A Q & A with Megan Marino
By Kelly Maxwell
Mezzo-soprano Megan Marino is a firecracker. Both on-stage and off, she positively radiates passion, enthusiasm, and curiosity. If any opera singer embodies the “yes, and…” of improv, it is Marino. Both accepting and assertive, she constantly challenges the rules and excels within their parameters; an ideal match for the plucky and spirited Rosina. Marino has deep roots in Colorado, she received her graduate degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder and Lyons, Colorado is her home base.
The Barber of Seville opens Saturday, November 2, with additional performances on November 5, 8, and 10, 2019. Limited tickets remain across all performances; for tickets and information, click here.
Want to learn more about The Barber of Seville?
Visit our informative and entertaining Barber of Seville 101 blog post
What draws you to the role of Rosina? Why do you find yourself coming back to the role?
She and I have quite a long-standing friendship. Some roles I have sung feel more like friends or real people; Rosina is definitely one of those roles. Singing Rosina helped me learn so much about the kind of person I want to be and the kind of empathy I want to have for people. I feel for Rosina. In the context of her time, she is a spirited, smart and willful person and at the same time, a possession.
I first sang Rosina in the winter of 2010 with Opera Iowa. It was a touring condensed English production. We got in a van and traversed the state, just as Opera Colorado’s Artists in Residence do.
I started out as a jazz major in my undergrad, voice and piano, so Rossini and bel canto in general, helped me understand how to work within the rules and structure of opera. If you are going to decorate, you must make sure it is with intent. The exact same things drew me to jazz.
From a technical standpoint, it keeps my voice and my mind healthy. Bel canto is great to come back to after a winter of singing Russian repertoire. Rossini keeps me honest.
“Some roles I have sung feel more like friends or real people; Rosina is definitely one of those roles.”
Why did you decide to make Lyons, Colorado your home base?
I did my master’s degree at the University of Colorado and I graduated in 2008. I still check in with Maestro Nicholas Carthy and Sara Parkinson, former schoolmate, pianist, and conductor. I learn and brush up many roles with Sara, as well as perform the occasional recital. It is so wonderful to have a support system here and be able to talk to people who know where I come from.
It is easy to get tunnel vision on the road, sometimes you forget to celebrate milestones. It is great to go back and have that point of reference. We have the kind of rapport with each other where they can be like, “Hey! Marino! You kind of fell off the skateboard there!” They’ve got my back.
“Hey! Marino! You kind of fell off the skateboard there!”
Go Buffs! I loved it here and had a hard time leaving. I did not actually leave the area until 2012-ish. I moved into my parents’ basement in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for a while. I was super poor when I moved in there, but I was able to get into New York City for auditions via public transit. It was a good opportunity because I was able to focus and really throw all of the spaghetti at the wall and see what stuck. I ended up living in New York until 2015. When I came back to New York, between gigs, I realized that, with all the hustle and bustle, the city is not an ideal place for me to relax. I got married in the summer of 2015 (note: to the incomparable baritone Michael Mayes) and moved to Lyons. I was always looking for an excuse to get back here. We love Colorado. Traveling the world for weeks at a time must be tough. How do you manage two full-time opera careers in a single marriage?
Ultimately, the price of admission is worth it. I am very good at organizing and logistics; I am the family secretary. Our schedules are often daunting and hard to wrap our heads around, but then you just have to get a plan together. We have a rule that we have only violated twice: we do not go longer than six weeks without seeing each other. Even if it is a twelve-hour visit, twelve quality hours is far better than no time at all. We both completely understand what the other needs in order to be successful in our careers.
We both have the mentality and expertise to help each other. Like any marriage, it just takes work.
Kelly Maxwell is Opera Colorado’s Multimedia Producer.
Opera Colorado’s production of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville opens Saturday, November 2. Tickets and more information can be found here.
Special thanks to the Denver Selfie Museum for their collaboration on our editorial photo shoot.