The 5 Professional "P's" to make a lasting impression.
Making a good first impression is important anywhere. Making a good first and lasting impression as an artist is imperative. The opera world is SMALL. Even if you haven't met them, people in power may already know who you are. I've only been in the professional realm for about 4 years, but I have found a few things that have worked. So far, every company I've ever worked for has hired me back. That has to count for something, right??
To make a LASTING impression you must be...
Show up to EVERYTHING prepared. If it's for a show or concert, show up memorized with subtext, translations, intention, etc. If it's a lesson or coaching, show up with your notes learned! This is the bare minimum of your job. If you're just starting out, show up more prepared than you think.
IF YOU'RE EARLY, YOU'RE ON TIME. IF YOU'RE ON TIME, YOU'RE LATE.
I can't tell you the advantage and trust you gain when you show up early every day. I prefer to get to rehearsal 10-15 minutes early, sometimes more if I want to review staging. Personally, it helps me get in the mindset for rehearsal, change my shoes, think about my character, etc. If you're somewhere unfamiliar, plan extra time to figure out traffic or public transportation. If you know you might be late, always contact stage management with your eta. Walk in with an apology and be ready to go. [ Storytime: During a production of La Cenerentola, I decided to take a quick nap between rehearsals and didn't hear my alarm. As soon as the clock hit rehearsal hour, my phone BLEW UP with messages from the cast and management. Luckily, I was already in the parking lot and heading in. I was usually so early, they thought something was really wrong for me to be late. That's a pretty good place to be! ]
A rehearsal process is a team effort. Nothing is worse than dealing with a colleague that talks badly of others, has a negative outlook on everything, constantly degrading themselves, or has an attitude with the production team. If you have to work with a negative nancy, BE POLITE. Keep the process positive in the room as best you can. If you do have a colleague that talks poorly of themselves, lift them up! Tell them how awesome they are! We all need good vibes once in a while.
In addition to number 3, there may also be times where you may have to wait around for stage management to deal with the set, the chorus learning staging, the orchestra to work out any part mishaps, or costuming having to remake a costume at the last minute. Things happen. Be patient! Obviously, we want to feel our best on set, in costume, with the music, and anything else that would put us at ease on stage. However, with the beauties of live performance, anything can change!
You don't have to dress to the nines every rehearsal, but you do need to look your best. This is a great visual way for people to take you seriously as a young singer. Basically, have good hygiene, take your showers, and generally look nice. When in doubt, modest is best. Don't come in gym clothes or crop tops. Save the workout kind of clothing for dance calls, fight calls, or if your character is particularly active. In many productions, I was the one of the youngest singers in the cast. This is a great way to make you look more professional at the start of your career.
Photo by Kortnee Kate Photography