What's in a Gig?

What's in a Gig?

There is more to delivering a freelance performance than meets the eye. I spoke with Melba Opera Trust about my experience performing in private events, providing an insight into the process:

The call

The first step to performing at private event is 'getting the call'. It sounds quite simple, but to make sure you are front of mind relies on clients knowing and trusting you as a performer. This all comes down to promotion, marketing and industry relationships (not to mention a proven track record!)

The Other Side

The Other Side

As a freelance muso it is always reassuring to have more than one string to your bow as you navigate the highs and lows of inconsistent work. My extra string is music administration. I have always been interested in the 'behind the scenes goings on' of companies and productions that I have been a part of, and since 2014 I have been lucky enough to have worked for various companies and trust organisations in Melbourne. [...]

Hello 2017!

Hello 2017!

And with that, we conclude another year. We say goodbye to 2016 and welcome 2017 with open arms. Filled with much success, challenges, loss and new innovations, I began to reflect on some of 2016 highlights.

I was thrilled to be a part of many new projects and productions as a member of Victorian Opera's Developing Artist program - primarily in their production of Laughter and Tears. In the portion of Tears, Leoncavallo's spectacular opera I Pagliacci was showcased and [...]

Five questions for Shakira Tsindos

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You recently performed as a Minstrel in Victorian Opera’s collaboration with Circus Oz, Laughter and Tears! Can you tell us a little more about this production, and the role you have in it?

Laughter and Tears was a unique and dynamic production that I feel extremely privileged to have played a part. A co-production with Circus Oz and Dislocate, Victorian Opera coupled the very famous opera I Pagliacci with a selection of Baroque arias, duets and ensembles to create a ‘show within a show’, mirroring the story of Pagliacci. Following the tradition of Commedia dell’arte (which is a form of 16th century Italian theatre), I was cast as a singing minstrel who’s well rehearsed entertainment was continually disrupted by the incompetent stage-hands who could not understand that “theatre and life were not the same thing”. Not only was the show a true success but I also learned to juggle in our downtime!

Contrastingly, you played the role of Alisa in the tragic Lucia di Lammermoor earlier this year. How do you mentally make the transition between heavy and light roles, and develop your character?

I found it was easy to transition between the heavy drama of Lucia and the comedy of Laughter when I was being true to the thoughts and emotions of my character. In committing my intention wholeheartedly to the story and characters on stage I found it easier to feed off the energy of other performers and react honestly and naturally to their actions.

To avoid a permanent frown from the constant concern and devastation that Alisa endured during Lucia di Lammermoor, I couldn’t leave the theatre without forcefully relaxing the muscles in my face. So, it was a treat to perform such energetic characters in Laughter and Tears that were allowed to smile more that once!

Each performance is accompanied by highly detailed and elaborate costuming. Which costume has been your favourite to wear this year?

My favourite costume this year was my most recent Minstrel costume. Designed by Harriet Oxley and hand-made entirely of silks and trim detailing by David Anderson, this medieval inspired costume embodied the style of the Commedia dell’arte and suited the production perfectly. My costume in Victorian Opera’s production of Cinderella as Dorothée, Cinderella’s step-sister, would definitely come a close second. Once again hand-made by Justine Coultham and designed by Candice MacCallister the hilarious and colourful nature of this costume allowed for a silliness and over-the-top energy that the character required.

You are a first time scholar this year, receiving the Joseph Sambrook Opera Scholarship. Tell us about your time with the Trust so far, and what a highlight has been for you.

Over this year I have been astounded with how much Melba Opera Trust has enriched the early stages of my singing career. The program offers the opportunity to work with industry professionals not only in performance but also by offering workshops on time management, legal smarts, accounting, etiquette, etc. The opportunity to work with Deborah Humble, Guillaume Tourniaire, Daria Masiero and Dame Felicity Lott (to name a few) is a privilege I am very grateful for, as it is one that would not be possible without the program.

You also work in artistic administration with the Opera Scholars Australia, and have previously interned at Victorian Opera. How does a knowledge of the business side of music help you in your professional development?

Working in the small team at Opera Scholars Australia (OSA) I am made aware of how versatile your skills must be. Whilst working for both OSA and Victorian Opera I have seen and contributed to the preparation of large-scale concerts/productions, masterclasses, workshops, rehearsals and other events and I am continuously aware that within these massive ‘performance’ machines the singers are the small, but significant, cog. As a freelance performer, you must consider your career as your own small business, and developing skills in handling contracts, managing my social media and website presence, coordinating my time management and conducting communication with industry professionals and supporters has been invaluable.