Interview: Ana Marina

Ana Marina is thrilled to have the pleasure of playing Christine Daae in The Phantom of the Opera in her home country of Australia. She recently earned a prestigious Green Room Award nomination (best female in a leading role).

We asked Ana Marina all about life as an opera singer:

B&L: What is it like playing the part of Christine Daae in the Phantom of the Opera?

Ana: It’s wonderfully exciting and rewarding, but also hard work as the role is very demanding vocally (I have to sing from an A below middle C to an E above top C), physically and emotionally.

After understudying the role in London and being the alternate on the World Touring Production I am thrilled to now be living my dream, playing the Principal Christine in my home country.

B&L: Have you always wanted to be a singer?

Ana: Yes. When I was eight I saw the movie version of the musical ‘Annie’ and was completely inspired. That was when I decided I wanted to be a singer. My parents bought me the recording and I sang the songs over and over. I then began singing and piano lessons. I am very fortunate to have very supportive parents who saw something special and always believed in me.

B&L: Tell us about the Green Room Awards

Ana: The Green Room Awards are for excellence on the Melbourne professional stage, it is a prestigious industry award. I was fortunate enough to be nominated this year for Best Female Artist in a lead role in a musical.

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B&L: What goes on behind the scenes of a Performance?

Ana: Some silliness and laughter usually, as well as some very quick costume changes that require five people to help me. I actually don’t get much time offstage as I am on stage for practically every scene of the show.

B&L: How do you prepare before a show, do you get nervous?

Ana: I get to the theatre a little over two hours before the show starts. I prepare firstly by doing a physical stretch, including stretching my legs and feet ready for the dancing I do. Then a gradual and gentle vocal warm up for around 45 minutes.

I put my makeup on, my wigs and costume get put on and I am ready to go. I also drink plenty of water during the day and try not to talk too much. I do get a little nervous but that’s a good thing as the adrenaline keeps me focused and gives a little extra energy.

B&L: You have performed in many countries, where has been your favourite?

Ana: The most interesting would be Shanghai in 2004-2005, they weren’t used to western style performance or audience etiquette. So even though there were announcements saying please turn off your phone and no taking of photos, they would still be flashing the camera and answering their phones during the performances.

Seoul is the most responsive and enthusiastic and when I walked out of stage door there would be hundreds of people wanting my autograph, so that was quite exciting. But it’s great to finally be performing in my home country.

B&L: What is the hardest part of your job?

Ana: Mainly making sure my voice and energy are maintained at 100%. In order for this to happen I can’t really have a social life which sometimes can be disappointing. But I love my job and its well worth the sacrifice. I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.

B&L: Where do you get your inspiration?

Ana: I find inspiration in every performance I do, I am always finding new thoughts and moments within the story which take my character of Christine to a deeper level.

Outside the show just looking at paintings and watching movies set in Victorian times gives me imagery. I also love going to see other live performances.

B&L: How do you like to spend your time off?

Ana: We only get one day so it’s not really long enough to do anything but rest and relax. I go to the movies, or see another performance, watch a DVD or go out for lunch somewhere. Or go shopping.

B&L: What do you think it is that makes the Phantom of the Opera such a successful production?

Ana: It’s the combination of a many elements.  A great gothic love story that really tugs on the heart strings with plenty of tension and drama. The music is written especially for the characters and the drama that is happening on stage.

The costumes, the set, the lighting are all remarkable and innovative. It’s a real spectacle and people are just fascinated every performance when all these elements come together.

B&L: What’s next for Ana Marina?

Ana: I am currently gathering ideas for my own CD which will be along the style of contemporary classical. I also will look into what other great roles in Musicals are coming up and possibly look for some film and TV work.

B&L: What does being a woman mean to you?

Ana: Not being afraid to show my emotions, embracing femininity as well as being able to enjoy wearing (and buying) beautiful clothes and jewellery.

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