On November 29, 10 young singers will participate in the COC Ensemble Studio Competition, competing for cash prizes and a position in the prestigious Ensemble Studio training program for emerging artists. Every day we will introduce you to one of our finalists. Today's finalist? Tenor Michael Marino.
Tenor Michael Marino, is so committed to opera that theatre is part of everything he does. He even proposed to his girlfriend on stage! Michael’s new fiancée is also an opera singer and both were taking part in the Opera as Theatre Program at the Banff Centre this summer, which is where the proposal took place.
The London, ON native may be devoted to opera now, but as he puts it, “opera chose me, not the other way around.”
Encouraged by his mother, he took voice lessons and sang in choirs as a child, but didn’t discover opera until he started his undergraduate degree at the University of Western Ontario. “It was after I'd been cast as St. Brioche in my school's production of The Merry Widow that I realized I'd fallen in love with the art form,” he says. “I love the collaborative nature of the opera, working with new directors and colleagues, and the sense of accomplishment that comes after opening night.”
Michael joined the Calgary Opera’s Emerging Artists Program in 2011. Before moving to Calgary, he completed bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music at the University of Western Ontario and trained at the Banff Summer Arts Festival, Opera NUOVA (Edmonton) and Highlands Opera Studio (Haliburton, ON).
Some of his past roles include Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus (Cowtown Opera Company), Lurcanio in Ariodante (Calgary Opera Company) and Rodolfo in La Bohème (Kitchener Opera Company and Highlands Opera Studio). In 2013, Michael will appear in four productions with the Calgary Opera Company, including La Traviata and L’heure espagnol.
Although Michael says that he can’t imagine his life without opera, he does have two alternate careers in mind: professional golfer and fighter pilot. But he admits that “[an alternate career] would definitely have to be something a bit more realistic and less time consuming.”
Still, even with his limited amount of free time, Michael tries to focus on other interests. “When I do find a moment to spare I enjoy playing guitar, golfing, and listening to various other genres of music besides opera,” he shares. “When you live and breathe opera 24/7, sometimes it’s nice to remind yourself that other forms of music exist in the universe.”
Michael was enrolled in a French immersion program in elementary school and makes an effort to keep up his language skills, as he finds that they help with his singing. But he can’t pick just one dream role, in French or another language. He says, “There are so many fantastic tenor roles in the repertoire and I wish to experience as many of them as possible over the course of my career!”
Posted by Kathleen Keenan / in Ensemble Studio / comments (1) / permalink
Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001