Arrived in Wien (Vienna) this evening, and since I'm staying with a director friend of mine from a few years back (actually, from my first ever pay-to-sing program that I did when I was 20 or something like that), I feel right at home, since I've visited him before, I know the area where he lives, and generally- I love Vienna.
I took a 9 hour train from Hagen to Vienna, with three transfers. NO train woes or unknown Sbahn trips.
It was totally straightforward.
Except for the first HOUR, when all of Western Germany congregated upon Koeln (Cologne), for a crazy celebration of Carnavale Deutschland-style.
I was wondering why for the past 3 days I had seen people in insane costumes wandering around the central town square and train stations, and now I know why.
Koeln is the biggest center for celebration of this holiday (kind of like Mardi Gras mixed with Purim...or something like that), and people really take this seriously
Not only was free chocolate handed out on the train in first class today (I haven't had that before, so I assume it was for the holiday weekend and I shoved three pieces in my mouth...one for each train connection), but also, train schedules were CHANGED, there were MORE trains to Koeln, and on the way I saw bussloads, carloads, and general masses of people descending upon the city to celebrate.
So. I'm in Vienna, hanging out all of tomorrow and meeting with the agent that is sending me on the audition on wednesday.
Again, here on this side of the pond, it's normal and accepted to work with more than one agent...actually, a number of them, because of certain connections and relationships that certain ones may have...and whomever gets you the audition gets the commission both from the theater and from the singer IF the singer gets the job.
My current US based agency is doing great work for me in terms of inquiring about whether any house auditions will be held during the time I'm in a certain city...ie, oh- I'll be in Paris for four days...can you check out any place that is x number of hours away by train and see if they'll hear me? And that's GREAT because the more houses I sing for, the better-- even if it's a general audition. And their relationships with certain houses overseas is very good as well.
With the German/European based agencies, I feel like I'm being sent on specific things because they are 'in the know' about what Fest/Guest situations are open or not...since they have to do the legwork daily..and so I'm getting the best of both worlds--specific knowledge of openings from the people who are doing the legwork on the front lines here every day, and a solid foundation from back home that represents me well and is able to make inquiries that I would not otherwise be able to make on my own--ie, writing a company out of the blue just 'cuz' I'm here, and requesting a mainstage audition.
As I said, this whole trip has already been worth all of the planning, endless googling and emailing and Dbahning and fact-checking and language-translating, etc. etc....
I feel pretty proud of myself for planning this whole thing beginning in mid-January and actually having it work out here (so far!)
And I am enjoying my alone time on trains, looking out the window at the beautiful snowy scenery of the world passing me by...
And let me just say that I really would rather take a 27 hour train than get on a 3 hour airplane.
I get off these things and I am READY. To sing ANYTHING. Never tired, never woozy, never dehydrated...it must be the lack of pressure change...but I feel GREAT traveling with my Eurail and am glad I invested in it.
More on travels later, for now, sleep, and a free day in Vienna.