Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Chat with Megan Hart

As a member of Seattle Opera's Young Artists Program, Megan Hart has played several exciting roles over the past couple years, including Tytania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Nella/Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi, and Tatyana in an adaptation of Eugene Onegin. This spring she adds one of the most challenging coloratura roles to her repertoire: Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos.

The leader of the hipster comedian troupe, Zerbinetta is a flirtatious young performer, eager to share her opinions and quick with a joke and a smile. Her Act II aria, “Grossmächtige Prinzessin,” is packed with all the runs, leaps, and vocal fireworks that one expects for a coloratura soprano—and Music Director Brian Garman is delighted to have Megan in the role. “She has to sing one of the most difficult coloratura arias in the entire repertoire, and how thrilling it is to hear this music being sung with Megan's big, full-bodied voice!” (You can check out a clip of Megan performing this aria in our Ariadne preview video.)

Megan has been enjoying the vocal challenge. “I look forward to singing something this difficult and saying ‘I did it,’” the Eugene, Oregon native says. “If I can get through Zerbinetta, I can get through anything.”

Listen to this sample of “Grossmächtige Prinzessin.” Here Natalie Dessay as Zerbinetta tries to convince the lovelorn Ariadne that another man will come along, just like they always do:

Als ein Gott kam jeder gegangen,
Und sein Schritt schon machte mich stumm,
Küsste er mir Stirn und Wangen,
War ich von dem Gott gefangen
Und gewandelt um und um!
Als ein Gott kam jeder gegangen,
Jeder wandelte mich um,
Küsste er mir Mund und Wangen,
Hingegeben war ich stumm!

Each man appears like a god to me.
His very step makes me mute.
When he kisses my forehead and cheeks,
I am captured by the god,
turned around and around!
Each man appears like a god,
turns me around,
kisses my mouth and cheeks,
and I am captive, mute!

Megan grew up listening to the Met radio broadcasts with her family, and knew she wanted to be a musician from a young age. She studied at Oberlin Conservatory and the Manhattan School of Music. She performed extensively at Oberlin, and had a chance to work with Marcy Stonikas, another Young Artist who’s singing the title role in Ariadne. “[Marcy] was an upper classman at the time I was there. Watching her perform and hearing her voice, I knew I was witnessing something very important,” Megan said. “I feel so lucky to be performing with her now.”

Megan’s post-Ariadne plans include a performance with Music of Remembrance, the title role in Alcina at Kentucky Opera, and Donna Anna in Don Giovanni at Music Academy of the West. Reflecting on her three years with the Young Artists, Megan is grateful for the chance to study and learn here. “This program has been instrumental in forming me as an artist,” Megan said, citing everything from the language classes to the varied performance opportunities. “Not only are we trained how to become professionals, we are given the opportunity to explore our instincts in a safe environment. That is priceless.”

Photos: Megan Hart as Zerbinetta; Megan with Bray Wilkins, Alex Mansoori, and Erik Anstine in Ariadne auf Naxos. © Chris Bennion.

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