20 July, 2010

the vortex

or the rabbit hole, or the black hole, or whatever it is that sucks me into the internet google machine..has done it again.
A friend of mine who is a lawyer in nyc and works crazy ridiculous hours, is on call at all times, and barely gets to see her husband said to me today- wow, your job is hard!

Hard psychologically and emotionally, that is.
When we are onstage doing what we do best, it's the easiest thing in the world.
But every other second, we have something to prove.
And not to ourselves. We KNOW how good we can be-- IF given the chance.

And how do we get that chance?
Well first we have to be 'good enough' to go to that 'good school', get that 'good teacher' interested in us, get into our first summer program, impress THOSE directors and coaches and conductors. Get into the next summer program. Rinse and repeat. Get into a year long apprentice program. Rinse repeat.
Basically- meet as MANY people as possible and make as MUCH of a good impression on them (artistically AND personally) as possible-- so that one day, one day far far away from today, they will remember you when you say- oh, and I just relocated to so-and-so place, and am looking to base myself here-- do you happen to have any contacts that I should be in touch with?

Oh, and assuming you get an agent along the way, make sure that you are 'good' enough and 'get hired' enough to keep THEM interested in working for you as well.
One part of my 'rabbit hole' today was visiting some websites of other agents and actually seeing how many of their singers were working..and I mean, REALLY working- not one carmina burana and one christmas concert.

And it's CRAZY- I mean, one soprano that I thought- oh, I hope I'm like HER in two years (a few years back now)-- is barely singing at all, and hasn't been for a WHILE now...and she was singing regularly at nyco and the like!
And on the other hand, some fresh hand-picked young artists from very important programs are getting to travel the WORLD with world-famous conductor/directors who are literally handing them a career on a golden plate.
They seem to have proved themselves early to the RIGHT person (the casting for the young artist program) and luckily, it has taken them far.

So, psychologically- it CAN get a bit crazy.
Not in a 'why is SHE getting work here and here and I'm not"-- but actually FIGURING it out-- drives me crazy.
It's like- WHAT? How is THIS person singing THIS role HERE next year? And then some digging reveals--OH- she sang in THIS tiny production where the assistant director THEN is now the CONDUCTOR here...and so voila.
Of COURSE the singer is talented, etc...
But you still can't help but connect the dots.
And that is happening more and more.

Yes, this world is small...for this career even smaller. You can't afford to have a 'bad night', or be a bad colleague. You always have to be ON...but- these days it seems harder to even get the OPPORTUNITY to be ON-- because things are happening by mutual agreement and previous contacts...
Of course, yes..you have to audition-- at SOME point, for the job that you will have...(probably).
But- not always at the moment that the house invites you to an audition.

Knowing that I'm 30 minutes away from 4-5 major opera houses where I have yet to even have a general audition sometimes really gets to me. Of COURSE they have their own coloraturas already, of course they have their favorites, and their standbys...
But- they're all doing Flutes and Hoffmanns and Abductions and.. and...
if they just KNEW that I existed????
Maybe? One day?
Someone would be sick and their 'standby' would be in another show and WHO WOULD THEY CALL if they KNEW I was alive and sitting on my butt here in FF?
Maybe me!!!

This message has been brought to you by the letter I for impatient.


grahamophone said...

Very well put, Madame. And the really, really smart singers realize all those steps before getting into it in the first place. The rest of us spend a lot of time watching cars whizz by ....
Now I realize why "Capital I" was my favorite Sesame Street song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wc1RfFYxZ2I

Coloraturaaah said...