Tips for Running an Opera Company

July 2, 2008

Rule #1 – Remember singers who have worked for you in the past

One would think this is an easy thing to do. It is the job of the general and/or artistic director of an opera company to hire singers. Once a singer is hired, there is often much interaction with said director. This normally translates into them remembering you – or so you would think. But, as I found out not long ago, this is not always the case. Let me share.

First of all, I shall change the name of the person and the opera company so as not to incriminate anyone. One never knows who will read the blog.

Let’s call the company Big Voice Opera and let’s call the artistic director Bob. I have sung small roles for Big Voice Opera and taken part in some of their young artist performances. Bob has directed both shows I was in, I have auditioned for Bob on several occasions and I have carried on conversations albeit awkward with Bob a couple of times. Now, Bob is odd. He’s not very social and it’s always like pulling teeth to carry on a conversation with him. He’s also rather rude. In fact, he’s so rude and socially awkward and good at making you feel inadequate, I began to make a sport of talking to him and seeing how uncomfortable I could make him.

Well, I recently ran into Bob at another company where I was doing a show. And the old desire to make him feel uncomfortable overcame me and I could not resist. So I walked up to him and said, “Hi, Bob! How are you? Good to see you.” My greeting was returned with a blank stare and wimpy handshake. Trying to quell the awkwardness of the situation (I’m at least humane in my endeavors to make someone feel weird) I continued, “Do you remember me?” Again, blank stare and cursory check of my name tag. A little light comes on, but still nothing. I continue, “I sang a couple of small roles for you, I took part in your young artist concerts and was a guest artist on a recent concert.” I kind of felt like rubbing it in. (The charming thing never worked with him, so I figured why bother. Let’s have fun). Again, a blank look and then he sort of gave the polite, “Oh, good to see you again.” Awkward silence. Now, normally in this situation, someone like Bob would ask what you have been up to, but not Bob. He looked at me oddly some more then said, after looking at my name tag one more time, “Oh, Sarah Kennedy. Of course! I’ve been to your website.” I must give him credit for his valiant effort.

I smiled politely but didn’t have the heart to tell him my website’s not up yet.

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One Response to “Tips for Running an Opera Company”

  1. BeckStein Says:

    Sadly, into every life, a little Bob must fall!

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