Take a Chance

December 9, 2018 — 65 Comments

This week I flew to New York City to participate in the live auditions for a Young Artist Program. I was elated to receive the invitation, during the application season I have to send out applications to Opera companies all over Europe and North America. This is a lengthy process requiring references, audition repertoire to master, CVs to produce and videos to record. These applications are sifted through by the Opera Houses and if you are fortunate, they invite you to a live audition. Each Opera house will receive several hundred applications each season for between four to eight places, so to get an invitation is a big step forward for me.

In New York

I arrived in New York the day before my audition so I had time to acclimatise and give my body a healthy chance of singing well. I arrived at Newark airport in the evening, which was the afternoon in New York time and after a super long queue at immigration/passport control which made me too late to meet my booked shuttle transport. I was gasping for a cup of tea – but unable to get an English Breakfast Tea at the airport I would need to wait until I hit the big city lights to quench my thirst, with my excitement rising I boarded the Air Train and then NJ Transit and travelled in to New York Penn Station which is underneath Madison Square Garden.

My Cabin Room

I stayed nearby at the Chelsea Cabins, a cosy affordable single bed cabin in Manhattan, 3 minutes from Penn station. When I arrived, I found out that the accommodation was a vegetarian and non-smoking premise with quiet rules (no noise between 9pm-9am), which resulted in a few good nights sleep, so that I had plenty of energy to meet each day head on.  The staff were friendly and the premises were kept very clean, I would recommend it to a single traveler looking to make their money go a little further in New York

In my downtime I explored the city, refreshing my memories from my trip in April/May this year and noticing the changes to the city and loving the fantastic decorations which adorned the buildings and public spaces ready for the Festive season.

To make the most of the trip, I got in touch with friends I have in the city and organised some catch ups. I saw my wonderful friend Addy, who is an amazing collaborative pianist, that I knew from my time at the RCM, for a delicious Mexican meal at El Centro. Addy now works at the Steinway Factory in Queens. I was fascinated to learn about her job and how she helps renowned pianists from all over the world choose which Model D Steinway concert grand they wanted to perform on at venues around the City such as Carnegie Hall.

Meeting Freinds

Addy and Me

I also met up with my friend Victoria, who is talented mezzo-soprano that I performed with at the Berlin Opera Academy, for a fantastic American Brunch at Smiths in Nomads. There I ate a new culinary surprise for me, a delicious concoction, a breakfast pot pie!

Straight after my audition, I went to the Metropolitan Opera House to see my friends and colleagues in the Education Department. I was overjoyed to learn that I visited just in time to attend the MET’s annual Holiday Bake Off competition to raise money for charity: God’s Love We Deliver (@godslovenyc). The truly amazing Soprano Anna Netrebko was judging alongside the charming Tenor, Piotr Beczala, industry expect and Pastry Chef Natasha Pickowicz, Tshombe Selby (Tenor), Elisa Iberti (Head of Costume), and Camille LaBarre (Met Patron). I was thrilled to be able to meet my idols up close, Anna and Piotr were very humble and kindly agreed to pose for a picture with me, which I will treasure for a long time. The Bake Off raised £1,000 and the cakes/cookies/pies tasted delicious. My header photo for this post was taken by Jenny Gorman of the Met Opera.

The cherry on the cake for me was that I was fortunate enough to to get a ticket to watch La Traviata with the renowned soprano Diana Damrau. I adore Damrau and watch her performances regularly on YouTube and DVD, so I was over the moon to be able to watch her live. I attended the fantastic pre-show event for under 40’s where you could mingle, eat light refreshments and dress up in masquerade masks. It was a night I will remember for a long time.

Unfortunately, though I did not gain a place on the Young Artist program this year, I was so thrilled that I made the journey and squeezed as much joy and delight into the trip that I could. I believe that every cloud has a silver lining and I am so thankful I could take a risk on myself at this moment in my life and who knows what the Universe has in store for me next!!

 

65 responses to Take a Chance

  1. 

    Woo-hoo! I’m so sorry you weren’t successful, but to be invited at this early stage? You are entitled to feel seriously proud of yourself. And simple though it was, you looked seriously gorgeous in that grey poloneck. On to the next thing, enriched.

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather December 9, 2018 at 10:24 pm

      Thank you Martin 😊. My younger brother Tom bought the polo-neck for me for my birthday last month, it turned out to be the best lunch date ever! Got to keep positive.
      All my best wishes
      Charlotte

  2. 

    Well done for getting the audition. Well done for travelling all that way. But mostly well done for being You lovely lady. Better luck next time XX

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather December 9, 2018 at 10:28 pm

      Thank you Les, fortunately I quite like travelling, I can keep myself busy while waiting around, but standing in a big queue for over an hour after a long flight is challenging. Got to keep on trying.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  3. 

    Sad you didn’t get it, better luck next time. But it looks like you had a nice break though.

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather December 9, 2018 at 10:30 pm

      Thank you, I found a great rehearsal space which is always useful and made the most of it.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  4. 

    I’m sorry you didn’t get a place on the program, but it sounds like a fantastic trip! Good luck on your next audition 🙂

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather December 11, 2018 at 10:04 pm

      Thanks Trent, audition season is a bit of a trial. I developed a bit of a thicker skin at school when I only once got a part I auditioned for and that was because it wasn’t the main role hehe, when I resorted to tears once my Mum said “stop it or I won’t let you continue taking drama lessons because that is what this world is like”. I never understood why I was never allowed to sing in the Search for a Star competition either but at least I came second with a monologue so I just learnt to pop up doing something else to get noticed.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

      • 

        Having a thick skin is as important as skill and talent, I think. I can also imagine that the audition season is pretty stressful, so I think it’s great that you made the most of your trip to NYC. I’m also sure that you didn’t have any problems finding ways to get noticed when you were school 😉

  5. 

    Great trip and there will be another time. I’ve always believed that if you don’t get something you are eager for there is always a reason which allows you to open new doors. Thanks for the update,

  6. 

    Awesome that you were invited and I know it is only a matter of time before you are going to receive a spot! Glad you were able to enjoy New York while you were here. Cheers.

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather December 11, 2018 at 10:05 pm

      I love New York, I was walking along chatting on my earpiece to my Mum saying well I’m lost but I think I’m still on Broadway and this lovely lady leaned in and said “yes, my dear you are”. People trusted me with their phone cameras to take their picture, just a great buzz around the place and my friends all went out of their way to make time for me.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  7. 

    It sounds as if you had a lovely trip except for the queue at the airport. I’m so sorry you didn’t gain a place on the program, but those of us who have been following your career are confident that even better opportunities are ahead for you!

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather December 11, 2018 at 10:06 pm

      Thank you, keeping the faith, its nice to know I’m not alone and you lovely people are willing me a break.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  8. 

    Enjoyed your rundown of NYC. I would have liked to see some numbers for ‘super long queue at immigration/passport control’

    You do decent photography. Many blogs, not photography dedicated have crappy photos.

    I work in NYC a lot. I camp out in Jersey City. I need to go day and night, so quiet time is an issue. Also I am an old guy with sleep issues and could not get by with the open lattice ceilings hearing people breath or snore. Those rooms remind me of a storage locker I used to have. But if you are young and can sleep like a log, they look good for the $$.

    Here is how I do NYC…for bohemians.

    NSFW

    https://danielteolijr.wordpress.com/2017/01/14/you-broke-and-wanna-shoot-in-nyc-no-problem-you-can-do-it/

    Good luck with your career!

    • 

      Thank you Daniel. I appreciate the tips about camping out in Jersey, I was lucky I got my flights on Black Friday thanks for the link.
      The plane arrived at 2005 and I got through passport/immigration control and got my bags at 21:45 is that usual?
      All my best wishes
      Charlotte

  9. 

    That was great. It must be fun to get back to NY again. I always like to visit the place.

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather December 11, 2018 at 10:06 pm

      It’s a great place, I tried to be adventurous and attempted to visit my friend in Queens but my phone data crashed just as I got off the main journey and couldn’t find my bus connections, fortunately she had visited me and after trying to cross what seemed like a fully packed motorway I gave up so that I could meet the times of another appointment.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  10. 

    Thank you for sharing such a wonderful adventure! Best wishes!

  11. 

    Well done for getting the audition, and although it wasn’t meant to be this time, you continue going forward all the time. It was lovely to see you meeting up with friends and only you could walk into a bake off competition Charlotte! Yum! Hoping to see you over Christmas 😘😘

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather December 11, 2018 at 10:07 pm

      I know! My first thought was Gill would be in heaven here, the cakes and pastries were amazing it was just like the Great British Bake Off, my first thought was oh good I don’t have to buy lunch now hehe, sugar overload. Hope to see you too maybe on the 21st if you are around.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  12. 

    Another wonderful set of experiences. That you didn’t make the cut means that there is something even better waiting for you!

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather December 11, 2018 at 10:07 pm

      Thank you Col, eventually the pieces might all fall into place but at the moment I seem to have a few missing pieces. Like you say perhaps things are happening for a reason best not to obsess about reasons and hope things will work out for the best.

      All my best wishes
      Charlotte

  13. 

    I can not believe you didn’t win, but I know you will use this experience to make your whole life journey even better. NYC is a great place to be at Christmas time, is it not?

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather December 11, 2018 at 10:07 pm

      Always trust you for a boost GP. You can’t go in for these things believing it won’t happen so you do have to steal yourself afterwards and keep the right attitude by not taking things personally or question yourself too much. No Fear hehe.

      All my best wishes,
      Charlotte

  14. 

    WOW. What a trip and another wonderfully coloured feather is now added to your ever expanding cap! Wishing you many more feathers!

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather December 11, 2018 at 10:08 pm

      Ooo yes feathers, multi coloured feathers would be cool, I must make myself a hat and just put it on when I need a laugh.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  15. 

    I’m sorry to hear you didn’t get into the Young Artists program – their loss, truly! But I’m happy you are staying upbeat – and what a great time to visit NYC. You got to see all the holiday decorations! Plus you got to spend time with friends – I’d say it was just about perfect. Your time is coming!

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather December 11, 2018 at 10:08 pm

      I keep all my rejection notes, e-mails put them straight in a box and put the lid on and move on. My parents saying is there’s always more than one way to skin a cat! It’s a horrible expression and I’m sure no-one ever wants to skin a cat so I don’t know where the expression comes from but I understand what they mean. The cycling santa gave me a real chuckle and I love Christmas decorations I can just walk around London at night just to see the lights. Thanks Noelle.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  16. 

    What a wonderful accomplishment — even if this time you weren’t selected. It looks like you had a fabulous trip to New York overall, meeting up with friends and seeing the sights. It’s all so wonderful and exciting for you! 😀

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather December 11, 2018 at 10:08 pm

      I also met some lovely people, I’m quite chatty and get talking to people all the time and pass out my business cards with my blog on so we can keep in touch it’s just one way I have of not feeling lonely when I’m travelling alone, although my Mum has gone into hyper warning mode just recently.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  17. 

    Dear Charlotte,
    I am thankful for your trip to New York, although I wish it were Houston, Texas so I could visit; I will wait till that special day. May the Lord bless you richly my Beloved.

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather December 11, 2018 at 10:09 pm

      I didn’t get a look in at Houston Opera House Rev.Tim it would be wonderful to visit Texas I have a few blog friends there.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  18. 

    Wow !! Happy for you, proud of you, Bravo !! Tu va devenir une artiste exceptionnelle !!

  19. 

    Of course, with all the goings on with Brexit and May, a flurry of terrific operas are being penned right now. Such a golden opportunity!
    Glad to see your happy smile again, Charlotte.

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather December 11, 2018 at 10:09 pm

      I do like to perform in contemporary operas as well as the classics, they are always very challenging. I only just read the Editors note in the Opera magazine which discussed the “shattering effect politics an have on culture” and the unprecedented cultural fermentation of the period following wars. Got to keep on smiling Gerard 😊.

      All my best wishes
      Charlotte

  20. 

    Sorry about the turn-down, but that’s part of the biz. No fun! I had a paper turned down this week. I’m at the Hollywood end of the US, so our paths will probably never cross, but I read of your adventures with great interest. I hope your stay in the US was excellent, otherwise.

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather December 11, 2018 at 10:10 pm

      Yes it is part of the biz I did have an excellent time, when you do a lot of auditions all in the same month it just seems one after the other no notes, but you have to keep out of the dark and in the light. I’d love to visit Los Angeles I have quite a number of blog friends over that side of the USA and several friends from my studying years.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  21. 

    I am happy that you’re looking on the bright side of things. And since I can’t drink coffee anymore, I have several choices of tea for my mornings. I like English Breakfast tea. Earl Grey is usually my favorite. Right now, I am trying a different Brand called Teavana. They have Citrus Lavender Herbal Tea. It’s good.

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather December 11, 2018 at 10:10 pm

      My Mum laughed when she read my text about this and said you’re in America you can’t expect an English café in the airport hehe but I was in a bad mood after missing my connection. You know when you just feel like a hot black tea with a bit of milk nothing else quite comes close. I drink lots of herbal teas and really do like them but coffee is just too strong a flavour for me.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  22. 

    Sorry to hear that you weren’t accepted there. Perhaps one day you’ll come to Canada for such an opportunity.
    Keep singing!

  23. 

    So sorry you didn’t make it into the Young Artist Program–better luck next time! But I’m so glad you enjoyed your trip: “New York, New York, it’s a wonderful town . . .”

    Best regards,

    Cate

  24. 

    I’m sorry you didn’t make it, but it looks like you had a good time, and your photos are wonderful!

  25. 

    You have friends everywhere 😃. What a great post. You may not have made it this year but what a wonderful adventure and only matter of time.

    • 

      What a lovely thought friends everywhere, thanks Alex, my blog has certainly expanded my connections around the globe. Just got to keep knocking on those doors and keep on training and improving.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  26. 

    Best not to get down in my experience. See it as an experience and on wards and upwards! Good luck for 2019! xx

  27. 

    It sounds like you had a wonderful time seeing friends, catching up and exploring the city. Whether you made it or not doesn’t pale the fun times you had there. There is always another time for you. I feel the universe has great plans for you with bigger and better things to come. Blessings to you, Charlotte! One day I will see you live and we will meet. You will be famous by then I am sure! 🤗 😘 Merry Christmas 🎁🎄

    • 

      Exactly Janice I was determined to make the most of the trip and enjoy New York before Christmas and I bounce back quickly. Merry Christmas to you and all your family I hope you are having a fabulous time. I’d love to meet Janice, let’s hope we get an opportunity.
      All my best wishes
      Charlotte

  28. 

    What an inspiring adventure! Best of luck for the next opportunity.

  29. 

    How exciting! Keep going, the sky’s the limit!
    Will you be sending, or have you sent any applications to the Canadian Opera Company?
    They have a new home here in Toronto. https://www.coc.ca/ They are the largest producer of Opera in Canada, and one of the largest in N. America. ❦

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather December 30, 2018 at 6:30 pm

      No, I’ve never seen any auditions Resa, but I have been accepted into three competitions and have had several auditions so I’ve got a busy few months ahead.
      All my best wishes
      Charlotte

  30. 

    I’m sorry you weren’t accepted but what an exciting trip you had! I apologise for the short comments and the lateness in reading your posts xx

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