Saturday, January 1, 2011

Auld Acquaintance, New Again

One of the many colleagues I hope to meet again

This is the second time that I’ve spent New Year’s Eve in a theater with people I barely know. Six years ago, I had to jump in for double performances of Wiener Blut in Ulm, and ended up on the roof shooting firecrackers and drinking champagne at midnight. I would see some of those people three years later when I jumped in at the same theater for Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar. And last year I filled in for Ines in IlTrovatore in Wiesbaden, where the director’s assistant was the same girl from Ulm back in 2005.
This time around, I celebrated New Year’s Eve in Hagen, where I’ve been hired as a guest for the double cast of Oscar in Un Ballo in Maschera. I’ve only known the colleagues here for four weeks, but ran into another guest soprano I used to sing with four years ago in Coburg. My new neighbor who is collecting my mail while I’m away is also a former Coburg colleague, working this season in Frankfurt.
So, what do we learn from all of this? The opera world is small, that’s for sure. Leave a good impression everywhere you go, you may need a favor later. I also learned that I love being amongst “theater people,” define that how you will. Furthermore, I also reaffirmed the fact that I really love to dance. But that’s another story.
Not only is the opera world small, but now for the first time I actually feel like I’m part of it. Instead of standing outside in the cold, looking through the frosty window at the happy people inside, I’m amongst them, cozy by the fire with my feet up, reminiscing about the operatic events of the past year:
New Year’s Eve 2009 I sang in a gala concert for the Kammeroper Frankfurt with some of my closest friends and favorite colleagues. The next day I headed back to Mönchengladbach where I wrapped up the production of Miss Donnithorne’s Maggot, one of the most challenging roles I’ve ever sung, if not the most challenging. While I was there, a colleague got sick, so I took over a few of her performances in Der Vetter aus Dingsda (and happened upon two tenors who had done the show with me three years previously in Coburg - see above: small world).

Then followed “Frauen, Natürlich!” at the Kammeroper Frankfurt - a somewhat silly music theater project in which I sang Mahler songs and tenor arias. Warum nicht? And then in the summer we did Die Lustige Weiber von Windsor in which I played the “parade” role of Frau Fluth. With the con tempo modern music ensemble, also in Frankfurt, I premiered a music theater piece called “The Real Buenos Aires” - a literary, dramatic, musical collage (at least that’s what they were calling it) based on a novel by Argentinian author Raul Argemí.
Those productions, as well as two weddings, a Christmas Eve mass and a handful of concerts, including part of Schumann’s Spanisches Liederspiel at my alma mater in Arizona, rounded off a fairly busy business year. And shortly before rehearsal begin for Un Ballo in Maschera in Hagen where I am now writing this, I sang a Gershwin recital which was extremely rewarding and of which I am especially proud. 
2010 was also a record year for auditions - seven! Doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s more per year than I’ve done since I got to Germany 12 years ago. Sometimes it takes an event like New Year’s Eve to look back and see the things you’ve actually accomplished in a year. Still, despite all my sowing, I was only able to reap about half of what I need to live on, which means I’ll have to cross my fingers that 2011 is doubly lucrative.
On the plan for 2011, I’ve got a bit part in Il Barbiere di Siviglia here in Hagen, one opera gala concert, and Die Zauberflöte with the Kammeroper Frankfurt. Seems rather grim, but I have to remind myself that last year at this time, I had no idea that I would have as much work as I ended up having. Besides, I can be sure that I’ll meet a familiar face or two along the way. 
We now return to our originally scheduled programming of cynical, critical takes on the opera world at .... the Grahamophone!


  1. Whoah, thought I'd clicked onto the wrong blog there ;-) HOORAY that you're feeling positive about the future, and ja, warum nicht? I have loved you in the things I've seen you in. May a cornucopia of fabulous roles be offered to you, with generous remuneration, in the coming year. And let's meet up for -lots of wine- um, cultural and operatic evenings (*coughcough*) soon!

    K x

  2. Wonderful!! I'm so thrilled for you :-)