Megan Marie Hart (b 1983) is an American soprano based in Germany. [Thanks to a German reader (Franco) who alerted me to Ms Hart’s impressive voice] Born in Eugene Oregon, she studied with Mignon Dunn and then with Marilyn Horne. She won Horne’s Song Competition in 2010.
She began her career more than a decade ago singing lighter roles such as the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro and Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte. She also sang the more dramatic part of Donna Anna in Don Giovanni. More recently she’s added the title role of Puccini’s Tosca to her repertoire.
She sang Luisa Miller in Verdi’s opera of the same name at the Landestheater in Detmold. Germany seems to have an opera company if every city, village, or hamlet. This is why so many American singers of note got their starts in Germany. Hart has recently been engaged by the Staatstheater in Darmstadt. Of course, like all performers she currently at home with her computer rather than with colleagues in front of an audience.
There aren’t very many recordings of her voice available. I’ve picked four that show the development of her voice realizing yet again that there’s nothing like a live performance.
The Jewel Song from Gounod’s Faust was made early in the soprano’s career. It gives little hint that a spinto was lurking a few pages hence. O mio babbino caro from Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi is a lyric role, but the richness of Ms Hart’s sound indicates that she’s ready for heavier roles. Tosca needs a spinto soprano. Vissi d’arte is the show stopper from Act 2. It literally stops all the action and is there because Puccini needed a soprano solo and couldn’t think of anywhere else to put it. This excerpt is the only one of the four with an orchestral accompaniment.
Finally, here’s the recording that really got my attention. Hart’s reading of Pace, pace mio Dio! had me thinking back to Zinka. if you have to ask Zinka who? make a few clicks on this site and refresh (or fresh) your memory. Listen to the first word – Hart builds it and then diminishes it just the way only a great soprano can. If this singing is representative of what she can do onstage in a regular fashion, then the operatic universe is hers with the qualifier just below.
Assuming we can ever overcome the planet wide epidemic of stage fright that has gripped all but the bravest, I look forward to seeing how this nascent artist evolves. Thanks again Franco.