I just read Susan Eichorn-Young's latest blog entry about how annoying it can be when people find out someone is a singer and ask them why they're not singing on Broadway or at the Met. It reminded me of a conversation I had a while back, which I wrote about here.
To recap, at a friend's art opening she for some reason was introducing me to everyone as an opera singer. I think it was because everyone had some sort of thing that they did, some sort of art, and she was showing me off as her opera singer friend, even though it wasn't true. I wasn't even studying voice yet at the time. So after explaining, again and again, what I did as a super, this one woman started in with these odd questions. Go ahead and read the post. It's short. I'll wait. You need to read only the first part of the post.
People definitely have this odd attitude that the Met is the highest level of success. But how bizarre is it that the Met chorus was something that this woman looked down upon. To me, it's so high up that I get a neck strain thinking about it.
And this may sound odd, but, perhaps not everyone wants to be the star? It can be fun and fulfilling to be in the chorus. And hey, it's steady work. You get to be in almost everything the opera company does. You can live in one place, which seems like a big deal to me as a parent. It can't be easy to run off from your family several times a year for weeks or months at a time to perform somewhere away from home. It can't be fun living out of suitcases, in hotels, in other people's houses or apartments and so on. And for some people the chorus is where they're comfortable, where they're at their best. It's a skill to sing with others as a unit. You can't go off on your own ornamentation. You shouldn't sing louder than anyone else. I'm sure there's even more to it, but since the last time I was in any sort of chorus it was high school, I don't really know what else could be involved that makes the chorus for an opera different from singing solo.
That said, I'd love to be in any opera chorus. I have to keep working hard, and keep studying, so maybe by the time I retire I can audition. And the economy being what it is, I won't be retiring for quite some time.