Growing up in California, Megan Mikailovna Samarin played piano and sang in her grandmother's Russian church. But it wasn't until she joined a middle school choir that she fell in love with classical music.
Going on to the Manhattan School of Music — and New York City was very different from California, she says — Samarin caught the eye of the folks with Houston Grand Opera. She is now starting her third year as one of the studio artists in a program designed to develop future professional opera singers and help them launch their careers.
Samarin and other HGO studio artists will have a chance to show everything they've got in the upcoming two performances of the HGO Studio Showcase, which will include selections from Faust, La bohème, Lucia di Lammermoor and Carmen.
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“This year I will do a scene as Romeo – it's a pants role. I'll also be Concepcion in L'heure espagnole by Ravel; this seductive woman has multiple lovers she hides from each other and her husband. I'll be a gypsy in Carmen and a nun,” says Samarin, laughing.
“As a mezzo-soprano, I am often asked to sing pants roles – the role of a young boy that can be played by a woman. I find this interesting that I get to inhabit a body that’s so different from mine.”
Samarin adds that the showcase benefits all participants because “it gives us insight into what roles are in our future.”
Performances are scheduled for September 11 and 13 at 2:30 p.m. Sunday and 8 p.m. Tuesday. Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas. For information call 713-228-6737 or visit houstongrandopera.org. $20 mezzanine tickets remaining.