KATELIN SPENCER, soprano, has been hailed by Chicago audiences as a “confident beauty with a voice to match”. She received her B.M. in voice performance from University of Michigan and her M.M. in Opera Performance and Literature from Northwestern University where she performed such roles as Pamina in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Rose in Kurt Weill’s Street Scene, and Florestine in the 20th century opera, The Ghosts of Versailles by John Corigliano. She has been a featured soloist in Handel’s Messiah, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Bach’s Magnificat, and Schubert’s Mass in G. Her musical theatre credits include Farmer’s Alley Theatre’s productions of The Light in the Piazza and Pinkalicious, as well as Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof with Chicago Light Opera Works. In 2015 she sang Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 in concert with the cello ensemble, Octocelli. She also appeared as a soloist with the Michigan Festival of Sacred Music, Kalamazoo New Year’s Festival, and in the world premiere of Carl Witt’s The Winter Lamb. In April, she was the soprano soloist in Mozart’s Requiem with the Kalamazoo Bach Festival and most recently appeared with Farmer’s Alley Theatre as Mrs. Patrick in A Man of No Importance. Her European audition tour begins this fall as she leaves for Berlin in October. Katelin studies with Sunny Joy Langton and Jim Turner.
Thanks for returning yet again to my little corner of cyberspace 🙂 I have some things to report on the musical front! I know I wasn’t able to speak in detail with all of you before I left but the process of applying and singing for German theaters is slightly more complicated than in the states. I was told before I left that the best use of my time would be auditioning first for agents in Germany instead of directly for houses because this is the best way to get in front of conductors and music directors. Individual opera houses typically don’t offer auditions because they have so many applications that they cannot sort through everything. SO three months before I departed for Deutschland, I sent about 150 emails to agents in Germany. I heard back from about 10 of them, and received auditions from three. Upon arriving, I then sent an additional email to the agents that I hadn’t heard from. I was told (by many singers and coaches) that one of the auditions I was offered was a waste of time and money because the agent invited mostly everyone to sing for him whether he was interested or not. Additionally, he charged 60 € and the location was in the middle of nowhere southern Germany. After much deliberation I decided to cancel and use the money for a few extra coachings and lessons. Another, one of the offers, was supposed to get in touch at the beginning of November to schedule something and I am still waiting to hear from them about a specific date.
The THIRD invitation actually happened! It was over a week ago and, thankfully, an extremely rewarding experience. I was a little anxious because I had heard that this particular agent could be moody. Since it was my first audition, I was praying that he’d had his coffee that morning and was in good spirits. Somehow my nerves were quiet and I can honestly say I felt full of gratitude for the chance to be there. I started with the aria “Frere voyez…du gai soleil” from Massenet’s opera Werther. He heard the whole aria and then asked for “Batti Batti, o bel Massetto” from Mozart’s Don Giovanni. I had actually expected that he would ask for this aria…because it’s Mozart and when you offer a Mozart aria, most directors ask for it. It is my newest aria on the list that I typically offer but it is feeling great in my voice so I was glad to sing it.
After I sang, he approached the stage and sat with me for few minutes talking about the audition. The good news is, he had positive feedback BUT he told me my voice is better suited in smaller houses. Most agents want singers they can place in large houses because they pay better so it is in his best interest to have singers with large voices on his roster. I was not entirely surprised by this suggestion, but I hadn’t realized that the smaller houses would hear me without an agent. SO-that’s the next step! I hope to be in touch with many of them in the coming weeks.
Christmas Markets (Weihnachtsmarken) update!
I have so far been to 5 Weihnachtsmarken in Berlin. Here are some bullet points that describe my favorite moments and truths about this tradition:
- Glüwein and Spiked Hot Chocolate is available from 12-8pm pretty much everyday and sometimes you can consume it in a beautifully decorated Yurt
- Crepes, spiced-nuts, cookies, chocolates, and other delicious treats are literally everywhere and it’s wearing on my self-control
- Talented Artists sell beautiful things. Glüwein + Shopping = bad choices
- Today we discovered a warming station. Here you can slip into a long coat with radiant heat pumping through the fabric and sit on a bench with other people wearing said coats.
- Christmas carols sung in German are extremely beautiful
Thanks for reading!