That was me yesterday. Practically squealing with delight on my way home from rehearsal of our Gemma di Vergy scene. Folks, I would like to talk as one of the newer "Bob"-ettes, or "Bob"-itas, or "Bob"-arinas, and say what a great venue this group provides for young Twin Cities singers.
Most singers who decide to pursue the crazy path of becoming a professional opera singer kind of start in the same place. Bright-eyed, bushy tailed, walking into the first day at the college or conservatory with a great deal of idealism and naïveté. Some don't survive the full 4 years for one reason or another. Those who do jump into the rat race of graduate school and young artist auditions. Along the way, it is very easy to get bogged down by the social aspect of this experience. Friends going into debt to pay for lessons with one famous teacher or coach, or to buy that next great recital gown. Temp jobs that tire you out so much that it is hard to muster the energy to actually practice or advocate for yourself to put yourself out there.
For a lucky few, who get that break at stardom, it is a true test of will and genetics. There are many who have amazing talent, who realize, that, although they could probably support themselves and maybe a family on their work, the sacrifices just aren't worth it. There are some who TRULY have the drive and passion and are ready for a nomadic lifestyle, who's voices just don't shine in the right way, to the right people. For all the time, and money and sacrifice, it is a very difficult field to undertake for young people, no matter how things come out in the wash.
But, inevitably it is guaranteed that you will grow, and learn and meet some VERY interesting people and possibly travel to places you never expected to go.
What I wish for everyone, no matter where they land, is that they are able to continue to experience that joy that they felt when they had their first amazing lesson, or were brought to tears by a performance (their own or a colleagues) and don't get bogged down by the chips that often land on our shoulder when we don't get the job, or don't win that contest.
I am so very lucky that I am able to work in a town with such support for the arts and such creativity. So many artists concentrated into such a relatively small space. We are bound to make wonderful moments happen. For ourselves, for others, for the community. I can leave my exciting and totally fulfilling work at The Minnesota Opera, (which is truly amazing!) and come to a place where we can be as free as we wish, without judgement, without the pressure of expectations (whether real or imagined), or the constraints and pressures of meeting a bottom line for a large, internationally recognized, arts organization. It is a freedom that allows me to return to that place, when I was 16, and stepped onto the stage for the first time, opened my mouth, and.....just.....sang!
See you at Fringe!!! ---Angie Keeton