Auf wiedersehen: Clarence opera singer takes on Germany

Michelle Ryan is back home to perform two concerts before she moves to Germany to pursue a career in the European theatres.
Michelle Ryan is back home to perform two concerts before she moves to Germany to pursue a career in the European theatres. Adam Hourigan

OPERA singer Michelle Ryan will spend the a next few weeks among the Harwood canefields at her parents' home while sneaking in a bit of last minute study; and it's all completely in German.

The soprano singer will leave our shores in December to pursue her opera dream in the concert halls of Germany, and the first requirement is fluent German.

"I've actually got to do a test shortly in Melbourne so I can get a certificate that proves it," Miss Ryan laughed.

In the past year, Miss Ryan, now finished her musical studies, stepped into the world of being a freelance singer and teacher."I was lucky to get a contract with 'The Song Company', who have been an iconic six piece Acapella group for the past 30 years," she said.

"We travelled to New Zealand for a chamber music festival, and also performed in Melbourne and in the Opera House."

Miss Ryan also picked up work around Sydney singing and teaching before an opportunity in Germany presented.

"I'd been looking at Germany and the UK, so I went to Germany to do a summer program in Munich," she said.

"At the end of the program, we had some agents come and listen and one of them invited me to come back in December.

"I've gotten a few opportunities to represent the agencies and try to find work in theatres, but they have also suggested to start a Masters degree while I am there."

The summer program was designed for aspiring vocalists to learn how to audition for the theatres and vibrant musical scene in the country.

"I found it very challenging. I never thought I'd go somewhere where I have to understand a new culture and a new system, but it was really helpful," she said.

"The agents said that you just can't have talent to succeed - but my stage presence was good, I have a good height and they can see me as a character on stage singing the roles I have in my CV."

For now, Miss Ryan will commit herself to at least a year to complete a Masters degree, and while the education is free, one of the requirements is to speak the German language.

"Also, there are over 84 theatres in Germany, and they really do need people who are fluent to work there, so they advised me the study will also help to get a feel for the language," she said.

"In the meantime, there will be a lot of late night cramming."

While in the Clarence Valley, Miss Ryan will perform two concerts of works with local singers Troy Castle and Kate Thomson, and given the packed houses atconcerts she gave last year, she is excited to sing again at home.

"Opera is not really mainstream, and it's great that people wanted to come out and support the art," she said.

"I don't know how long it will be before I'm home again, so it's almost like a farewell concert...for now."

Topics:  career germany music opera

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