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Vocalists

Michaela Martens


— Mezzo-Soprano

The goal so often is to run down, beat down and slow down powerful women — to an actual standstill. The pain … was seeing that strategy in action, and seeing it work. Indeed, the exhaustion of merely being a woman in the world was the unavoidable, unbearable theme of these performances. And there has rarely been a master of exhaustion like Michaela Martens, the mezzo-soprano whose Susan B. is simultaneously mythical and accessible. In a pinstriped suit jacket and dress pants, her hair fashionably yet sensibly blown out, her face open but her mouth a downward slash of worry, Ms. Martens could be the sort of working mom we all know...Light and dusk coexisted, too, in Ms. Martens’s voice, radiant cries down to beleaguered sighs. She stood very still, indeed, for her final aria, a shining, stirring paean, poised between hope and despair, to her “long life” and the endless frustration that is political action: “Going forward may be the same as going backward”…but not as real as Ms. Martens, watching the parade of history continue without her at the end of “The Mother of Us All.” Her stillness, her exhaustion, was both a kind of death and a kind of eternal patience. She was standing her ground.
The New York Times - Zachary Woolfe

Mezzo-soprano Michaela Martens, as mother Klytemnestra, makes an eye-catching entrance, coming alive from within a museum display case. Martens’ smoldering, earthy voice attractively conveys the emotions that drove her to murder her husband, give her nightmares and make her harbor a fateful unease over the prospect of her son’s return to their kingdom of Mycenae.
San Francisco Examiner - James Ambroff-Tahan

The singer who most tore at the heart was Michaela Martens, as Marilyn Klinghoffer. Her low voice gave foghorn strength to the opera’s desolate last lines, after the widow has refused the Captain’s empty condolences: “If a hundred / People were murdered / And their blood / Flowed in the wake / Of this ship like / Oil, only then / Would the world intervene. / They should have killed me. / I wanted to die.”
The New Yorker - Alex Ross

One of the most wrenching moments in “The Death of Klinghoffer,” the 1991 opera by the composer John Adams and the librettist Alice Goodman, occurs during the final monologue by Marilyn Klinghoffer, which brings this raw, penetrating, strangely mystical work to its conclusion. The earthy mezzo-soprano Michaela Martens was overwhelming in this scene when the Metropolitan Opera’s production of “Klinghoffer,” a company premiere, opened on Monday night... it’s Michaela Martens who slings the whole evening over her shoulder and walks away with it at the end. Adams gives her the last word, the searing lament of a new widow for whom pain is already an old acquaintance. With a voice that is powerful, tempered, and focused, Martens concentrates all the evening’s tensions into those final minutes, a statement of quiet, helpless rage: “I wanted to die.” But she can’t, not yet.
The New York Times - Anthony Tommasini

The singer who most tore at the heart was Michaela Martens, as Marilyn Klinghoffer. Her low voice gave foghorn strength to the opera’s desolate last lines, after the widow has refused the Captain’s empty condolences: “If a hundred / People were murdered / And their blood / Flowed in the wake / Of this ship like / Oil, only then / Would the world intervene. / They should have killed me. / I wanted to die.”
The New Yorker - Alex Ross

About

The Boston Globe hails Michaela Martens for her "dense, color-saturated voice" and declares: "She is a passionate and sympathetic vocal actress." Ms. Martens is fast becoming known for her portrayals of some of the most difficult dramatic mezzo-soprano roles in the repertoire, beginning with a triumphant last minute debut at the Lyric Opera of Chicago as die Amme in Die Frau ohne Schatten, a role she repeated for the Oper Graz in a new production by the critically acclaimed director Marco Marelli.

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    • Photo: Tess Steinkolk
      Photo: Tess Steinkolk