26 October, 2015

on the move

Let's skip the part about how I haven't blogged for years...shall we?

News: After SIX years it looks pretty official that I'll be leaving 'abroad'. Leaving 'expat life'. And making a return across the Atlantic to the big ole' U.S.ofA.

They always say the grass is always greener...but actually, I've loved having a career in Europe. The fire, the passion, the MULTITUDE of opera houses, the feeling that even if I was unknown and even if I was the 'most famousest', getting 'just heard' at an audition just about anywhere would be possible. The love of the art by 'the normal people' who, walking by the opera house on a Thursday evening might just decide to pop on in for whatever show is playing-- in their jeans...and maybe also with their kids!

And now, all of a sudden, moving back, although a wonderful opportunity in a new city where people speak ENGLISH (well, sort of- I'll have to learn the accent, alright, y'all?)...my world just seems to have gotten SO MUCH SMALLER.
I was speaking to someone 'in the biz' about auditions and they said that there are fewer than 20 opera houses in the US that a person 'of my level' would sing at right now. He was not being condescending to all of the amazing 'start-up' operas, mom-and-pop smaller houses in regional areas of the country that otherwise would have NO opera-- no, not saying that that tiny regional gigs are not 'good'- but just that they're not WORTH it for the fee-- this person surprised me by saying- "you'd be better off staying at home having quality time with your kids than net 1-2thousand dollars for 5 weeks on the gig".

And that just, honestly, surprised me. Coming from a manager-- coming from someone who wants singers to be promoted, to be SINGING, to be having careers-- but someone that also understood that there is a value that is now 'fixed' in my life, and that is- staying with my family, and in this person's opinion, those gigs which would pay me under a certain amount- would not be worth it.

So here I am.
Back in NYC for a few auditions.
Singing (honestly...) better than ever.
Looking pretty good too if I do say so myself.

Thinking about all of this. Thinking about management (because in the USA, it's a must-- and in Europe I had gotten very comfortable with being nonexclusive), thinking about what my goals are for these next three years of being 'back', but not really back- because it's a new city, new connections to be made. And thinking about- most of all- happiness.

What will make me happy in 6 months? one year? five years?
How would I have answered that question as 25 year old?
And how do I answer that question, now (as an under 35-but-approaching-that-in-the-next-years) year old?
At 25- I most likely said: get management (check!), sing at xyz opera companies (check), make European debut and maybe sing at one of the top five houses in the US (check! check!)- all done by age 30-ish!

So what are my answers now?
Ok- 6 months- (Maybe) US management, Definitely: New Gig in the US.
1 year- Have the 'flexibility' to say yes or no to anything that comes my way- meaning, do 2-3 opera gigs per year that take me 'away' from home, and the rest- again, locally if I can --local to the BIG state that I'm moving to with at least 3 major opera houses that would be wonderful if I had the opportunity to sing there (for the first time and again)--
5 years- And this is an honest answer that is a 'first time' answer for me, but not a first time thought. I know that I'm not going to sing forever- not only because I don't WANT to be 50 and singing/traveling but also because I'm honestly interested in the 'other' side of the business- arts consulting, marketing, PR, budgets, EVERYTHING, that has to do with making what I deem an 'exciting arts organisation' EVEN more exciting and top-notch.

And I've had the chance to begin to do work in those areas as well in the past few years- as a consultant. What can I honestly say about 5-10 from now? I'm still hoping that around age 40 I am 'doing this' still- but...at 45? 50? I'd like to be on the other side. Whether it's a theatre or opera company, whether it's as a consultant or a board member or staff member, that's what I'm interested in, and that is what I want to build my 'next- real world' resume up.

So that's the truth. My truth at least.
It doesn't really have (that much) to do with having a family. It has kind of a lot to do with where the 'state of the arts' is on the performer's side. It has also a bit to do with generally what I think the 'shelf life' of a soprano is these days- as I see EVEN more and more companies set up resident artists programs, hire young artists during the programs for all except leading roles. It's just the reality on the ground right now. And if I'm on the 'other side of thirty'- THIRTY! For many of these places, then it's my reality as well.

Honestly, the best 'asset' that I think WILL keep me performing into 'old-er age' is the Queens.
Koenigin can get as old as possible.
And so through it all, whatever happens, I know Queenie will be there for me...and I'll certainly be there for her!

I know that was 'so much'-- so many thoughts for the first time I've really written in..years?

It's where I am right now.
New chapters always excite me.
This is certainly a new chapter in many ways and I'm excited to start filling the pages.

Ta for now.

No comments: