For those of you who do not know what a "fest" contract is, it means you are "fixed" in one ensemble for the duration of a contract, which usually starts at 1-2 years. You are a salaried employee and receive benefits, paid vacation, and in some (rare) cases, small bonuses.
The fest system is an extremely specific kind of artistic training ground that only exists in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, and can be a great resource in building your career if you know how to get the most out of your experience.
Norman and I actually met while we were part of the ensemble in Leipzig, Germany, and we had two very different experiences. They were both extremely positive, but we achieved different results, partly due to our personalities, support systems, and repertoire.
We go into all this and more in the video. Enjoy!