I got called by Christoph Seuferle, the acting intendant of the Deutsche Oper a month back. He asked me to fill in for Agathe in the Kinderoper production of Der Freischütz. Rehearsals were to start a week later, and the production was to take place within a month. The phone call was enough to send me in a crazy spin, but that was closely followed by a devastating realization: I didn’t have the right type of work permit.
I’d been full time with Opera Cologne for quite a while, and as an Australian, my permit was tied to that particular job. Changes needed to be approved by both the foreigner’s office AND the ZAV, a process which usually takes 4-6 weeks. The intendant put me on to his arts administrator there who said she might be able to help me.
Several trips, phone calls, and mis-sent faxes later, I picked up my shiny new work permit, just one day before the rehearsals started, 4 days after I’d applied for it. Seemingly impossible, but the theater and ZAV were somehow able to speed up the process considerably. The production was loads of fun. Conducted by Kevin McCutcheon and originally directed by Søren Schuhmacher, the production had its fair share of fun and games, beautiful moments, group singing, and really scary bits. Students from the Charlotte-Salomon Grundschule joined in. I shared the stage with soloists Clemens Bieber, Hulkar Sabirova, Curt Roesler, and Adam Cioffari.