My readers know that I rarely write about my place of employment, and there are a number of reasons for that. But our upcoming season has been publicly announced (the press conference was this morning) and it occurs to me that this might be of general interest to anyone who is thinking of taking auditions in Europe. One could go directly to the opera websites to see what’s being done, but the works are often with German titles, or otherwise unknown to American audiences.
So, without further ado, a list of our upcoming Musiktheater (this word encompasses opera, musicals and operettas, unlike the English term “musical theater” which has come to mean Broadway-style musicals.)
Little Shop of Horrors
The Barber of Seville
Ein Walzertraum (this is an operetta)
Die Tote Stadt
The Cunning Little Vixen (Czech operas are often performed in German, as this one will be.)
Stallerhof (modern, 20th century chamber opera)
Fiddler On The Roof
The Pearl Fishers
These are all new productions (for us, at least). Not included here are the dozen or so dramas, the half dozen dance theater productions, the youth-theater program (another 5 pieces), and the orchestra’s concert series.
Is this a typical season in a typical German opera house? I have no idea, and I’m probably the wrong person to ask! It’s certainly a full and varied season, especially from a singer’s point of view. If you come to audition in a German-speaking opera house for an ensemble position, you can expect to be thrown into genres outside your comfort zone (everyone has to speak dialogue in German sooner or later!), and while we learn in America that the Fach System is what makes the opera world turn over here, I find it less enforced here than in America, not really all that restrictive. I have been double-cast with lyric sopranos, or lyric mezzos who do more Mozart and Rossini than I. This is why it’s essential that you feel comfortable with your singing technique before you land one of these jobs — because you may be singing every day, you may have a final dress rehearsal in the morning and a show that night — in another language, another genre, whatever. Sure, you can mark in the morning, but you still have to work, no rising from bed at noon and total vocal silence all day…
This is not to say we are overused or mistreated, far from it. But neither are we pampered. The days of having several days rest after a performance are long gone, if they ever did exist.