We knew her when: Q&A with Mezzo Soprano Karin Mushegain

If you were fortunate enough to catch the Festival’s opening night concert featuring Mezzo Soprano Karin Mushegain, you know what an outrageous talent she is.  We had the chance to catch up with Ms. Mushegain just before she hopped on a plane to her next gig in Paris…

Festival Mozaic: Where did you grow up, and how did you start singing?

Karin Mushegain: I grew up in Pasadena, CA. I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember. But I started taking voice lesson in the sixth grade. That’s a very young age to start, but I had nasty elementary school music  teacher who made fun of my voice in class one day. I was so embarrassed I stopped singing all together. So my mom put me in lessons to get me excited about singing again.

FM: Where have you studied voice? 

KM: I’ve studied voice privately in Los Angeles, did my undergraduate training at Northwestern University, and my graduate training at UCLA.

FM: Favorite roles?

As Angelina in Rossini’s La Cenerentola

KM: Angelina in Rossini’s La Cenerentola. I also love portraying Hansel in Humperdinck’s Hansel und Gretel.  It’s so fun running around as a hyperactive boy for a few hours! And Dorabella in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte is just a joy to sing because the music is so stunning.

FM: What are your top three desert-island pieces of music?

KM: Bernstein’s West Side Story ( the movie soundtrack), Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, and the Gypsy Kings…cause if you’re stranded on a desert island there will be plenty of time for dancing!

As Hansel in Humperdinck’s Hansel und Gretel

FM: Who is a role model to you?

KM: Madeline Kahn is my idol!!!  She was an extraordinary singer and one of the greatest comedians of all time!!

FM: Dreams for the future?

KM: My dream is to keep singing the roles I love to sing in houses that nurture creativity and artistry…and also to have a family and be a mother. It’s a lot to ask for in a career that keeps you on the road 9-10 months of the year, but to have both successfully is my goal and dream.

Called “superb” by The New York Times and possessing an “ideal, dusky mezzo” by Opera Today, Mezzo Soprano Karin Mushegain is captivating audiences with her exciting, energetic portrayals. Her 2011-12 engagements include her role and company debut as Hansel in Hansel and Gretel with Virginia Opera, her New York City Opera debut as Flora in a new production of La Traviata, and her role and company debut as Stefano in Romeo et Juliette with Annapolis Opera. Engagements during the previous season included her return to New York’s Gotham Chamber Opera to sing the title role in Montsalvatge’s El Gato con Botas, her Austin Lyric Opera debut reprising the role of Minskwoman in Jonathan Dove’s Flight, and her role debut as Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Ash Lawn Opera. She also recently performed with Los Angeles Opera in their new production of Il Trittico, Opera Memphis as Dorabella in Cosí fan tutte, Opera Idaho as Angelina in La Cenerentola, Glimmerglass Opera as Alessandro in the US premiere of Handel’s Tolomeo and Tisbe, in La Cenerentola, and numerous roles and appearances with Pittsburgh Opera, Florida Grand Opera, and the Pittsburgh Symphony.


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