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Pay to Play: Opera Australia Calls for Amateur Singers to Apply for No Pay in Upcoming 'Aida' Staging

By Ian Holubiak i.holubiak@classicalite.com on Nov 20, 2014 04:34 PM EST

Like the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra using an ensemble of substitutes — now that is a cool band name — Opera Australia will now "employ" students for a once-in-a-lifetime experience on the stage to perform Aida. The catch is that there is no pay — so what "opportunity" are they really offering?

No pay or expenses is not a bad way to get your foot in the door. You could even call it an internship, if you really wanted to. And on that note, the "professional" opera house on the harbor has a list of requirements for applicants:

1. Commit to performances from March 25 to April 26, with no shows on Mondays or Good Friday.
2. Demonstrate a high level of self-organization and reliability.
3. Follow internal Opera Australia policies, including WHS, Codes of Conduct, etc.
4. Cover all their own expenses, including travel and food expenses. We unfortunately cannot provide any reimbursements or allowances to secondment positions.

Secondment Role:

Secondment cast members will make up an integral part of the Aida cast in the role of Supernumeries. Supernumeries will have significant on-stage time and play an important part of the production.

Do not let these big-wigs fool you: This does not grant the label "professional" with a cast strictly of amateur performers. As Lebrecht so dutifully quipped, "An opera house that employs performers on amateur terms is an amateur opera house."

Well, if they could not perform Carmen because it was too racy with smokes, then they cannot pay performers because it is too costly.

Yeah, right.

Until next time, then, OA.

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TagsOpera Australia, Aida, Norman Lebrecht