Last Spring, -ARAD student Natalie Burrows (ARAD ’21) completed an internship with the Metropolitan Opera in the Artistic Department. Specifically, she worked with the National Council Auditions, one of the world’s foremost opera competitions designed to discover and develop promising young opera singers on the precipice of their careers. We spoke with Natalie about her experience and the transition from in-person to virtual work.
Picture above: Natalie standing in front of the Met Opera iconic exterior
What is the internship program at the Met Opera like? What kinds of projects did you work on?
I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Met Opera’s National Council Auditions. Because this department works independently within the broader framework of the Metropolitan Opera as a whole, I was able to work on a variety of tasks in fundraising, marketing, and education. I also feel fortunate to have learned from, grown with, and contributed to an incredibly giving, talented, and collaborative team who have continued to show interest in aiding in my development as an arts administrator beyond the confines of this internship experience.
Was there anything that surprised you?
I was surprised by the people with whom I worked, who were socially-minded and forward-thinking. Enshrined Eurocentric high-arts spaces, like opera, are inaccessible to people due to a variety of differing intersectional minoritizing factors. But, the experience I had with these people gave me hope that I can contribute to the decolonization of opera and the arts, more broadly.
You were in the middle of your internship at the MetOpera when Peter Gelb, the Met’s General Manager, announced the cancellation of the entire 2020–21 season. How did your internship transition from in-person to virtual? Did any of the goals change? How did working together change?
As my internship went from in-person to online, many of my duties remained the same. My wonderful bosses were committed to my ability to continue to have a fruitful internship experience, so I was immediately included in Zoom department meetings, set up with computer access to necessary databases, and tasked with social media responsibilities such that I could complete my work from home. I feel fortunate that because of the rapport this small department and I had established in person, the transition to virtual internship was easy. And as I look to enter the professional world upon graduation, I feel fortunate to have these mentors.
How did your internship help advance your career goals?
I was able to gain confidence in my contribution to an arts organization. With experience in a variety of departments like development, artistic, education, marketing, and more, I feel more excited than ever to make an impact in the arts sector!
About Natalie Burrows: Natalie graduated from Nazareth College of Rochester in 2017 where she studied Music, German, and Music History. After graduating, she served as an English Teaching Assistant in Braunschweig, Germany through the Fulbright Program. Since then, Natalie has been working as the Company Manager for Finger Lakes Opera. She ultimately hopes to promote equality and equity via cultural education and dialogue through the arts.
Natalie with her boss, Brady Walsh, and the 2020 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Finalists