Should I Shave My Head?

I was not considering the question about whether or not to shave my head until very recently, when the director of the company for which I am currently singing asked me to consider it.  Now, independently, we have each come to the same conclusion, which is that I am not going to do it.  (Sorry folks).  He wants me in a wig, and I want me in my hair, but I would still like to consider the question anyway.

The first thing that I thought of when he brought it up, was “ACK!”  The second thing that went through my mind was, “How far am I willing to go for my art?”  These types of questions are fun to ponder, until you are suddenly faced with the reality of them.  We have all sat around with our opera program buddies and discussed things like whether or not we would ever do on-stage nudity, and other such fun topics, but it is easier to discuss such things in theory than to deal with them in practice.

I decided that I should call my wife, sure that she would say no, and that I would be off the hook for making the decision.  Instead, she said something along the lines of “Wow.  Hmmmm.  That’s a pretty big decision.  What are you going to do?”  This was not the response I was looking for.  I figured the next step would be to call my agent, and then she could forbid it.

Before I had the chance to call her, it occurred to me that perhaps she could negotiate more money for me if I did it.  This brought about the new thought process of “How much money would it take for me to shave my head?”  Would I do it for $100?  $500?  $1000?  Hmmmmm.  Is my artistic integrity for sale?  But it really would cost me something to shave my head.  Audition season starts a few weeks after our show ends, meaning I would have to spend the next month or two of auditions either bald and looking nothing like my head shot, or slightly fuzzy and patchy and looking nothing like my head shot.  Then there is always the concern among those of us with thinner hair than we used to have, that it may not all grow back the way we want it to.  I really might be giving something up to shave my head, so I would not feel too badly saying that I would need more money.

Of course I know the company is not going to pay me lots more money just to do something they are not sure about anyway (They are in the black for a reason!), so really all of these excuses I was thinking of were really just me trying to get out of doing it, which led me to the conclusion that I really didn’t want to shave my head.  It gets cold in Vermont!  I need my hair!

So, upon much thought and advice seeking, I decided to tell them that I was not going to shave my head, for reasons of looking like my head shot during audition season, and also I just didn’t want to.  As it turns out, they day I was going to bring it up was the day they introduced me to the wig and makeup people, and told them that I needed a wig for the show, so it was a moot point and I didn’t have to mention it after all.  But I still feel, at least partially, that I am just being a chicken, and that I ought to give my all for my art form, no matter what it takes.  What do you think?  Would you have shaved your head?  Would you have thought less of me artistically if I had refused, or more of me if I hadn’t?  This was not covered during my voice lessons.

It’s tough being an opera singer.

Posted in Hair, Opera.

One Comment

  1. Hello! I came across your blog while googling about shaving heads. I’m a 19 year old girl who has wanted to shave my head for a while now but never had the courage to…and get this – I am a cellist! So I’m in a similar situation as you were in…
    My own dad warned me and reminded me that I am a performer now, and that my appearance affects greatly to my art. It’s a big factor I have to consider in order to make this decision wisely.
    But thanks for your blog entry about it! I’m glad I’m not the only one whose artistic career is actually leaving obstacles in front of my own personal will.

    Take care! Hope your auditions went well, and break a leg for future ones!

    Rosy out

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