I’ve been to Leipzig three times in the past two days, supposedly one of Germany’s most beautiful cities. But I wouldn’t know - I was just changing trains on the way to and from an audition (making a detour to Berlin just for fun, hence the third visit).
They say you’re not supposed to tell anyone where your audition is before it happens - superstition - so most of my friends only knew that I was headed east as I embarked on yet another quest for gainful employment.
Spring having just sprung, the ride was quite pleasant, looking out the window onto fields budding with crocuses, fluffy clouds in the sky, and a really confident feeling in my gut. It’s been a while since I headed east - in fact, since I settled in my apartment in Frankfurt’s Nordend, I’ve seldomly ventured outside the boundaries of the city ring. I like it here. But traveling for auditions, and then traveling for the work is all part of being a so-called professional opera singer. I like that, too, even though it seems like sometimes I’m just running to stand still (see previous blog entry on this topic).
As the train chugged along, I was taken on a bit of a trip across memory lane:
I auditioned there in Spring 2004, met with a former Kammeroper colleague, even got to watch a bit of a rehearsal (which made me glad I didn’t get the job in the end). They had just cut their opera chorus, and finally the entire opera department all together - take note, this is the future of opera in Germany!
Here, I was lucky enough to be the featured soloist in a gala concert with the Coburger Philharmonic Orchestra. I messed up the words of one of the most famous opera arias ever composed - “Quando M’en Vo” from La Boheme by Puccini. Nobody in Gotha would have noticed, but some Italian president of some Italian thing was there. He noticed.
This is where I got lost on my way from Eisenach to Coburg, where I auditioned two days later. I decided to make the most of my blunder and have lunch in the pretty town square, which is where I was when my agent called and said it didn’t work out with the theater in Eisenach. Although I should’ve been relieved, I was quite upset and disillusioned. After all, how was I to know at the time - just when I may have thrown in the towel - that my next audition just down the road a piece would lead to a contract. One never knows, do one?
It was here that I had my first ever “house” audition in Germany. I had already auditioned for the studio in Zürich, for a couple agents, and for the studio in Düsseldorf (which I ended up getting), but never for a Festvertrag. I don’t remember much about the audition itself except that it was raining.
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So, the next time I head east, I hope to have the time to finally take a wee tour of Leipzig. With any luck, as a matter of fact, the audition will be IN Leipzig. I’m glad that this time I took a few pictures of the town I was in (see photo above - now can you guess where I was?). Even though the audition didn’t work out, I’ll have more memories to take home with me than just the train station and the rain.
(Actually, this audition turned out to be a very pivotal one in my operatic career. To find out why, read “Operatics Anonymous”, coming very soon to the Grahamophone!!)