Bad Second Careers For Opera Singers

Look, being an opera singer is hard. Many people undertake years of training, only to find themselves with no work and no prospects. Some singers make a go of it for a while, but then either the jobs of their voices dry up. And there are still others who are legitimate opera singers, but who are also holding down other jobs to make ends meet, either between gigs or scheduled around rehearsals. My point is, there are classically trained vocalists among us, and you never know who they might be. Perhaps the waiter who brought you your food, to use a cliché, or maybe the woman who sold you your house, or the new office temp, or your child’s kindergarten teacher has some hidden vocal talent. There are plenty of second careers out there for the once and future opera singer. But on the other hand, there are a few occupations that they might want to shy away from.


Okay, there’s no easy way to say this, so I’m just going to come right out with it. Opera singers, you are too loud. You cannot work at the library. People are supposed to be quiet at the library. The librarian has to set an example. I know you are trying to be quiet, but your singer’s formant is just too well-trained. We can hear you. Really well. The people in the next library over can also hear you. You are not whispering. You are stage whispering. Everything you say is shaking the building. Your shushing has overtones. Maybe try switching from a library to a hockey rink. They are very similar, except one is a lot colder and you can be loud there.


Yeah, remember when I said before that you were really loud? Well it’s still true. You have not gotten any quieter. I know. I have a trained opera voice myself, and people cannot take me anywhere! You know what we opera singers are especially bad at? Sneaking around and being silent. If a former opera singer decided to become a spy, it would be very short lived. Their cover would be blown thanks to all the lip trills they were doing outside the secret headquarters, thinking that they were in fact being quiet, and then they would spend the next ten years in some gulag somewhere while someone less dramatic negotiated their release. And that is the best case scenario!

Soufflé Chef

Do you know what happens to a soufflé when there are loud noises around it?


This is a tough one for you to hear, opera singers, and I know you don’t want to believe it, but you should not become therapists. Yes, the profession is attractive to you because you looooooooove drama, but that is the problem. Once you are actually listening to people’s problems, you will want to create more drama! “Oh, you are worried that your boyfriend is in jail? Why don’t you stab the police and throw yourself off of a tower?!” “You are stressed out due to money problems? I know, just die of tuberculosis! That will fix everything!” “You say that you are trapped in a forest with a dead dragon and a weird bird dude? Just learn to play the flute and jump in some fire! Problem solved!” I think you get my point. As much as you want to do it, do not become a therapist.


This one is probably the most counter-intuitive, and thus the most important one for you to pay attention to. Once you retire from opera singing, you cannot be a singer. I know you think you can just go on Broadway, or put out a jazz album, or start a rock band with a bunch of your friends, but you cannot. It is too late. Your voice is ruined for other things. Remember when Michael Bolton put out that album of opera arias and you laughed at him for being ridiculous? Well that is exactly what Michael Bolton is doing when your pop album comes on. You are going to need to limit your singing to recitals, come-back performances, and karaoke bars.

While there are many other careers that I’m sure opera singers would be terrible at, I just don’t have the time or inclination to list them all here today. And if you are looking for things you would be good at, well don’t ask me. Everyone has different gifts and talents. Look within yourself if you truly seek your path. Just don’t take the soufflé path. That one’s out.

Posted in Job, Music, Opera, Singing, Tenor Tuesday.

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