlikely materials, from matches to yarn. He paints images using simple and innocent gestures, leaving one to wonder what the true story is. Migguel Anggelo is a story teller.
In one song, he explores the complexities of love as an old cello falls in love with a harp. In another, he illustrates the power of delusion through the story of a homeless woman who has one-sided conversations with the White House. Most recently he has transformed himself into the fabled Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, the subject of his forthcoming album, The Blue House.
Anggelo’s evolving body of work reminds us that the way a story is told is as important as the actual story itself. Summoning all of his gifts—song, poetry, drawing, physical gesture—Migguel Anggelo creates theatrical metaphors that blur the boundaries between performance art and popular music. For Anggelo, this is just the beginning.