Meet the Artist - Mariya Kaganskaya
Mariya is first year artist in the Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio, and shares the role of Suziki with Debroah Nansteel.
Where was your first opera performance?
My first full role was Cornelia in Handel's Giulio Cesare, at the Bay Area Summer Opera Theater Institute four summers ago. I'd just finished my bachelor's degree, and didn't know what to expect from a whole production. Thankfully, I had prepared meticulously, and was very lucky to have the late, great Lloyd Arriola conducting. It was so much fun putting the whole thing together and working through every aspect of the music and the story. I knew I wanted to do it as much as possible from then on.
Do you have a favorite opera?
I'm casually obsessed with Massenet's Werther. Every moment of it is so beautiful and makes so much sense, macro- and microcosmically. I love singing Charlotte's arias and did some of her scenes in graduate school, and I can't wait to do the whole role someday!
What has surprised you most about Arizona?
Not sure if this was actually surprising, but I'm always amazed by the sheer size and spaciousness of this state. I really enjoy how much there is to explore, from the museums (pretty sure I could live at the Musical Instrument Museum), to the nature spots, to the various coffee-providing institutions. There's always something new to discover!
Do you have a dream role?
Oof, this is a hard one — I couldn't ever pick just one. The cliché is Carmen, of course, but it definitely isn't untrue. Charlotte from Werther is one, and eventually Dalila from Samson et Dalila. For now, give me as many Dorabellas (Dorabellae?) from Cosí fan tutte and Orlofskies from Die Fledermaus as possible!
What music is on your current playlist?
As I answer these questions, I'm listening to Joyce DiDonato's new CD, In War and Peace. It's a beautiful and heartfelt project, and such an important message, and I absolutely loved her live performance of this program at Stanford as well (hanging out with Flicka before the show was also a nice bonus). Other than that, I've been on a Paul McCartney kick for about two thirds of my life; current constants include Tug of War and Flaming Pie. Jeff Buckley is is a newer favorite. I definitely don't hate John Legend, and I may or may not keep an R.E.M. CD in my car. I've also had the 1966 recording of Madama Butterfly with Renata Scotto on replay, because honestly, how could one not?
What is your perfect day off from performances or rehearsals?
A good day always starts with coffee, and includes some practice time, a yoga class or short workout, reading by the pool (when in AZ!), and sometimes shopping or a manicure, and ends with FaceTime with loved ones and something amusing on the Netflix. A perfect day off would definitely be the above, but with the aforementioned loved ones in person.
What is your favorite part of Madama Butterfly?
Another hard one, and another I have to answer with a cliché, but I don't think anyone would disagree that the flower duet is totally irresistible, and it's so much fun to sing!