Before I started to write my last blog post, I looked into my archive, because I wanted to know, when was the last time I wrote a post. And seriously – it has been a year ago. I will try to be brief, but a year is a long period of time, especially if we are talking about the final year of my studies at the university of Vienna.
After a short and friendly conversation with my singing teacher, we agreed, that it was very nice and enriching to be in her class, but it is time to try something different, therefore she offered me that I can be a part of the class of her colleague and a world-famous tenorist Benjamin Bruns, who took care of me, so I finished my studies in his class. It was actually great to experience education from a different professional. However, I will never forget professor Margit Klaushofer and I am very thankful for her help.
One day I was baking a pie in my little viennese appartment (because the right amount of food is healthy, baking is very relaxing and I have a really good silicone form) and as a true „influencer“ I posted a picture on my social network. During the evening received the picture a few likes and hearts but there was also one comment from an anonymous person saying „you bake really well, do you want to sing in a theatre, too?“. At first I thought it was a joke, but the director insisted, so we had a meeting where we discussed the details of my scenic performance of the well-known Haydn´s oratorium Die Schöpfung as an archangel Uriel in the Slezské Theatre in Opava. This project was a great experience – I met a lot of new colleagues, I could be a part of the theatre and I sang the scenic oratorium, which is not very common (oratorium is specifically played and written for concerts, not for scenic performances). We were playing this the whole December and January.
Vincenc Ignác Novotný
Our university does not have very strict rules for graduating, so I was not stressed about finishing my bachelor studies. The thesis needs to be about 10 pages long and it is not published anywhere, therefore no one from the public reads it. So, the motivation to write a good one is not as high as in other schools, where you have to defend thesis as well. The topic I chose was our performance of the newly discovered baroque opera – Giuseppe Scarlatti´s “Dove e amore e gelosia” – which we performed at our student festival Classfest.
This topic was not badly chosen, I even managed to finish it during my winter break, but the thesis supervisor was very thorough, so I had to rewrite four times. Maybe it is normal, but since we did not have to write anything during our studies, not even an essay or a presentation, I was furious about that. If there is any student reading this thinking it is not that bad, please hit me up, so I can feel better about myself. :D
In February we did a lot of school opera production. This year it was Prodaná nevěsta by Bedřich Smetana, which is something you might find interesting – our national Czech opera play in Vienna! Well, actually not. It was performed in the old, archaic, German version with dialogues written by the creative team of the director and the conductor.
Well, it was difficult and we performed it during the covid times, so there were eleven out of seventeen people ill even during just the practice. Luckily, everyone was fine, but we were pretty scared. Because of the pandemic, we could not perform the opera with the orchestra, so I bet you can imagine, that just the piano was not enough for the pathetic sound of the opera. But I do not want to complain, I was very thankful that I could study the tenor roles of Vašek and Comedian, which was very fun. So, the project turned out amazing in the end!
Thanks to the relative success in Opava, the former chief of the opera offered me to play in another play and this time it was even better – Don Ottavio in Mozart´s Don Giovanni. I was so excited. I immediately bought this expensive book where you can find the singing parts of all the singers with the notes for the piano and I started to learn my part. It took me almost two months and I was very excited to sing it in the theatre. My heart broke when the production team told me that the show was cancelled due to financial issues. The two months that I obviously did not get paid for. We were supposed to be a big amazing group, so I was devastated.
Luckily I learned soon that everything happens for a reason and today I am very thankful that the Giovanni show could not be performed. In the middle of May, my friend which I already know from the production of Smetanova Litomyšl called me, that their tenor singer cannot manage to sing and that she knows that I am busy, but she is just trying to ask me if I want to take the role as a peasant Lukáš in Benda´s Vesnický trh. If I performed in the Giovanni show, I would not have times for this because I would have to nonstop travel from Vienna to Opava, but now? Obviously I said yes to the offer and I promised that I will learn the role quickly and I will come to Prague in 14 days. It is important to say that the premiere was supposed to be on the end of may, so it was really last minute. It will probably sound kitschy and awkward, but I fell in love with my theatre partner and we started to date and it is amazing! We even went on holiday together during July to Italy and it was the first time I saw the sea (I did not have time, money nor a travel partner to go with before this). Well, considering the fact that I told myself I do not want another relationship during my studies abroad and especially not with a singer… But I could not be happier, to be honest. Thank God the Giovanni show was cancelled!
The last story I want to tell you about are my final exams. As I already told you, it is not very difficult to finish the university. Six different song and four arias. Well, I was even excited for this exam. But that would be too easy. Three days before the „D day“ I got really sick. Luckily my throat was not hurting and I did not have fever. Just my cavity was really full. I sounded like a siren of an overseas boat in the fog. I had two options. Either to postpone the exam on September or to try and hope that my professors know that I do not normally sing like this and I am just sick. I have always been a fighter, so I went to sing. In the end, it was not that terrible, nor was it excellent. The main thing is – I got my diploma! A week later I had my entrance admission for the master studies and I was not sick anymore, so I sang much better.
My summer holiday was amazing. I even managed to experience more things than last year. In July I performed in the “La Psiché” opera as the God Mercurius during the Olomouc Baroko festival, which was fun because I already knew my colleagues and since it was a baroque performance, I could be as pathetic as I wanted to. Than I had a concert of the laureates in Jevišovice with the Czech Ensemble Baroque, since I won last year´s Letní škola barokní hudby in Holešov competition. I also managed to sing at the last three shows of Vesnický trh – two in Valtice and one in Prague. I spent the last free days learning the program of August.
In August I participated again in the Letní škola barokní hudby in Holešov, where I learned Händel´s oratory “Triumph of time and truth” and at the same time I was performing in Kroměříž for the big show that was coming. On 18th of August we performed the very first Czech singplay Dráteník by František Škroup after many years as a part of Olomouc Baroque Festival. It was very successful – not only for the interprets but also because this “sound of the music history” was not played in the Czech Republic for many years. We were also happy because not only the public enjoyed it, but also the critiques. The cherry on top on my imaginary musical cake was the opening mass on the festival of Dagmar Pecková – Zlatá Pecka in Chrudim. And that is a wrap before I start my next semester on my masters degree and a new chapter of my study life.
The years were amazing. I learned new languages, I discovered a big part of Europe, I set my priorities and I learned what I want and do not want from life, I grew up (yeah, sure…)
BcA (bachelor of arts) Vincenc Ignác Novotný is saying bye with the expectations of two more years in Vienna and maybe I will receive the diploma of master of arts. And I would like to invite you to the summer show of the original Czech František Škroup´s play – Dráteník, which will take place on 18th and 19th of August on the Olomoucké barokní slavnosti. And I hope to see you soon – in the theatre, concert hall or a music festival, good bye!
I am very grateful to all of you in the Foundation for your help and support. For your friendly approach and communication and the support in my study activites. I even found a couple of friends in the The Kellner Family Foundation, so hopefully I will manage to meet you in the future. And thank you, mr Kellner… I am really sorry that I cannot tell you this any more, but a dream of a chubby boy from a village came true thanks to you.
Photo Olomoucké barokní slavnosti
As I near the end of my undergraduate studies, I would like to dedicate a blog to what has shaped me perhaps the most during my time here - and I'm not referring to the invaluable professors or internships I've written about on this blog, but to life in the Newman House Chaplaincy.
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