Young singers in Santa Fe: Sarah CoitInterview
Florida native Sarah Coit is a Resident Artist at Utah Opera, a 2017 semi-finalist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and this summer is her second as an Apprentic Singer at Santa Fe Opera. In 2016, she understudied the role of Erika in SFO’s production of Vanessa; this year, she’ll sing Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor, and she understudies for Sasha Cooke as Laurene Powell Jobs in The ®evolution of Steve Jobs.
Coit spoke with us about the subtle art of being an understudy, and the fun of wearing multiple hats as a SFO Apprentice Singer.
Can you describe a day in the life of an apprentice singer at Santa Fe Opera?
Every day is different! As apprentices, we wear a lot of different hats. Either we’re singing roles in the operas, singing chorus, covering, or just coaching our own repertoire and scenes. It’s fun to switch between multiple operas in a day.
What appealed to you about the apprentice program?
I’ve always heard amazing things about the program. It’s a great place to learn both from doing and from watching. The principal singers they bring in are incredible and the productions are fun and interesting. It’s also such a beautiful and unique theatre to sing in!
What do you think is an important part of being a good understudy?
Well, knowing the music helps. I think covering teaches patience and also how to be a good observer. Not everything you see a singer do (and this doesn’t even have to pertain to the person you’re covering) is something you want to emulate, either as a singer or as a colleague. You can learn a lot by just watching a rehearsal: how more experienced singers deal with problems they may have, how often or not they mark, what kind of things to be watching for from a conductor, etc. You can see all of these things without making the mistakes yourself in that setting. It’s kind of a major blessing.
Then, sometimes, you get to form a student/mentor relationship with a performer you really respect and idolize and you’re able to talk to them about their experiences and get advice. So, I’d say the most important part is coming into rehearsal with open ears and eyes. You never know what you’ll learn.
How have you been spending your free time outside of rehearsals?
It’s been a pretty busy beginning to the season, so most of my free time is spent relaxing or doing laundry! I do go to the gym with some of my fellow Apprentices and I get out and enjoy some of that delicious New Mexican food!
Are there any highlights of the summer you’re particularly looking forward to?
I’m a big Handel junkie, so I’m excited to go watch Alcina. I’m also excited to see Steve Jobs on the stage. It’s a really exciting and beautiful piece and I can’t wait for people to see it!