Clementine Margaine’s family home, in Narbonne in the south of France, was alive with classical music. She and each of her siblings were obliged to play an instrument; Margaine and her sister learned piano. Ironically, opera wasn’t part of the household repertoire.
“My parents took us to see everything, except opera,” the 32-year-old says, ahead of her Opera Australia debut on Thursday in the title role of Carmen.
But fate intervened early: the mezzosoprano’s first brush with the art form was as part of a children’s choir performing Georges Bizet’s Spanish-set opera, with which Margaine’s career is now inextricably linked.
“I have no memory of the woman playing Carmen, or the other characters, but what got to me was that singing was something you share, that you are never alone on stage,” she says.