Cast Spotlight - Markel Reed

Welcome back to our Opera for the 22nd Century blog for another feature of the cast of Changing Fortunes - A Zoom Opera by David Wolfson. We hope you plan to attend a performance of Part II of the Fortune's Children series on either Friday, March 12 or Saturday, March 13. Tickets will be going on sale next week! Watch our website and social media platforms for our official on sale announcement. 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 made his Hartford Opera Theater debut as Pat in the original Fortunes Children back in October and we're thrilled to have him back. We hope you enjoy learning about Markel's 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 returning to perform the role of Pat in Changing Fortunes. Here's what he had to say:


HOTOpera: We're thrilled to have you back to sing the role of Pat in Changing Fortunes - the sequel to Fortune's Children: A Zoom Opera. What have you been up to since FC Part I?


Markel: I am thrilled to be back singing Pat in this production. Since October, I have been extensively woodshedding new repertoire in coachings. I competed in a live competition, the Harlem Opera Theater competition, placing 3rd.

I also revamped my website and prepared a couple recitals with other companies. Just prior to rehearsals beginning

I wrapped a movie filming of an opera to be released later this spring.


HOTOpera: In Changing Fortunes, we find your character in very different circumstances. How have things changed for Pat since Part I?


Markel: In the second installment, Pat has lost his cafe. Though disillusioned, he appears far more practical and even proactive about fixing the issues at hand. His ability to step up shows a strength not present in Fortune’s Children.

HOTOpera: How have the characters evolved since we last saw them? How has the appearance of your Mother (Sharon) changed the way the brothers conduct themselves?


Markel: I believe recent conflicts have shown new weaknesses in these characters. I do not wish to give anything away, but I will say that the power dynamic that we see in the three brothers is definitely shifted in this episode. There certainly seems to be a mutual understanding for one another’s role in the family as provider, caretaker, problem-solver. There is less in-fighting.

HOTOpera: What virtual projects (opera, theater or otherwise) have inspired you since the beginning of COVID? Have your ideas changed about how to create art in extenuating circumstances?


Markel: I have had the opportunity to do other virtual projects, most of which have not been full works of music. I have gained skills during this period with regards to digital media. I see how it can be effective and even reach a wider audience through the platform.


HOTOpera: What do you have to say to singers that are hesitant to participate in or organize an opera created for an online platform?


Markel: Having gone through the learning curve of online production, I would like to encourage others to take their time in researching and understanding the technology. It is accessible! There are so many facets to the medium that can enhance your gifts.

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 Changing Fortunes. We hope to see you on Zoom on 3/12 or 3/13 at 7pm. Visit our website to learn more about this innovative chamber opera created for Zoom.

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