Hailed by the Los Angeles Times as a “great glory” in her recent turn as the title character in the world premiere of Juana, Meagan Martin is gaining notice as an enthralling, versatile performing artist. The first place winner of the 2018 Hershey Felder Award for Classical Musicians, she is equally comfortable in repertoire spanning the Baroque to the present and thrives in presentations that range from strictly traditional to wildly unconventional and cross-disciplinary in nature.
Praised for her "fine coloratura technique" (Opera Magazine), Ms. Martin's 18/19 season included debuts with Orange County Opera as Rosina in their touring outreach production of The Barber of Seville and with LA Opera Connects as Hansel, a Rhinemaiden, and Blonde in German Opera Tales. She portrayed Hester Prynne in scenes from composer Mark Carlson and librettist Bruce Olstad's The Scarlet Letter in Sacramento, and she appeared in the inaugural performance by New Opera West as the Bartender in a selection from Gilberto, an opera in development by composer Nick Benavides and librettist Marella Martin Koch, and as Angie in an excerpt from Pepito, a 20-minute opera by the same creative team. In the summer she was a Vocal Fellow at Music Academy of the West, where she was a winner in the inaugural Fast Pitch Competition, was featured in a master class with Isabel Leonard, and was praised for her "poignantly sung" Sara in the West Coast premiere of Jennifer Higdon and Gene Scheer's Cold Mountain (Daniela Candillari, conductor and James Darrah, director).
A language enthusiast, Ms. Martin has pursued advanced studies in German, Italian and Spanish as well as elementary training in French and Russian. She earned her B.A. in German at UCLA at age 20, graduating summa cum laude and with Departmental Highest Honors while studying voice privately with Renee Sousa. Also a proponent of new music and art song, Ms. Martin attended SongFest twice and has worked with composers Aferdian, Matthew Aucoin, Nicolas Lell Benavides, William Bolcom, Nick Carlozzi, Mark Carlson, Rachel DeVore Fogarty, Jake Heggie, Libby Larsen, Carla Lucero, and John Musto. In 2016 she performed the world premiere of Marianne Dashwood: Songs of Love and Misery, a song cycle inspired by Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility with music by Aferdian and text by Marella Martin Koch. She sang the work’s east coast premiere in 2017 at the Jane Austen and the Arts Conference in New York. In 2018 she premiered Elinor Dashwood: A Song Cycle, the sister cycle by the same creative team, at OPERA America’s National Opera Center in the inaugural concert for The Rally Cat, an energized performing arts company based in New York City. In March 2019 she and pianist Douglas Sumi performed both cycles for a special event honoring Anne K. Mellor at the historic William Andrews Clark Memorial Library in Los Angeles. Ms. Martin’s doctoral dissertation, “Keeping Up Appearances: Fidelity and Performance Issues in the Operatic Adapation of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park,” champions Jane Austen’s novels as a source of adaptation for operatic works.
Ms. Martin's singing has taken her to Europe and across the U.S. She was the first American ever selected to participate in the Gstaad Vocal Academy with Silvana Bazzoni Bartoli at the Menuhin Festival in Switzerland, and she was selected for a masterclass intensive with Teresa Berganza at the Festival Internacional de Panticosa, where Ms. Berganza requested that Ms. Martin sing Cenerentola’s final aria in the culminating concert. Ms. Martin has also participated in the prestigious Young Artists Vocal Academy (YAVA) at Houston Grand Opera, Teatro Nuovo, W. Stephen Smith’s "The Naked Voice" Institute at Northwestern University, and Vladimir Chernov and Olga Toporkova’s International Vocal Artists Academy in Payerbach, Austria.
Ms. Martin completed both her doctoral and master's degrees in the studio of Vladimir Chernov at UCLA. Under the guidance of Peter Kazaras, Director of Opera UCLA, and Rakefet Hak, Music Director of the UCLA Opera Studio, she had the privilege of performing leading roles in many operas at the Herb Alpert School of Music, including Cherubino in Mercadante’s I due Figaro; Amadora in Musto’s Bastianello; Dorabella in Così fan tutte; Fanny Price in Dove’s Mansfield Park; and the title roles in Handel’s Amadigi, Massenet’s Cendrillon, Bolcom’s Lucrezia, and Brook's/Bizet’s The Tragedy of Carmen. Ms. Martin also appeared as the Israelitish Man in a landmark presentation of Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus at the Wilshire Boulevard Temple, conducted by Neal Stulberg. Additional roles performed include Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia) with Astoria Music Festival under the baton of Keith Clark and with Pacific Opera Project (Stephen Karr, conductor & Josh Shaw, director); Mercédès (Carmen) with Pacific Opera Project; and Despina (Così fan tutte) and the title role in Luisa Fernanda with SMC Opera Theater.
In fall of 2019 Ms. Martin returned to Opera UCLA as a guest artist to sing the title role in the world premiere of Carla Lucero and Alicia Gaspar de Alba's Juana (Mary Chun, conductor and Sara Widzer, director). In addition to her aforementioned praise from Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times, Eric A. Gordon from People’s World claimed that, “judging by this promising outing, Meagan Martin has an important career ahead of her.”
In February 2020 Ms. Martin appeared with Grammy Award winner Anna Wise in a unique, multidisciplinary program under the auspices of GIRLSCHOOL in collaboration with LA Opera and Kensington Presents. In November of the same year she sang in her first drive-in opera production with Pacific Opera Project in the U.S. Premiere stagings of Gluck's La corona and Il Parnaso confuso (Kyle Naig, conductor; Carson Gilmore & Josh Shaw, directors), for which she was recognized as "the most outstanding singer of the evening" by Broadway World. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, her debut as Flora in the Opera Buffs' concert performance of La traviata was canceled, and her appearance as Antiope in the U.S. Premiere of Vivaldi's Ercole su'l Termodonte with Pacific Opera Project (Kyle Naig, conductor & Josh Shaw, director) has been postponed indefinitely.
She is grateful to have had the chance to return to more live performances in 2021, including Rossini's La Cenerentola (Kristin Roach, conductor; Josh Shaw, director) with Pacific Opera Project as Tisbe/Cenerentola cover at The Ford in Hollywood, recitals with acclaimed guitarist Mak Grgić, and recordings of new song cycles inspired by Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility and Persuasion.
Check out Ms. Martin's dissertation here: