Essentially none of us Stipendiaten are Wagnerian singers. The Bayreuth Festival supports young singers who have been singled out as Wagner singers of the future, knowing that it may be a decade before any of us attempt this vast repertoire, if we ever do. As a consequence, tonight's concert is an eclectic mix of music, from Händel to Korngold, designed to showcase what we can happily and safely sing now.
When I was asked what I would like to sing, I was quite sure my first choice would be vetoed. Wagner and Rossini were not in awe of each other's work, accusations of being frivolous levied at one, and sententious at the other. I wondered if die-hard Wagner fans might also bristle a little when I assaulted them with a bit of Il barbiere di Siviglia. Luckily for my wonderful accompanist Boris Schäfer and me, our fizzy coloratura number was welcomed warmly.
It is highly in advisable to fly hand-luggage-only with a silk Alice Temperley gown scrunched up in your carry-on. It was incredibly lucky for me that my make-up lady in Kassel was great friends with a wardrobe mistress working at the Bayreuth Festspiele with access to a steamer. Thank you Dagmar!