“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 am Elizabeth Gentner and I am an Opera Singer.
Opera is more than a passion for me it is a calling. It is so rare to be given a gift of talent that transforms your life. Even more rare, is for that gift to have the ability to change the lives of others. Performing for an audience is the great joy of my life. Not only is it a rush, but it is also a privilege to share who I am and what I care about with an audience. I get to take these ancient stories and make them current, bringing characters from history to life through music.
Opera is much more than just the ability to sing. It takes a great deal of study, practice and dedication. Not only does a performer need to know and perform the notes, but also to understand why the notes were written in the first place. On top of that, the performer needs to communicate all of the emotion, plot and historical context within the confines of the composer’s score solely through the powers of the human body. I am a performer who loves all of the history and tradition of opera and honors that in performance. I can, at the same time, make these works of art relevant today for a live audience. I feel very passionately that opera can provide the ultimate audience experience. However, the opera sphere has lost its accessibility over the years. My goal as an opera performer is, once again, to unite the universal human experience with the opera experience
In order to accomplish that goal, I have to be heard. The upper echelon of opera executives have to hear and see what I am capable of. I also feel that I have an incredible opportunity to help those who will follow in my footsteps, pursuing opportunities abroad. That’s why I decided to pursue this project: to use myself as a case study to help others who will follow in their pursuits, as well.
Opera has been my life’s work and all of the practice and study I have done have awarded me the privilege of performing some of my favorite roles such as Violetta in La Traviata. However, it is time to move to the next level. In Europe there are more opportunities than in the States – more opera houses, more classical concerts. I believe that this is my way in, my opportunity to be a success. In order to take advantage of the opportunities across the Atlantic, this summer I am going on an audition tour to sing for as many opera companies and agents as I am able in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. I have already bought the plane ticket and I am currently contacting agents and scheduling auditions.
Going to Europe to sing has long been a dream of mine. But the time for me to go is now. My craft is in a good place, I do not have any contractual obligations, and I am financially flexible. While terrifying and thrilling all at once, it is time for me to lay everything I have on the line for the sake of what I have worked so hard to achieve.
More importantly, however, this will allow me to produce a how-to guide that will help many others like me, and hopefully begin a dialogue that I believe can foster interest in going abroad among more people. At the first stage of planning this tour I had trouble knowing where to begin because there is no guide – no formalized place to start looking, no best practices. I realized that if I was going to do this I was going to have to figure it out all on my own. So that is what I’m going to do. Since I’m not a fan of reinventing the wheel, I’m going to catalog what works and what doesn’t, so that other singers can learn from my experience and have a place to start. Ultimately, I am going to collect all of the lessons-learned and create an e-book to help other singers navigate to success in European opera.
Stay tuned for more updates on the progress of The Opera Performer’s Guide to Auditioning in Europe.
Changing the status quo of opera for the audience involves working with and changing the minds of the people who make decisions. I am committed to being an agent of that change and I ask you to support my efforts to make opera universal again.