The naked truth

If there’s one thing for which I am eternally grateful it is that I have never had to take my kit off on stage, which is quite remarkable given that I worked with Opera Factory back in its heyday. If that means nothing to you, suffice it to say that nudity in their shows used to be pretty-well de rigeur. You would have thought that the piece I did, “Mahagonny Songspiel”, populated as it was with lumberjacks and tarts, would be an obvious choice for a bit of exposed flesh but it was not to be. Given the other two pieces in the triple bill had loads of dangly bits on view, perhaps it would have been too much to finish the evening with yet another dose of pink, wobbly flesh.

Gillett’s Gobs Of Advice: 3, The Work

So how come you have landed this fancy job in a far-off land? Well, as often as not you discover that they really wanted someone else but ended up with you instead. Don’t worry. Get over it. It’s how the world works. You’ll be amazed once you step onto mainland Europe just how many singers there are in the business, most of whom you have never heard of, all singing away and scratching a living.
Don’t let it daunt you. Just be thankful for the job you have and realise that it’s OK to be a small fish (that no-one has heard of) in a very big sea. You’re in good company and you must have done something right or you wouldn’t be here in the first place.

Gillett’s Gobs Of Advice: 2, Logistics

Whenever I’m heading off on a foreign job, my friend Stan, a writer, asks me if I am being met with a limo at the airport and transported to a five star hotel.
Okay, okay, if the job is some concerts with a nice orchestra then there is a good chance you’ll be met and driven to a decent hotel (though, curiously, never in Berlin…) but opera is almost always a different beast and before you arrive in a new and unfamiliar city all most companies will do for you is tell you when and where your first rehearsal takes place. The rest is up to you.

Gillett’s Gobs Of Advice: 1, Getting Started Abroad

I’ve promised to hand out of gobs of knowledge to the young singers who attended British Youth Opera’s career advice day (and also to those who didn’t) so if you’ve come to the blog today hoping to read about, say, barmy tenors, pancakes or train journeys you’ll be bitterly disappointed. You might learn a thing or two though. Some of this is stuff I said at the seminar, some of it is new.