“Young soprano Elizabeth Gentner…has a supple, full-bodied voice perhaps better suited for a larger venue, but displayed a confidence and command of comedy unusual in a performer at such an early stage in her career.” ~Kathleen Whalen, Daily Republic Correspondent
I’m a little sorry for the poor waitress who was the first person I tried to speak to in German after the long trip to Berlin. While my German is far from perfect under normal circumstances, I was particularly incoherent on my first excursion into the city.
Motivated mostly by hunger, after showering and taking a long nap at the hotel, I asked for directions to a good place to eat and set out! I wandered into a small grocery store and realized that I would need cash… I wandered until I found an ATM, grabbed a few things without incident from the grocery store and then decided on the restaurant Hell oder Dunkel Bier based on what I saw people eating outside.
I had been speaking German so much the previous day at the airport, watching movies in German and even reading German newspapers. So I was pretty shocked myself when instead of asking for a table for one in either English or German what came out of my mouth was an incoherent melding of German and English words that even I didn’t understand.
The waitress looked completely baffeled so I tried again to say the phrase in English… Well that didn’t even work! I promise that any american waitress would have been confused, but as far as this girl was concerned, I was speaking Swahili.
I finally muttered something about jetlag and she was so excited that she understood something that she jumped up and said “Ohhhh its ok! You can speak English here… Table for one?!?”
Well, I made friends with the waitstaff but I am absolutely certain that that they think I am a little crazy….
After an arduous journey from Dayton to Columbus to Chicago to LaGuardia to JFK, I endured a 5 hour layover and now I am finally on the plane that will take me accross the ocean to Europe!
It may be trite, but at this moment it seems real!
I am leaving all of my details distractions and disolutions behind. To tackle my life long objectives.
Strangely enough, I am watching “Der Hobbit – Eine eunerwartete Reise” in German….mostly….while waiting to taxi out.
While I am certain that my “Reise” will have far fewer near death experiences, I hope to have half so good a story to tell.
So here goes nothing… in 5…4…3…2…1…
In case you don’t already know, the Kickstarter campaign was a success!!!
Thank you so much to everyone who contributed in order to make The Opera Performers’s Guide to Auditioning in Europe a reality. I appreciate your help so much and I look forward to sharing this experience with you!
I am a swimmer. I’m not the fastest in the world, but I am strong and steady in the water. Water is a source of strength and calm for me.
On the average bad day, my remedy can usually be found in an hour of laps. When I haven’t been to the pool in more than a couple days I become…let’s go with cranky.
Water provides you with a natural buoyancy (i.e. unless you’re doing something weird, you float). To swim, you simply allow the water to keep you afloat while your extremities propel you forward.
I, honestly, get a little caught up on the propelling forward concept. Trying to go faster, pushing to the next level. I often see new swimmers fighting the water to catch the next breath. This really isn’t the best (or fastest) way to swim. Allowing the water to do the work for you is always better. This concept is difficult especially when you are racing a clock or trying something new.
I was working on teaching my niece the concept of floating, during a family vacation. She kept worrying that she was going to sink. Every time her brow creased with concern, every time her stomach contracted with doubt she started to sink. I stopped for a bit and played in shallower water for a while. I asked her, “Do you like the water?” and got a big, excited nod.
“Can I tell you a secret? I love the water, it’s my happy place! Will you let me show you why?” I put her up on the side and laid back to float, closed my eyes and just breathed in and out. When I got up, I asked her what she thought. “Is that how a mermaid sleeps?” she asked. I hope mermaids sleep like that, and after the demonstration floating seemed a lot easier for her.
There can be all kinds of struggles at the surface. The best remedy is to stop. Float. Feel the power of the water supporting me holding me, lifting me and revel in it. While going with the flow is important, what buoyancy really does is lift me up when I stop struggling against fear.
Flailing and fighting won’t help when I am in over my head and as often as I find myself there, I should know. I just have to remember to take a deep breath, relax and float. It’s time to let my natural buoyancy take me to the top.
Well the auditions are coming in, slowly but surely!
Last on the schedule, but definitely not least: Oper in Berg Festival, Grand Voci Competition in Salzburg Austria
This will be my final audition on this tour! It has high stakes both in Euros and in Opportunities. Besides the traditional first, second, third prizes there are also a number of performance prizes. Should I win one of these, for example, I would be cast to do Pamina in The Magic Flute in Salzburg! In addition, a long who’s who list of important people in Austrian opera will be in attendance. They will all be in one place either as judges or watching for their next soprano.
Part of the great advantage to being over in Europe for this duration is that by the time I step out onto the stage for this competition, I’ll have been auditioning on a regular basis in Europe for months. These opportunities are reason that your contributions are so important! If you haven’t looked at the Kickstarter campaign the link is here.
Thank you so much for your support, it means the world to me!
As many of you already know, I am heading to Europe in May to audition for agents and companies. Not only will I be auditioning as much as possible, but I will also collect all of the lessons-learned and create an e-book to help other singers navigate to success in European opera. I have created a “Kickstarter” campaign to help finance this endeavor!
Click the picture to check out the video and share the campaign with other music lovers who might enjoy hearing about my upcoming journey. Last, but definitely not least, please consider contributing to my kickstarter campaign.
Thank you all so much for your support!
With love and gratitude,
Elizabeth F. Gentner
Well, here we go. I’ve got 90 days left to get everything ready. I’ve got a flight and really not much else.
Today, I got a major chunk of the “day job” completed. Those chunks aren’t exactly the glorious part of all of this, however, it certainly helps with financing.
I created a countdown clock it should be on the website soon!
Just so that I can see the seconds ticking away…
I think it is going to help me avoid the pesky pitfall of procrastination.
I also drafted several letters (in German) to send off to various agents in Germany. That’s the exciting part! Sending those letters off starts to help solidify the concrete details of this trip! How many auditions can I fit into 103 days? How many agents? How many cities? How many countries?
I’m about to find out.