Stage/Dress Rehearsal Photo Credit: © Barbara Aumüller - Heather Phillips (pictured right) & Beth Taylor in a dress rehearsal of Bianca e Falliero at Oper Frankfurt
Rehearsal Photo Credits: © Karoly Risz - Heather Phillips in rehearsal for Bianca e Falliero at Oper Frankfurt
Hello OperGermany readers,
My name is Heather Phillips. I am an American opera singer, about to make my European Operatic debut in a new production at Oper Frankfurt in the soprano title role of Rossini’s Bianca e Falliero. My path to this moment hasn’t been easy. It’s seen a two-year delay from the pandemic (of which we are still managing in rehearsals through mask wearing and daily testing) and it’s taken an enormous amount of hard work, perseverance and a deep belief in my talent to get here. But as they say, “No man (or woman!) is an island,” and I would not be at this important moment in my career had I not received guidance and real-world advice from mentors, colleagues and singers who have gone before me. One of those people is Larry Bakst, the owner and editor of this website. When Larry recently asked if I would write a blog post about my experience auditioning and working in Germany to share with his readers, I knew I would be remiss not to share what I’ve learned thus far. I am happy to contribute to the community he has built that has been a big help to starting my career in Germany.
The Wiener Staatsoper- Vienna State Opera-has announced their new season. It’s interesting to see what their new season and new administration will bring. They’ve been closed to live audiences and live streams are still free, so check it out, but looking at their season and their onstage Gala preview gives a glimpse not only to a new era in a great theater, but how some of the singers have developed and advanced over long careers.
The Fach System at your fingertips
Whether you’re a beginner trying to figure out what arias to sing or a seasoned professional negotiating a contract this database gives you the quick and authoritative information you need to navigate this complex and rewarding system.
Want to know what kind of voice German agents and theaters want for the Count or Contessa in Nozze di Figaro? Don’t find out the hard way. You can simply enter the opera, or the character, or even an aria title and find out. Your audition arias may be just right for the United States but all wrong for Germany. Now you can check to see exactly how they fit into German casting preferences. Need to know all the roles in Ariadne auf Naxos including the spoken one? Just enter the opera name and it’s all there. Did someone just ask if you’ll sing the 1st Geharnischter Man (Armored Man) and 2nd Priest in Zauberflöte? Feel free to go through the complete score, or just type the roles or the opera into the database-you don’t even need the German ö, a simple ‘o’ will do!. Looking for repertoire for a vocal category? Click on it and just scroll through the results. You’ll even get links to aria PDF’s if something catches your eye.
A free version lets you explore all the search options with a limited number of operas, or you can sign up for a subscription and try the complete database during the 7 day free trial period. And of course you can subscribe monthly or for the whole year, and get all the features of OperGermany including an agent list and recent updates from current conversations with German agents and theaters.
Up-to-date reports and information on opera in Germany: from auditions to Covid updates, the information you need “Making the leap to Germany.”
It’s wonderful to see an article in a major American publication which understands the German opera scene for what it is. Alex Ross took the Autobähne less travelled and discovered performances of unusual repertoire, new perspectives on standard pieces and young singers developing. It really is a Paradise in many ways, even if you have to sometimes go through hell to be part of it.
More notes from Germany
Things are turning a corner in Germany as operatic life shows signs of finding strides in a covid world
A note from Germany
A telling of what performance looks like in Germany following the holiday season, and indights into Germany’s covid protocols
How to get in on this and make a life in singing?
This website will help guide you in "Making The Leap To Germany".
Over literally centuries this vibrant system has developed it’s own ways of doing thing and cultural, musical and vocal tastes. These have all been evolving rapidly in recent years. It is essential for singers who want to make a career in Germany and Europe to understand how agents and theaters categorize and evaluate singers today. From 27 years living and singing in Germany and from recent conversations with working agents and opera house administrators this website can help you in the following ways:
Making The Leap
Getting a Job in Germany TOI! TOI! TOI!
- The Bad News: it’s hard and expensive. There’s tons of competition from all over the world, and Germans are very particular about their language and culture.
- The Good News: they’re there for the same reasons you are: to hear music and be enchanted. They really are! That’s why they’re in this business.
- Your job is to understand the practical necessities, expectations and requirements, but in the end to be authentically yourself and utterly convincing when you sing for them, be they agents, casting directors, or important conductors.