Opera? In Ethiopia?

Through a strange turn of events, I will be singing solo opera at the Italian Cultural Institute in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, a week before I leave for good, for an audience of 400. How strange. I sit at an internet cafe in Sidist Kilo wondering at the strange few days I have had.

Monday at Motley Singers, I volunteered to turn pages for our accompanist as he played. I did this for one reason – to watch his fingers. I knew that he studied music at Yale and the Academy of Vienna, as well as in Cologne and Sweden. I wanted to watch how he played and learn something from him through watching. During the rehearsal, I sang soprano beside him while flipping pages.

After rehearsal was over, the British accompanist turned to me and asked, “Do you ever sing solo?” I replied that I don’t, and the only piece other than choral pieces that I know is Benedictus, the duet by Saint-Saens.

“You really should sing solo,” he said.

He told me that the Italian Cultural Institute was looking for a soprano to exhibit on their gala of the arts on March 28th. Thus far, they hadn’t found anyone, and the music would be only instrumentals, string suites by Schubert, etc. “You might be our saving grace,” he said.

After exchanging phone numbers (he put me in his phone as Abbie Sop Good, haha), he promised to call and set up rehearsal times. I told him I could sing in English, Latin, Spanish, and German (and Swahili, but there’s no classical music there).

Today was the first rehearsal. Dr. Willcox has me singing three German pieces – one by Beethoven called “Mit einemgemalten Band,” a song from Mozart’s The Magic Flute called “Bei Mannern, welche Liebe fuhlen,” and “An Chloe” by Johann George Jacobi. We spent five hours today rehearsing – he played, and I sang on a “la” because I need to study the German.

I’m loving life getting free opera and vocal training by a musical genius. That’s all.

Now it’s time to search for an evening dress. This should be interesting.


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