Hi everyone, my name is Marta Kristin Fridriksdottir and I am a soprano from Reykjavik, Iceland, although I’ve been living in Vienna, Austria since 2017. I am now finishing my Bachelor studies at the University of music and performing arts Vienna (Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien) and thinking about what to do next. As we all know, this has not been an easy time for our industry and everyone is exhausted – but I think we are seeing the light at the end of the covid19-tunnel and I wanted to talk a little bit about the bridge between being a student and the leap of faith we have to take as we dive into the “real opera world”.
Wanting to become an opera singer is a hard dream, it takes a huge amount of work, mentally and physically. We constantly must believe in ourselves even when facing rejection. Finishing your studies can be very exciting but at the same time scary, you are leaving the safety of university and must stand on your own two feet as an artist.
There are many different roads you can take after your studies, and you must be honest with yourself and do what is right for you. You could for example:
Apply to opera studios
Start singing for agents
Do summer projects
Prolong your studies
Master your Italian/German (or any other languages really)
Even found your own little opera company…
This list could go on and on, the possibilities are almost countless. These different options might even seem a bit overwhelming. I personally like making organized lists of (realistic) things I want to achieve and work towards those goals. Having all of your files (resume, repertoire list, photos, recordings...) up to date and ready to be sent whenever needed might also be a very good idea ;)
The most important thing, in my opinion, is to be true to yourself and trust your path. Don’t compare yourself to others because you never know their whole story, the only person worth comparing yourself to is yourself! We all want to make beautiful music, give the audience an escape into another world where their daily lives and struggles are not as big.
The best advice I ever got was: “know your music, be nice and be on time” I think if you follow that and have a decent voice you are on a good way. Don’t stress too much over the small things, do your best but always strive to be better.
I have always been very inspired by nature. Spending time outdoors, breathing fresh mountain air, hiking with my friends, swimming in lakes or observing an active volcano in Iceland is something that feeds my soul and always manages to calm me down. However, during the lockdowns we had due to covid, I found out that in order to keep my sanity I need hobbies! I learned how to knit and absolutely love getting an outlet for my artistic side in that way as well as with singing.
Vienna is now opening up again slowly after months of lockdown and I got the chance a few days ago to go to a Liederabend with Diana Damrau in Wiener Staatsoper. This was my first time in an opera house since September 2020, it inspired me so much, I became so optimistic about the future and excited to keep on working. Seeing Diana Damrau glowing on stage with her amazing personality and voice filled me with hope. I really could see the light at the end of the covid-19 tunnel.