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.
Praised for her "fine coloratura technique" (Opera Magazine), Ms. Martin is grateful to have had the chance to return to more live performances in the 2021-2022 season, 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 GRAMMY-nominated guitarist Mak Grgić, the workshop of Carla Lucero's The Three Women of Jerusalem with LA Opera Connects, recordings of new song cycles inspired by Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility and Persuasion, and the world premiere recording of Rosa Divina, a song cycle by Giovanni Piacentini to texts by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz.
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 was postponed until January 2023.
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.”
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 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).
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 and a zarzuela selection 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 performed leading roles in many operas at the Herb Alpert School of Music, including Cherubino in Mercadante’s I due Figaro (Joseph Colaneri, conductor; Peter Kazaras, director); Amadora in Musto’s Bastianello (Peter Kazaras, director); Dorabella in Così fan tutte (Neal Stulberg, conductor; Peter Kazaras, director); Fanny Price in Dove’s Mansfield Park (Scott Dunn & Geoffrey Pope, conductors; Peter Kazaras, director); and the title roles in Handel’s Amadigi (Stephen Stubbs & Stephen Karr, conductors; James Darrah, director), Massenet’s Cendrillon (Christopher Ocasek, conductor; Peter Kazaras, director), Bolcom’s Lucrezia, (Peter Kazaras, director) and Brook's/Bizet’s The Tragedy of Carmen (Maxim Kuzin, conductor; Brendan Hartnett, director). 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 (Stephen Karr, conductor; Josh Shaw, director); and Despina in Così fan tutte (James Martin, conductor; Shana Blake Hill, director) and the title role in Luisa Fernanda with SMC Opera Theater (James Martin, conductor; Janelle DeStefano, 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, Brian Eisenberg, Jake Heggie, Libby Larsen, Carla Lucero, John Musto and Giovanni Piacentini. 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. In November 2021 she, once again with pianist Douglas Sumi, participated in the world premiere recording of Elinor & Marianne (Aferdian, composer; Marella Martin Koch, librettist), a stirring double song cycle for two singers and two pianists that gives voice to the sisters at the heart of the same novel. 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.
In summer 2022 Ms. Martin joined guitarist Mak Grgić for a recital tour of Austria, Croatia, Italy, and Slovenia to perform an all-Bach program based on his GRAMMY-nominated CD, Mak|Bach: The Well-Tempered Guitar. Upon her return to the U.S., she joined conductor and pianist Neal Stulberg for a unique concert at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, which included a set of moon-themed art songs by Bellini, Chaminade, Crawford-Seeger, Lehmann, Saint-Saëns, Schumann, and Tosti and culminated with George Crumb's Night of the Four Moons.
So far her 2022-2023 season has included a recording of Brian Eisenberg's song cycle, The Cost of War, arranged for jazz big band for his CD, Pain and Beauty, and her "sonorously and indeed ferociously portrayed" (LA Opus) Antiope in the U.S. Premiere of Vivaldi's Ercole su'l Termodonte with Pacific Opera Project (Kyle Naig, conductor; Josh Shaw, director). In the summer she will join guitarist Mak Grgić again for recitals at Maverick Concerts in New York and Petrer Guitar Festival in Spain before returning to The Ford in Hollywood to reprise Rosina in Pacific Opera Project's Hollywood-inspired production of The Barber of Seville (Kyle Naig, conductor; Josh Shaw, director).
Check out Ms. Martin's dissertation here:
"Keeping Up Appearances: Fidelity and Performance Issues in the Operatic Adaptation of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park"