Mezzo-soprano Margaret Fox is originally from Nashville, TN. She has been a recurrent young artist in concert and recitals, particularly in baroque and classical repertoire. Solo choral and opera credits include performances with Haymarket Opera Company, Bach and Beethoven Ensemble, Chicago Bach Project, American Bach Soloists, Madison Bach Musicians, St. Charles Singers, Downers Grove Choral Society, Opera for the Young, and Florentine Opera. She has sung as a professional member with the Chicago Symphony Chorus and Grant Park Music Festival Chorus. She has studied at the American Bach Soloists Academy in San Francisco, the Vancouver Early Music Festival, Aspen Opera Theater and Intermezzo Young Artist Program. Major accolades include 3rd Place and Audience Favorite title at the 2015 Handel Aria Competition (Madison Early Music Festival) and the 2013 Sigma Alpha Iota Career Performance Grant. Ms Fox earned her degrees in vocal performance from Illinois Wesleyan University (BM) and University of Wisconsin, Madison (MM).
What is the story of how you first came to love music and opera?
I remember falling in love with classical singing during an episode of “Sesame Street” when I was about 8. A scene of the ocean came on with Puccini’s “O Mio Babbino Caro” in the background. I was enthralled and ran to grab my tape player to record it, then listened to it again and again. As overdone as that aria is now, the first time you hear it is still magical. I wish I could go back and find out who was singing it! I also have fond memories of going to the opera as a child with my father and hearing the Saturday Metropolitan Opera broadcasts blaring through our house on the radio.
What is the biggest challenge you face as an artist?
One of the biggest challenges I face as an artist has luckily become less of a challenge the older I get. It was always hard to communicate through my art while being in school or while performing in auditions and competitions. Now, the less I think about being judged, the better I can communicate without a barrier to the audience. I am learning that life is too short to get nervous -- I’ve got music to share!
Do you have a favorite performer?
Lorraine Hunt Lieberson. Pure beauty and grace.
Do you have a favorite role? Aria? Opera?
To sing and perform: the role of Ariodante and the aria “Scherza Infida.” To listen to and watch: Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin.
Do you have any favorite books about music?
I’m currently into How Equal Temperament Ruined Harmony (and Why You Should Care) by Ross W. Duffin, and trust me, we should care!
What else are you reading?
Well, one of my favorite movies is the 1985 mini-series “Anne of Green Gables,” and I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve never read the books! So that is my summer goal.
Who are your favorite 17th- and 18th- century composers?
Handel, Adam Krieger, J.S.Bach, Buxtehude, Haydn, Mozart…I could go on.
If you were stranded on a desert island, is there one piece of music you would like to have with you?
J.S. Bach B Minor Mass. Perhaps I could get off the island on pure ecstasy and soar back home!
What do you love about HOC?
I love seeing everyone completely in their element, enthusiastically adding their contributions to the final performance!
Do you have a favorite memory from a past HOC event?
I remember trying to maneuver my “celestial” entrance as Junon in Actéon, hiding and walking behind a 9-foot wooden cloud, while another one rolled towards me at the same speed, in a beautiful velvet dress that weighed about 20 pounds with train and 2-foot feather headdress… I’ve never felt so clumsy in my life! But with a little practice and help from the stage hands, we pulled it off. It was a theatrical illusion, without any modern-day assistance. I loved that!
What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not making music?
Currently I enjoy making all sorts of sounds with my son who was born in December, but perhaps that’s still making music! I also enjoy dabbling in a new photography hobby. My son and kitty make the perfect subjects. You’ll always find me smiling when I’m out walking, jogging or roller-blading.
What is the first thing you think about in the morning?
Is it really morning already?
Do you have any heroes/heroines?
I really admire and respect Joyce Di Donato. From what I’ve read and understand, she did not have a straight and easy path to her career. She did not fit the industry’s mold, and yet she persisted and has become a major musical icon in the classical world. Her master classes with young singers are full of energy, inspiration, and new ideas.
What music do you listen to most often?
At home we rarely have music on, because my husband and I are either teaching, playing, or singing ourselves. But in the car, my top XM stations are: Met Opera Radio, 40’s Junction, Bluegrass Junction, and On Broadway.
If you had not entered into your current career what do you think you would have done instead?
That’s a tough one! It changes from day to day. Even as a child I had many occupations on my list. I do love doing things with my hands and working on tangible projects, so…maybe a seamstress or carpenter? Ask me again in a week.