Ever since my partner and I ventured off to conquer Asia (and the world), the thought of working location independent never left me.

Being able to work from anywhere in the world on my own terms, yet follow my passion of singing opera seemed elusive and completely irrelevant regardless of my career choice.

"Live performance was and always will be an inevitable part of opera– is there any point even thinking of any further digital development?", I asked myself.

Shortly after, my mind got blown in the beautiful city of Chiang Mai, Thailand.

After touching down into the bustling mountain town from the sunny island of Phuket, we were astounded by the multitude of beautiful temples, hipster coffee shops and tasty street markets. Our plan was to have a few days to experience the city before the #NomadSummit (a conference for working expats and travelers, of which I had no idea of what to expect).

So with an open mind, we were exploring the city, visiting temples, and hunting down best places for local cuisine.

In our explorations we came across a co-working space called In the City. An exceptional place to work, make friends, create connections, enjoy high speed internet, and drink bottomless coffee; essential for those working into the early hours at this 24/7 establishment.

After some time, we met so many like-minded and driven people who found themselves also working in the beautiful city of Chiang Mai.

I couldn’t believe they were all traveling and working remotely, fulfilling their passion from anywhere in the world. They were digital nomads.

After talking with them and asking many questions about their lifestyle, I had the thought, “Maybe there is a way for me to do work remotely and be a singer”, but I still just wasn’t sure of the right way to execute it.

That week, two major events happened to me that helped me to find the right pathway, realign my mission as an opera singer and realise my creative potential.

Each of the events were very different; while one was spiritual and spontaneous, the other was digital and planned– but they were both social and inspiring.

The first event happened the night before the main conference day of the #NomadSummit. Our new friends from the co-working space invited us to come for the last night of the Woke Folks Festival. The event promised to be exciting: rooftop dancing, open mic, tasty food, lovely people, and quite frankly it was the best option we had for a Friday night out.

We arrived just before the open mic performances were about to start and I was excited to hear talented people from all over the world. As the place got incredibly busy, we met a number of people who all consistently asked “what do you do?”. When answering this question, people were very surprised and excited to hear that I was an opera singer and I received many suggestions that I should put my name forward to perform at the open mic.

Until then, I had never done an open mic performance and the idea of doing so was confusing and felt very ‘unorthodox’ for me, but at the same time thrilling and exciting.

So I decided why not, I’ll just do something short and sweet, how often do people hear opera at an open mic? To my own surprise, I was called on first to the stage.

As I begun to sing Ave Maria by Bach-Gounod, everyone froze in silence–even kids stood still for the first time that evening. The audience of 100+ people listened with incredible attentiveness, some of them became emotional and shed a tear. I couldn't believe it!

The performance finished, and the crowd exploded with applause and cheers.

Afterwards so many people came up to me saying it was the first time they have ever heard opera and it was a life-changing experience for them. I was incredibly grateful for all the positive feedback I received that night, but most of all I was surprised at how people who had never listened to classical music wanted to hear more.

If at least one person that night went home with an idea that opera music is beautiful, that would be the most treasured reward for me as an artist.

This very spontaneous experience was so inspirational and I will never forget it. It helped me reconnect with myself on personal and artistic levels, reminding me that music brings so much happiness and joy.

From now on I will never throw away an opportunity for spontaneous performance, I myself as an advocate of opera see it as another chance to demystify this genre for others and hopefully open up their hearts to it.

In the second part I will talk about the digital event that happened to me, how it changed my world around and shed the light on how to incorporate digital into the life of an opera singer.

I hope you enjoyed this article and stayed tuned for more! Feel free to tell me about your experiences, what inspires you, maybe you’ve had a similar mind blowing event 😉

Anastasia Golovina

Anastasia Golovina

Anastasiia Golovina is a Ukrainian lyric soprano opera singer currently living in Thailand. Her writing focuses on the deep connection between music and travel, along with the exploration of a career as a modern traveling musician. Anastasiia has performed across the UK, Italy, Spain, Ukraine, Russia, Thailand, Singapore and the Netherlands.

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