This post is from Roxanna Tehrani, Summer 2011 Administrative Intern with the Wolf Trap Opera Company.
My summer vacation was spent with the highly esteemed and coveted Wolf Trap Opera Company. Wolf Trap Opera has a reputation of facilitating the careers of the opera stars of tomorrow. Alumni have gone on to perform in some of the best opera houses in the United States and internationally. In addition to this, WTOC has launched the careers of some of today’s prominent opera administrators. Positive things have always been said about WTOC, so when I was offered the position of Administrative Intern, I was eager to find out what the company could do for my own career.
The main component of my internship was that of the company daily schedule. Whether it was a coaching, rehearsal, costume fitting, or studio class, I had to somehow find a way to fit it all in with the confinements of limited rehearsal space and available hours. The schedule at first sounds pretty innocent, but you’d be surprised to learn it can take up to 4-6 hours to make. The administrative, music, and production staff was consulted several times and there was quite literally a lot of running around. It was fast paced, high energy and I had to be more than flexible and available to spontaneously problem solve. All these things needed to be maintained, especially when just as I was about to walk out the door for the day, a critical component changed, and suddenly the schedule I worked on all day got obliterated. Strangely enough, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Perhaps I’m a glutton for punishment, but I came to love the challenges faced when putting it together. It allowed me to work intimately and be exposed to all departments of the opera company – something I had never experienced before. Through these daily interactions, I not only developed professional relationships, but in some cases, tangible and legitimate friendships
So it was through the daily schedule that I learned the mechanics and operations of an opera company. It allowed me to consult with each staff member and singer to learn their wants, needs, hopes, and disappointments. These interactions were extremely educational and allowed me to perform better at my own job. Also, WTOC allowed me to work and think independently without constant supervision, something that was both professionally and personally rewarding to have reached in my young career.
My summer vacation was spent running around and gaining critical skills all the while making what I hope will be lifelong friendships. Long hours were spent at WTOC, but the experience was made enjoyable by the quality of people I found myself fortunate enough to work with. They were gracious, infinitely patient, and had enough energy to light a small town. Wolf Trap Opera Company provided me with one of the most stimulating summers of my young adult life and I must say, I’m already envious of the intern they hire next year.