OperGermany is a community driven website whose mission is to deliver practical, realistic and useful information to qualified individuals who are looking to seek a career in the German opera industry.
This information is brought to you primarily by our founder Larry Bakst, a retired opera singer who traveled the world and made a career in Germany performing in more than 50 theaters for over 30 years. OperGermany's information is also sourced from the top news sources, agents, administrators and working singers across Germany.
Our community website also welcomes new members to join the discussion by registering an account and contributing to the discussion threads for free! We strive for this website to be a source of real-time information for singers to build their own understanding of the German opera industry in a constantly fluctuating business.
Meet Our Team
Lawrence Bakst, Founder
Lawrence Bakst made a career in Germany performing in more than 50 theaters for over 30 years. Productions based in German theaters took Larry three times on tours of Japan and to engagements in Rio de Janeiro, Paris, Rome, Madrid, among many others. Larry has maintained relationships with theaters, directors, conductors as well as a particularly close relationship with Pina Bausch & Tanztheater Wuppertal for decades. He made his professional European debut at the 1985 Wexford Festival as Hagenbach in Catalani’s La wally, & after a production of Simon Boccanegra at the Landestheater Detmold, he was given a Festvertrag in Wuppertal, where he sang in productions of Carmen, Les pêcheurs de perles , Manon, MacBeth, Un ballo in maschera, Die Zauberflöte, La bohéme, Tosca, La gioconda, and Aïda. During that period he also appeared as a guest artist in various theatres in productions of Il trovatore, Un ballo in maschera, and La bohéme. Larry left his Festvertrag in Wuppertal in 1993 but continued to guest in Wuppertal, as well as continuing what would be a twenty year association with Pina Bausch’s production of Gluck’s Iphigenia auf Tauris, in which he sang Pylades all over the world. Bakst also guested in many new productions as well as countless last minute ‘jump-ins’ after leaving his Festvertrag in Wuppertal. He specialized in Verdi, Puccini and verismo operas such as Pagliacci and performed for many years at the summer festivals in Eutin and Bad Hersfeld. He also performed regularly at the State Theater in Prague in the roles of Manrico, Calaf, Don Carlos, and Otello, and worked in Marseille along with Leo Nucci and Ghena Dimitrova, as well as in Toulon and the Theatre du Capitole, Toulouse, where he had earlier won the Premier Gran Prix in the International Singing Competition. For the last 15 years of his stage career, Bakst regularly performed the roles of Florestan and Tannhäuser, and had the pleasure of singing the young Siegfried for the 2009-2011 seasons in the very theater where he was first engaged in 1986, Landestheater Detmold. He retired from the stage in 2013 and lives in Athens, Georgia, where he teaches voice at Truett McConnell University. He has give several Faculty Recitals at the University of Georgia’s Hugh Hodgson School of Music along side his wife Kathryn Wright, an accomplished opera coach and prompter who primarily lived and worked in Germany for over 20 years until joining the faculty of the Hugh Hogdson School of Music's Opera Program in 2011. Larry has also taught at the 2016 Liszt Festival at California State University, Northridge. He returns regularly to Germany to visit his children who are now raising their own family there.
Isaiah Feken, Chief Research Officer
Dr. Isaiah Feken is active as both a performer and scholar. His performance credits include Il Conte in Le nozze di Figaro with Voci Nel Montfeltro festival, Ford in Verdi’s Falstaff with The Crested Butte Music Festival, as well as Fred Graham in Kiss Me Kate! and Harry Stritch in the world premiere of A New Kind of Fallout with Pittsburgh Festival Opera. Dr. Feken's areas of research include the Fach system and operatic anthological literature. His paper on the Fach system, "The Voice Divided: A Data-Driven Analysis of Vocal Subcategorization," is scheduled for publication in the Journal of Singing in the Fall of 2021. Dr. Feken is a graduate of the University of Tulsa where he received his Bachelor's degree, as well as The University of Georgia where he received both his Master's and Doctorate degrees.
Heather Phillips has lived and worked throughout Europe since 2019. She studied German at the Institut für Sprachvermittlung in Bonn, receiving her intermediate German language certification. Recently, Ms. Phillips made her professional European debut in 2022 at Oper Frankfurt in Germany as the title role in Rossini's Bianca e Falliero in which the Frankfurter Allgemeiner Zeitung noted, "Der Sopranistin Heather Phillips gelingt ein famoses Debüt.” Ms. Phillips reprised her role in Bianca e Falliero for her Austrian debut at the Tiroler Festspiele Erl, also to critical acclaim. She also appeared in Austria on the concert stage with the Tiroler Festspiele Orchestra for a gala concert featuring the music of the Bel Canto repertoire of Bellini, Rossini & Donizetti. In 2023-2024 season, Ms. Phillips debuts the role of Adina in L'elisir d'amore with the Charleston Opera Theatre, appears in concert with the Princeton Pro Musica, the Dayton Symphony Orchestra & the Las Vegas Symphony Orchestra and will be heard in recital with the Dayton Opera, in a program celebrating the centennial of Maria Callas. Ms. Phillips will also return to the role of Donna Anna in a new production of Mozart's Don Giovanni, for her house debut with Staatstheater Nürnberg. Before moving to Europe, Ms. Phillips also worked & performed across the United States as an operatic & concert soloist in the high lyric soprano repertoire with the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center, Santa Fe Opera, San Francisco Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Ravinia Festival, Arizona Opera, Tucson Desert Song Festival, Austin Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Cincinnati Opera, New Orleans Opera Association, Austin Symphony Orchestra, Boise Philharmonic, Oregon Music Festival, among many others. She has also worked as an educator and in the fields of multi-media, primarily serving arts institutions. She first met Larry Bakst when consulting with him as a singer before engaging on her first German opera audition tour, which resulted in her first German guest contract with Oper Frankfurt. She joined the OperGermany team in 2023 and is passionate about sharing current information on the German opera system with hard working & talented singers in hopes that they can gain the knowledge they need to successfully navigate the German opera system. You can learn more about Ms. Phillips performing career at www.heatherphillipssoprano.com