But then what if you are not? Almost 20 years ago, Igor N. (texting in the photograph), now 42, left his native town an hour’s train ride from Moscow, because he thought he could be the one who would make it. After generations of failed artists of various arts in the family, it looked like he had a chance of becoming a professional singer, a Baroque soloist to be precise. After his studies at the Saratov Conservatoire, many years of choir singing and a few awards at national singing contests, Igor decided he wanted a career in the western part of Europe. He was fascinated with Paris but had a distant relative in Brussels, so he settled for the latter, convinced he would complete the last leg of his trip in a year or two. He did not. He spent all his family’s savings on singing classes and private tutoring and finally had not much to show for his efforts. He received encouragement from his teachers and was welcomed to choirs in Brussels and in Antwerp. But then that was it. No awards, no recordings, no success. Igor now works for the Russian cultural centre in Brussels, he organises visits of Russian theatre and music companies to the Benelux countries. When he meets singers, he makes sure his earlier ambition remains a secret.
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