EURES: An opportunity to make yourself heard!

08.09.2009

Hanna-Maria, a freelance opera singer from Malmö, south of Sweden, decided in 2008 that she needed a new challenge. With help from her local EURES Adviser she secured an audition in Hamburg and is currently working towards reaching her goal. Hanna-Maria, aged 35, is a Swedish Mezzo-Soprano soloist and freelance opera singer. She has been performing in the Opera Chorus of Malmö for five years but recently decided to pursue new opportunities: “I want to move on. If I stay here not much will happen to me, and if I want to do more, I have to make it happen”. It’s true that in Sweden there are few agencies and few opera houses; hence few job opportunities for Hanna-Maria.

In November 2008, Hanna-Maria paid a visit to the Malmö Public Employment Service in the hope of finding new opportunities. There she met local EURES Adviser Birgitta Lindroth, and explained her situation: she wanted to pursue her career as an opera singer abroad, preferably in Germany as she believed it to be a country of opportunity for performing artists.

A few months later in March 2009, Birgitta Lindroth went on a business trip to Hamburg where she met Wolf Borchers of ZAV, the German Public Employment Service for artists, who informed her that the agency was currently organising auditions. These auditions were not for a specific production, but simply a chance to hear new voices and decide where they would fit best. Ms Lindroth called Hanna-Maria as soon as she was back in Sweden and ensured that Mr Borchers and Hanna-Maria each had the other’s contact details.

Hanna-Maria wasted no time contacting ZAV, sending an email as well as a letter, her CV, and a CD of her work. ZAV were obviously interested as they called Hanna-Maria in June and have planned an audition for this autumn, on 20 October.

“When I go to Hamburg I will have to sing, in front of a panel of judges, extracts from my repertoire to prove that I can sing in German, Italian and French. I hope that they think I have a good voice and that they could hire me for one of the productions.”

“I would be interested in cooperating with ZAV; I have a very positive impression of this agency. I have spoken with other colleagues who also are freelance opera singers and that have had good experiences with the agency. I would really like to find an opportunity in Germany. There are many more opera houses and there than in Sweden, and indeed many other European countries”. Hanna-Maria studied German for three years so she can speak a little, and would probably improve rapidly if she moved there. One thing for sure is that she can already sing in German!

“Singing abroad is an excellent way to make new connections and meet people from other cultures, while of course doing my job as well as I can! I am very excited; this would be the first time I would have the opportunity to work abroad and I am sure that I would learn a lot from the experience.”

Hanna-Maria’s story has shown that EURES can help citizens from all disciplines, performing artists included! Though the process from audition to employment can be slow, Hanna-Maria is very appreciative of the help received along the way. We wish her the best of luck for her audition!

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