Cast Spotlight - Markel Reed, Baritone

Welcome back to our Opera for the 22nd Century blog for another feature of the cast of Fortune's Children - A Zoom Opera by David Wolfson. We hope you plan to attend a performance of this exciting world premiere on either Friday, October 16 or Saturday, October 17. TICKETS ARE NOW ON SALE and can be purchased through our website. Both performances will be presented live on Zoom. Today we're pleased to feature one of our talented cast members, Markel Reed who will play the role of Pat in our production. Markel is making his Hartford Opera Theater debut in Fortune's Children and we hope you enjoy learning about his career and what performing in this opera means to him.

Markel Reed, a native of Charlotte, N.C., has been featured in various concerts and recitals throughout the U.S., Canada and in Europe. His repertoire includes: Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni and Leporello in Don Giovanni, Morales in Carmen, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, and John Sorel in The Consul.


In the Summer of 2019, he originated the role of “Chester” in Terence Blanchard’s acclaimed opera Fire Shut up in my Bones with Opera Theatre of St. Louis. As a member of Utah Opera’s Resident Artist Program (2015-17), Mr. Reed performed the roles of Masetto in Don Giovanni, Dancaïre in Carmen, Kromov in The Merry Widow and covered the role of Brian Castner in Jeremy Howard Beck's The Long Walk. Mr. Reed was featured in an original miniature opera revue as part of the collaboration between Utah Opera, local composers of the state and story tellers of Salt Lake City's The Bee, entitled "Operas on the Hive" where his performance was praised.


Prior to his position with Utah Opera, Mr. Reed was a young artist of the Kentucky Opera Studio Artist program during the 2014-15 season where he was featured in the role of Count Paris. He has also performed with The Metropolitan Opera, Bronx Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Opera Louisiane and Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre. Markel covered as a funeral soloist in The Metropolitan Opera’s recent production of Porgy and Bess. Markel Reed pursued his Bachelors of Music Performance at Oakwood University and is an alumnus of the University of Kentucky Opera Theatre program.

We recently interviewed Markel about performing in Fortune's Children. Here's what he had to say:


HOTOpera: Is this your first time singing in an opera created for an online platform? If so, how is it different than working in person? 


Markel: This is my first time. The technical aspects of coordinating audio to the timing of singing is definitely more challenging with headphones in your ears, while still negotiating the internal air pressure of operatic singing. You have to be in tune with your body more than ever to remain balanced and on pitch lol.


HOTOpera: This opera is about COVID and the effect that the virus has on a family. Do you think it's possible for COVID to bring a family closer together? 


Markel: I think that COVID brings unique challenges to the family and tests the connections that exist. It is possible for bonds to strengthen, hopefully not through personal tragedy…but the strains of unemployment, finances and personal health create major challenges, as well. Through honest, loving communication family members can nurture peaceful environments in which each member feels supported. And sometimes that means having the difficult conversations.


HOTOpera: What are you most looking forward to when we can perform together again in the real world? 

Markel: I most look forward to the immediacy of dramatic moments: Witnessing the real-time interactions of players on the stage and the audience responses which I think feeds the drama of any show.


HOTOpera: What is something fun that you want our audience to know about you? 


Markel: I am an avid anime junkie (Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood and Black Clover as examples), LOVE 80s B horror flicks (The Thing, Teen Wolf, etc), and love playing online MMORPG’s (WOW being a personal guilty pleasure). Also, I’m very much a side hustle kind of guy and have had many PT jobs while being an artist. (Pizza delivery, pet shelter event coordinator, hospital nutritionist assistant, bookstore manager as examples)

Thank you for visiting our Opera for the 22nd Century blog! We hoped you enjoyed learning about Markel. Stay tuned for more features and interviews with the rest of the cast & creative team of Fortune's Children. We hope to see you on Zoom on 10/16 or 10/17 at 7pm. Visit our website to purchase your tickets today and learn more about this innovative chamber opera created for Zoom.

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