“I think all singers end up meeting each other at some point, don’t you think?”
Indeed, Marina and I have lots of friends in common since we both spent many years studying in Philadelphia. When I was looking ahead at what was happening in the opera world in the European cities I was visiting, I realized I would be in Paris for Marina’s last performance as Micaëla in Calixto Bieito’s production of Carmen at Opéra Bastille. It took one message to Suzanne Vinnik for her to connect us and, 5 minutes later, for Marina and I to make plans for July 13.
After discussing logistics over message, Marina and I finally got to meet in person at 5:45 pm that day for her makeup call. We clicked instantly because who wouldn’t with Marina? She is so wonderful, both on and off stage. Proof of this is that everyone in the house loves her and it was evident that she had forged some fantastic relationships with the cast and crew over the two months she had been there.
“I like taking time during the day to do my own hair and makeup. It gives me something to do and prevents me from overthinking about the performance”. This made Amélie, the in-house makeup artist’s job quite easy and she was all about it: “She is so great, she is the best!”. Amélie obviously still loved coming in to chat with Marina, check in on her and do the final touches. The whole scene was so adorable; I can’t help but smile thinking about it.
“After this, I get to go home and spend time with my family, we are very very close. My sisters Ginger and Miriam will be there as well, so we’ll have time to work on sister repertoire for our upcoming concerts. Ginger and I are singing Dorabella and Fiordiligi together next season at Seattle Opera so we’ll get to work on that too.” It’s no secret that the opera world has been blessed by the arrival of the Costa-Jackson sisters: three gorgeous, talented women with beautiful, rich voices. “We have the same agent so it makes it easier to coordinate our schedules. We are trying to do as many operas together as we can, there is so much out there that we could be cast in together”.
Micaëla was not an obvious choice for Marina, but when she got a call after Paris Opéra lost their Micaëla, she decided to go for it. “This is my first French opera actually! Except for one performance of Faust back at AVA”. Needless to say, her sung French was wonderful and I understood every word of it. As far as next season, she seemed especially excited to be singing Violetta in La Traviata, which will be a role debut for her, first in Köln and then at Austin Opera. It will be a season of firsts for Marina, since Fiordiligi will be her first Mozart. “I’m slowly moving into the repertoire that suits my voice the best, it’s very exciting”.
Marina sang a total of 11 shows, starting on June 13. Most of the cast had already done the production together earlier in the season, so there were only about two weeks of rehearsal for her. She arrived a week before then, to be able to coach the role with someone from the opera house, especially to work on the French. And it paid off.
After the performance, the bond with the rest of the cast was clear, especially with tenor Bryan Hymel, who is also an AVA alumnus and with mezzo Anita Rachvelishvili. Two brilliant colleagues, whom Marina was going to be supporting from the audience the next day, as they sang in the Bastille Day concert at the Tour Eiffel.
As far as future plans, Marina was clear: “Right now, my career is my baby. That’s my focus. I would love to be back in Paris very soon”. And I have no doubt she will.
Head over to 360° of Opera on Instagram and Facebook to look at all the photos and videos from Marina’s takeover. She had some special guests take part on the action and it is pure gold!