Tuning In

Konstanz on a good day. It lies right at the border to Switzerland and the Alps. © Katie Rochow

30th April 2020 - Konstanz
Catch-up with Katie

It is April 2020 - almost two years after I wrote the last blog post for Tuning In. In this very moment, I am sitting on the balcony of my flat in Konstanz, a small, picturesque city in the south of Germany. How did I get here? Well, that is kind of a long story.

Imogen Thirlwall © Imogen Thirlwall

30th April 2020 - Meiningen
Catch-up with Imogen

Tuning In traced an eight month journey: from my relocation to Berlin to chase the dream of being a working opera singer to winning full-time work at a theatre in Thüringen, Germany. Two years on, I am delighted to write again from Meiningen where I have been based since May 2018.

Lyall Bay on a sunny day © Katie Rochow

5th June 2018 - Wellington
Places of Inspiration

“Nothing can beat Wellington on a sunny day” is a popular, if somewhat facile saying which one frequently comes across when living in Wellington. Despite its rather vague meaning, once you’ve lived in Wellington for a little while, it becomes pretty clear what the proverb is all about.

Photo 1 © Imogen Thirlwall

5th June 2018 - Berlin
Places of Inspiration

If you'd told me several weeks ago that I'd sing at Wartburg Castle where Wagner set the opera “Tannhäuser”, I would have laughed politely in disbelief. Yeah nah, or some kiwi-ism. As it turns out, a lot can change with one phone call...

Home Economics Poster © Katie Rochow

26th April 2018 - Wellington
Behind the Scenes

Even though Wellington claims to have more cafés, bars and restaurants per capita than New York City, a good deal of its thriving (nightlife) culture takes place “behind the scenes”

Meininger Staatstheater © Imogen Thirlwall

26th April 2018 - Berlin
Behind the Scenes

Over the past six months, I’ve had the pleasure of auditioning in Germany and Austria for agents, project work, an opera studio, and several full-time roles with opera houses. From singing in a tiny carpeted room to the mainstage of an opera house, auditions come in all shapes and sizes

Poster of the secret location gig © Katie Rochow

9th March 2018 - Wellington
In the audience

One of the best things about doing research on music-making in Wellington is that I “have to” go to numerous gigs, shows and musical festivities throughout the year. There is definitely no shortage of live music events

After the show: Großer Saal Musiktheater in Linz, Österreich © Imogen Thirlwall

9th March 2018 - Berlin
In the audience

Berlin offers an incredible volume of diverse live musical experiences. Proximity to other European countries opens even more opportunity. In my first visit to Austria, I attended a production of “La Damnation de Faust” in Linz

An example of phrases to use before your audition from “What The Fach?!” by Philip Shepard © Imogen Thirlwall

25th February 2018 - Berlin
Conversations/ Connections

Learning German while living in Germany has its challenges. At the core of immersion is making conversation, from everyday pleasantries to sharing ideas and hopes

The Moorings stage set up for a nautical theme party © Katie Rochow

25th February 2018 - Wellington
Conversations/ Connections

Moving to a new city means creating new social networks. When Katie arrived in Wellington to start her doctoral studies, she knew only a handful of people. A few years later, she was playing her own gig for her wider “musical family”

Oriental Parade Beach © Katie Rochow

19th January 2018 - Wellington
Festive times, festive places

Picnics with glow-worms, containers for live art, and a street party: Christmas is only the start of the festivities… 

December in Berlin © Imogen Thirlwall

16th December 2017 - Berlin
Learning curve

A first experience of collective music making in a foreign language

Books © Katie Rochow

16th December 2017 - Wellington
Learning curve

Learning how to teach – and teaching how to learn

Urban Exploration Photo 2 © Imogen Thirlwall

16th November 2017 - Berlin
Urban Exploration

Going off rail: exploring sites of German history 

Cuba Street © Katie Rochow

16th November 2017 - Wellington
Urban Exploration

Birdsong to buckets on Wellington’s streets...

The record player: at the heart of a home © Imogen Thirlwall

17th October 2017 - Berlin
Winds of change

Kiwi singer Imogen embraces the freedom of uncertainty...

“Solace of the Wind”, Wellington waterfront © Katie Rochow

17th October 2017 - Wellington
Winds of change

Katie looks for the sources of Wellington's creativity...

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Katie Rochow

Katie Rochow © Katie Rochow Originally from the South of Germany, Katie moved to Wellington in 2013 to do her PhD in Media Studies at Victoria University. Her dissertation “Sensing the City – Mapping the Beat” explores the socio-musical and spatial dynamics of music-making in Wellington and Copenhagen. At the moment, Katie works as a Teaching Assistant in the College of Creative Arts and in the School of English and Media Studies at Massey University in Wellington. Besides teaching, she loves to read, think, write, listen and play music from all over the world. During her travels she picked up some Swedish, Danish, French and Spanish but she mainly speaks and writes in English and German.


Imogen Thirlwall

Imogen Thirlwall © Imogen Thirlwall As one of New Zealand's most versatile young sopranos, Imogen is known for her adventurous approach to modern repertoire and naughty maid character roles. She is a Freemasons New Zealand Opera Artist & Master of Music graduate from Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music. Driven to chase the dream of being a working singer, she recently relocated from Wellington to Berlin. After dabbling in foreign languages through vocal repertoire, Imogen is now learning German through immersion and study with the Goethe-Institut.