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Opera student soon to compete as semi-finalist in Dallas Opera competition

Opera student soon to compete as semi-finalist in Dallas Opera competition

February 25
00:14 2016

Victoria Monteros | Staff Writer


Mastering the art of opera is difficult, challenging and at times exhausting, but UNT graduate artist certificate student Martin Clark is taking the bull by the horns.

“He’s been a hard worker, and he’s achieved a lot,” Division of Vocal Studies chair Stephen Austin said. “He’s really put in the time and effort to make this happen.”

Clark was awarded the Bill and Margot Winspear Opera Scholarship Competition during his junior year at UNT. He currently works with the Dallas Opera and is a semi-finalist for the Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition. He will be traveling to Italy to perform in the summer.

Passionate about music and opera, Clark said he gives his all every day.

Unexpected beginnings

Clark has been singing since he was little and said he has always loved music. He sang in choir throughout high school and took piano lessons for four years.

When Clark graduated high school in 2011 and entered college, he originally wanted to major in music education, with intentions of becoming a choir teacher. But by recommendation of his vocal teacher, he auditioned to be a vocal performance major as well.

Clark was rejected from the music education program but accepted into vocal performance.

“I used to make fun of opera singers,” Clark said with a laugh. “Like, ‘Why would anyone want to sing opera? It looks silly and stupid. That’s not music.’ I couldn’t have been more wrong.”

Though Clark had classical vocal training prior to coming to the university, he wasn’t as oriented with opera. When he started studying with his voice teacher at UNT, he trained specifically with the genre. He said he attributes this to the start of a deeper appreciation for opera as a form of singing.

“Now I call opera real music, and everything else, I’m like, ‘No, that’s not real music,’” he said with a laugh.

Graduate Artist Certificate Student, Martin Clark, brings "Pace Non Trovo” by Franz Liszt to an impactful ending. Tristan Miller | Staff Photographer

Graduate artist certificate student Martin Clark brings “Pace Non Trovo” by Franz Liszt to an impactful ending during a rehearsal. Tristan Miller | Staff Photographer

Bigger opportunities

During the junior year of his undergraduate studies, Clark’s vocal teacher approached him about the Dallas Opera’s need for a tenor for a performance of Donizetti’s comic opera “L’elisir d’Amore” and educated him about the program.

“It’s a blast to work with Martin,” said Kristian Roberts, Dallas Opera Education Program senior manager. “Not only does he have a wonderful vocal talent, but he’s just a pleasure to work with because of the kind of person he is.”

Clark auditioned for the program and began working with the Dallas Opera upon his acceptance. He became the first junior accepted into the Education Outreach program, which condenses full operas into about 45 minutes and translates them into English for students to understand.

“It was a little nerve-wracking at first, but that was a great opportunity to build more stage presence and get more comfortable onstage,” Clark said.

Clark started by performing for children in the mornings. This helped prepare him to perform in front of adult audiences, he said, given the fact that children tend to be far more forgiving than more mature listeners. He said he was also able to experiment with different ways of singing and acting.

As a semifinalist for the Dallas Opera Vocal Guild Competition in late April, Clark is the youngest competitor by two years.

“I’ve just been freaking out with excitement ever since [finding out],” Martin said.

Clark said he’s learned valuable life lessons on flexibility, working out conflicts and knowing the right times to rest. He said he has also gained a deeper understanding of the music he sings.

“When it comes to being a musician, there’s really no peak,” Martin said. “You’ll always be learning, you’ll always be gaining experience, you’ll always be singing for someone new.”

Featured Image: Opera students gather together for their rehearsal. Tristan Miller | Staff Photographer

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