My Night With An Opera Singer
Updated: Jul 13, 2020
In our society and communities a career in the arts is looked upon as one that holds more risks than rewards. Regardless of the financial influx that a thriving arts district brings to its community people still hesitate to follow a path that they feel is uncertain.
Recently, I was lucky enough to spend some time with one artist who didn’t let the fear of failure or some bumps in the road hold her back from the career that she felt in her heart was right for her. We met up on what felt like the coldest night of the year at a warm and lively local spot and had a conversation over drinks.
What better place to sit down and interview a musician than her favorite Brewery on a night that’s offering up some local live music.
As I sat in the “living room” like area of the bar on the nicely worn leather couch next to the fireplace with Juliane Wentzkat Price the evening felt more like catching up with an old friend as opposed to a formal interview.
The first thing I learned about this German native is that much to my surprise, especially considering she chose a brewery as a place to meet up, she prefers wine to beer.
Juliane can best be described as a local celebrity in the small city of Rome, New York. If residents don’t know her personally they know who she is. During my time with her many who entered the establishment gave her a friendly wave and smile and she knew each by name. The majority of residents have had the pleasure of hearing her perform at one venue or another and most can tell you, in addition to her talent, she is as down to earth as they come.
Today, her studio AViVo (Acting, Violin & Voice) takes center stage in the towns art district
and is nestled perfectly above a music store and across the street from a renowned ballet studio. This is where she chooses to share her love of music and the arts with the community now, but her love of the craft started almost as soon as she could carry a tune.
Juliane, who is from Dessau Germany, located in the eastern portion of the country, started playing the piano with her mother who is a music teacher at the age of three. As with many talented musicians there was another instrument calling to her. She had fallen in love with the shape and sound of the violin. After auditioning and being accepted at the Music School Dessau where she received special funding to attend based on her level of ability, she began to follow her dreams of being a violinist at the age of 5.
By the age of 12 Juliane was playing with an orchestra, had mastered “The Four Seasons” by Vivaldi and was playing solo violin. Unfortunately, due to a rigorous practice and performance schedule, she began to develop problems with her wrist which led to surgeries at the age of 12 and 14. It was at this time that she received the sad news from her doctor that his opinion was, a career as a violinist was not in the cards for her.
Rather than give up, her resilience kicked in and she refocused. Knowing that her calling was to be on the stage she knew she had to pick another path to do so. Her first instinct was to act but that idea received a stern “no” from her mother who referred to it as “the starving art.”
Taking the advice of her mother, Juliane began to train vocally and after a year and a half of training, was accepted into 3 separate schools. This was a major accomplishment as most schools had roughly four spots to fill with 700 students longing to fill them, and she had her choice of three of the best. Feeling that this obviously must be her calling she went on to study opera, however, acting remained her true passion.
Throughout college, never being able to turn her back on her love of acting, she studied with a Russian acting coach, did background acting and worked with film sets. It was then that her dream morphed into becoming “the first opera singer that could act.” Her college career culminated with a Masters of Music in Opera from Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen, Germany.
Ms. Price went on to be a second prize winner of a German national voice competition and top prize winner of Berlin’s Lotte Lenya voice competition in 2000. Her professional career began in her home country of Germany where she performed in multiple venues, was a soloist in various musicals as well as an actress at the Theaters Oberhausen, Hannover and Duesseldorf. She performed a plethora of shows as well as Solo Programs while traveling the seas of Europe for four months aboard the Arosa Blu.
Her life and career then brought her to the United States where she lived in Las Vegas for a number of years and was able to indulge in her passion of acting. She has done work for Disney, 20th Century fox, Aurora Films of Albany, NY, a New York City based company, Superfine Films and the ever popular Warner Bros. She has also done voice over work and speaks German, Russian, French and Latin in addition to English.
Today, Juliane makes Rome, New York her permanent home where she lives with her two daughters and enjoys a thriving business. Her studio offers private instruction in Acting, Voice and Violin for reading age children and older. For the younger musician, Clever Canaries Music Together Program which is geared toward toddlers and children up to 6 years of age is available and is now in its tenth successful year.
When she’s not teaching she’s performing. She plays the violin and contributes vocally to her band Avec Sentiments which specializes in French music from the 1940’s. She performs yearly in the Nutcracker Ballet at John Hayes O'neill studio, she was recently a vocal soloist with Hamilton College and Community Masterworks Chorale Symphoria; she graced the stage in the role of Susan B. Anthony with the Society for New Music in Syracuse, NY and has also performed with the Utica Symphony Orchestra. She has worked with the Oneida area Civic Chorale and Danbury Symphony Orchestras as well.
The city of Rome and all of Oneida County has a huge asset in Ms. Price. Not only for her talent and teaching ability but for her leadership skills and role model status. Juliane is the epitome of perseverance and dedication. She not only is well equipped to lead her own children to a life of success but has it in her heart to share that grit and determination with countless other children as well.
A career in the arts in any form is often looked at as unstable but this community is lucky enough to have a member of it’s Art District not only surviving but thriving as well and setting the example that hard work does indeed pay off. She also shows the art lovers and small business owners of Rome that life often throws you a curve-ball but sitting out is never the answer. Hard work and dedication pay off if backed up with passion for your craft and love for your community.