Sent: Wednesday, September 27, 2000
Subject: after thoughts [note: the original email contained a few things too personal for public consumption, and has been edited]
Have you mailed the box yet, or not? If so...how long did they say it would take? It's starting to get cold here and I have one jacket and one sweatshirt, so I may need to buy some stuff. Is there money in the account? Because there isn't any in my pocket.
[For the record, I was paid 1200 Swiss Franks per month during my time with the Zurich Opera, which worked out to about $700. Upon arrival in Zurich I had to pay CHF435 in rent; CHF150 for the resident rail discount; CHF20 to apply for the residence permit/work visa; CHF92 once the permit was approved; CHF70 for the monthly transit pass; and CHF500 to turn on the telephone. Already that's CHF1267, and I hadn't even eaten anything yet or purchased anything to cook with, etc. So it was off to a rough start. Thereafter, rent plus transit pass plus phone bill came to CHF600 monthly, half my measly salary. If you divide 600 by 30 (days per month), you get 20. So I had 20 Franks per day that I could spend to eat 3 times a day and buy anything else I might need or want. 20 Swiss Franks was about $13. I lived like that for a whole year, yes I did.]
This is hardly going to be a profitable year, and I'm a little angry. Now that we have four baritones in the program, I can't imagine I'll have many roles in the house because there can't really be that many to begin with and I would think they have to hand them out as evenly as possible.
Seriously, if I came here for a year to do free concerts and one comprimario role, I will be upset.
Did I tell you the director of the program got mad at me yesterday? They scheduled me to have a voice lesson with some guy (that I didn't know anything about, never heard of him, don't really want a lesson, don't feel I need one) at the same time that I had a rehearsal for Salome. I figured they would catch the error themselves; hell, it was THEIR mistake. Obviously I had to go to Salome. But the director seemed very irritated with me; he thinks I should have called them (though I don't have a phone yet) and he said instead the professor sat around waiting for me for 20 minutes because they didn't know I wasn't coming. Maybe I'm stupid, but I really don't see how that is my fault. And Mr. P____ was not nice about it, it was as if I had embarrassed him with this teacher. So I've been in a knot about that. This nice guy who lives next door to me (from Luxembourg, he's studying water ecology here somewhere) said everybody last year complained about Mr. P____ all the time, he made this one girl cry a lot, etc. He said I should just ignore him, but I don't see how I can, really.
Oh, so the best part of it is that they rescheduled the lesson today for 3:00, which is exactly at the time that my German class starts. Now, to me, my German lessons are more important than a stupid voice lesson right now that really could be tomorrow sometime. So I asked them about it first thing this morning; they're switching my lesson time, but I still will have to leave German 1/2 hour early, which I know will not please the teacher and doesn't please me.
I asked someone who was in the program last year about this teacher, since I've never heard of him. They said he doesn't speak any English and that he's not a very good teacher, so I should just go sing for him and then ignore what he tells me. I guess that will be easy if I can't understand him.
How did I get into this?
At least the phone is being hooked up, and that battle should be over (although Swisscom is supposed to be very expensive, and I'm curious to see what the charge will be for the 1/2 hour I was online this morning and how big a hassle it might be to change to something else). But I'm really getting frustrated because I can see all these things that could continue to drive me nuts for an entire year.
If just ONE thing were really great about being here, I would be so much happier, but for the most part, every aspect is such a disappointment that basically I feel nothing but overwhelming despair.