Young singers in Santa Fe: Kasia Borowiec
New Jersey native Kasia Borowiec is a young artist at Palm Beach Opera, and she's spending her second summer as an Apprentice Singer at The Santa Fe Opera. In 2016, she sang in the workshop production of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, the opera by Mason Bates which sees its world premiere at SFO this month. For the 2017 Festival, Borowiec sings the title role in Paul Curran's production of The Golden Cockerel.
Borowiec spoke with us about her respect and admiration for the work happening at Santa Fe Opera, and her summer highlight picks still to come.
Can you describe a day in the life of an apprentice singer at Santa Fe Opera?
Every day at the Santa Fe Opera is different which makes things fun. We work on a daily schedule to accomodate rehearsals for all of the mainstage shows. Often we'll have a big chorus rehearsal in the morning or afternoon (sometimes both) and then also have a coaching with a guest faculty member. Every apprentice has different assignments (roles, covers, chorus) so it can really vary. During a production week, there are evening rehearsals for that show as well. And of course once the shows open, we're usually at the theater most nights.
What appealed to you about the apprentice program?
I was drawn to the talent that flocks to Santa Fe every summer to be a part of this wonderful company. I've learned so much by watching in rehearsals and being a part of performances and that education is invaluable. I also love the sense of community created here. I have friends in every department and have such a better appreciation for how much work it takes to put on a beautiful show.
What do you think is an important part of being a good understudy?
This season, I'm not covering any roles at Santa Fe. However, having covered in the past, I do have to say it's one of the best ways to learn how to pace a role. I've covered singers who have done a role many, many times and it's fun to watch them find new layers and see how they handle difficult technical or emotional moments with ease. I've also learned just as much from watching singers tackle a brand new role. You can never be too prepared as a cover, especially at at house like Santa Fe where we have long runs of productions! It's always amazing to cheer on one of your colleagues for a chance at his or her big break too.
How have you been spending your free time outside of rehearsals?
I've loved exploring everything that Santa Fe as a city has to offer! One of my favorite places to explore is Canyon Road with all of the art galleries. Before coming here, I had no idea Santa Fe had the third largest art market in the country. It's wonderful to be in a community that celebrates creativity so much. The art installation Meow Wolf is also something out of this world and could only exist in a place like Santa Fe. When I'm not in rehearsal, you also might find me at Ojo Caliente hot springs or the serene spa Ten Thousand Waves.
Are there any highlights of the summer you're particularly looking forward to?
I am so looking forward to the Apprentice Scenes program in August! It's a chance for the apprentices in all of the departments to show and celebrate their incredible talents and hard work throughout the whole summer. I will also be singing on the concert that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is hosting at the end of August, and I couldn't be more excited to meet her and be a part of such a special program. We also already had the Santa Fe Opera Olympics back in June, but that's a great highlight of the season as well. Imagine staff from across the Opera getting together to relive their fifth grade field day dreams! It's truly a blast.