Studying at KHiO 2021: Academy of Opera
Name: Christina Jønsi
Programme: Master of Opera
What has it been like at KHiO?
It is hard to summarise my time as a student at KHiO. The years here have been incredibly inspiring and have helped shape me as an artist and a person for the rest of my life.
I would like to highlight the interdisciplinary nature of studying opera. It is a fantastic opportunity to work on theatrical forms of expression with teachers from dance and theatre, in addition to the specialised opera directors. As an opera singer, it is easy to become introspective and only focus on the song, so it has been liberating to work on my theatrical performance through my body. When your body is free, your voice is also more liberated.
It has also been wonderful to be part of the “team” in my class. By learning together and staging productions, we’ve become a close-knit group, and I feel that we all take one another to a higher level.
Otherwise, the social dimension changed greatly during the pandemic. We couldn’t be as social with people from other programmes and cohorts, so that the foundation we laid as a class was especially vital when we for example collaborated on our graduation production.
What is your main takeaway from KHiO?
My main takeaways from KHiO include the theatrical performance skills, a solid basis for vocal technique, and not least the people I’ve met and gotten to know.
My class was also greatly impacted by the pandemic in spring 2020, since we were the only students at the Academy of Opera at the time who weren’t graduating that year. This gave us a foretaste of some of the most difficult aspects of life as a freelancer. I feel this has made me more ready and self-confident to enter the workforce.
Tell us about your graduation project.
Our joint graduation project was our staging of Johan Strauss’s operetta Die Fledermaus, which we put on in February. This production was also severely impacted by the pandemic. The graduation productions at the Academy of Opera are always performed with an orchestra at Stage 2 at the Opera. We lost this opportunity, and we also lost the dancers from KHiO who were going to perform with us. We also lost a week of rehearsals because of the lockdown. Not only that, but the premiere had to be moved forward to avoid a scheduling conflict at KHiO’s main stage. And finally, we weren’t allowed to have any outside spectators among the audience. Nonetheless, we managed to put on a truly fabulous and solidly professional show. KHiO also invested in professional-grade multicamera video recordings of both performances, where we can edit videos of our own performances to use on our home page and the like.
And now what?
I’ve been lucky enough to get a job as a trainee soloist at the Opera next year. I’m so looking forward to that! I’ve been given this opportunity largely thanks to the teaching I’ve received at KHiO, and of course my wonderful singing instructor Solveig.