Tuesday, August 4, 2009

How obscure can I get with audition rep?

This is a fascinating question, and one worth discussing. There is no doubt that what is "standard" for auditions has expanded greatly over the last several years. I think there are several reasons for this. All opera companies are doing more adventurous repertoire, the opera anthologies contain a broader spectrum of arias, and new work is quickly available (We just completed our local/chorus auditions, and one of our singers came in and did a very credible job on an excerpt from Elmer Gantry, a new opera we are doing next season). I think, and I would love to hear my colleagues weigh in on this. that it is almost always a good idea to have some well known standard rep from your fach, or voice category, to show how you handle that. There can sometimes be the sneaking suspicion that out of the way rep is an artful way to cover up some vocal or musical deficiency. While I don't necessarily think this is always the case, I think it's safe to cover all of your bases. There will of course be exceptions - if you are being asked for something specific, or if you are singing for a company or festival that specializes in non-traditional or new repertoire. Perhaps the most germane question of all is: What constitutes standard rep today, and there is no doubt that this is an ever broadening category. I will weigh in with some specific ideas on this in another post, but in the meantime, please feel free to share your thoughts on this.

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