Interview: An opera theater audition tour in Germany through the eyes of an American singer
American tenor Brett Sprague who recently won first prize of the Seattle Opera Guild Singer's Awards just came back from Germany where he sang for theater auditions. GVAI’s Director Christine conducted this interview with him. Learn and enjoy!
GVAI: Thank you Brett, for being willing to share your insights about your tour and your experiences with GVAI's young singers!
Brett: It is absolutely my pleasure to share what I learned on my audition tour; it is information I wish I had from someone who recently had the experience. I hope my insights, however limited, can help!
If you are a young professional singer, you may be headed off to a summer program or two to learn more about singing. OR you might be taking the summer off and planning to apply next year. Either way, it pays to do your research on summer programs before you pick the right one. If you are wanting to attend a summer opera program that has a focus in a specific language, you especially want to make sure it’s a good fit for your needs. For our purposes, we are going to consider German summer programs.
The State Opera House Unter den Linden in Berlin-Mitte before the renovation.
By Beek100 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
In Germany, there are around 126,000 theatre productions a year. If that sounds impressive, just wait. Over 35 million people go to these performances in that year span! Holy Brünnhilde, that’s a lot of people! There are roughly 140 publicly funded theatres and 220 privately funded theaters. Unlike New York, USA and Paris, France, opera houses are not all concentrated in one city. There are opera houses dispersed all throughout the country so that everywhere you go, you will be able to attend a production. 
GVAI just finished our 2nd annual summer opera program in Seattle, WA! Congratulations to all the singers, teachers, volunteers and supporters (especially Uli Lengenberg with Uli's famous sausage at Pike Market in Seattle)! It was a success with growth and learning all around. Our summer opera program is a two week program geared towards young artists who plan to pursue advanced schooling or opera careers in Germany, or artists who want to improve their singing in German. This year, our participants put on two performances of Mozart’s Magic Flute with German dialogues, as well as two recitals of German repertoire… all in just two weeks! Yes, it is indeed a very intense program.
Aside from making lifelong friends and exploring the great, unique city of Seattle, what can you expect to take away from this experience? Well, I can’t really put that into a short, concise answer, so here’s a blog about all the wonderful lessons to be learned from 2 weeks at GVAI!
For When One Wagner Opera isn’t Enough
Next week, the Bayreuth Festival will start and run through the end of August. The program consists entirely of operas written by Richard Wagner. No, it only takes a month to get through them all, not a full year!
Believe it or not, the idea of a festival of only Wagner operas was the conception of Wagner himself! Okay… I guess that is pretty believable. Always in a financial crisis, the festival was a means for Wagner to pay debts and remain financially independent. Once Wagner had chosen Bayreuth as the location for his festival, he discovered that the existing theatre in Bayreuth was not equipped to handle the grandiose staging and orchestrations of his operas. Hence, he set out to fundraise to build a grand opera house worthy of his works.
It's all about great singing!
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Most blog posts from June 2017 - June 2018 were written by GVAI's blogger Anikka Abbott who has just started her journalism studies. We already miss her. Learn more about her here or connect with her on Facebook.
Hello, I am Christine, the director of GVAI, a passionate singer, German diction, voice and performance coach. I love music, singing and dancing. Life is an exciting journey and I invite you to walk with me....