Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The first part..

What to sing...... Over the years, (and I say this from my own experience as a singer as well) I have found that many singers try to figure out what the particular entity (manager, general director, conductor, young artist program, etc.) who they are singing for, might want to hear. I feel ( and I have found that many of my colleagues feel the same) that what you should always sing is what you feel best singing at the particular time you are auditioning. The obvious exception to this is when the auditioner asks for a particular excerpt. Otherwise, your best chance to make the impression you want to make is singing the aria that you can sing in the middle of the night if you have to. Most of the people you will sing for can make the leap from what you are singing to what their casting needs are. I will say more about this another time, but there is way too much "defensive" auditioning that happens. If you start out with the knowledge that cold auditions have steep odds, it should free you up to go ahead and really "perform" in the audition, instead of "auditioning" in the audition.


  1. It's interesting that many singers don't pick the best piece to start with, even if they are singing something from their "best" list. The judges/panel choice for the second aria can frequently show a singer off better. May be an interesting topic on its own -- what aria shows you off best.

    So the corollary to the "Sing what you sing best" theorum is to work with your trusted ears (teacher, coach, etc) to develop your best audition arias, then work with them to choose the piece that shows you off the best.

  2. I am so tired of singers micro-managing what they think you might want to hear instead of just SINGING WHAT THEY CAN SING! Thanks Maestro!

  3. "Defensive" auditioning--I like that term and I do agree that it happens all too often with singers who have not yet established, or otherwise don't believe that their "best" is 'good enough' for a cold audition. A while back a wrote a post trying to break down the auditions process--it's a bit far-fetched and farcical--but feel free to peruse under "My favorite posts": foolPROOF- The Audition Odds Post

  4. This is an interesting thought and one to which I generally ascribe...about 75% of the time. I believe that for a truly general audition, you should always "sing what you sing best." And I enjoy GDs and ADs who can listen to an aria and make conclusions about other repertoire.

    However, there are times in which an AD has flat out told me that "It irritates me when a singer has been proposed for a certain role and doesn't just come in and start with an aria from that role." I have, of course, offered all sorts of reasons as to why this can happen (and in some instances, should). I guess it's the whole different strokes phenomenon.

    If someone does have a specific audition and chooses to start with their usual starter (that might not be from a role for which he/she has been suggested), I DO think that it will almost always help to include an aria from the role on his/her list for a possible second aria.

    I also know some singers that have basically come into an audition and said "I normally start with X, but if you'd prefer, I am also happy to start with Y (with Y = aria from role)."