Friday, August 7, 2009

Men vs. Women in "age" parts

This may not seem like an audition topic on the face of it (sorry, couldn't resist a small pun), but in fact, it is. This is from the first bullet point I mentioned yesterday. If you are a young singer, will you be considered for Quickly, Berta, Marcellina? Conversely, if you are more mature, will you still be considered for Susanna, Norina, Pamina, etc. I think this is a fair question, particularly in light of the fact that we regularly see male singers in their 30s and early 40s cast as Bartolo, Falstaff, the Sacristan, etc, and also see male singers in their 50s and 60s even, singing Rodolfo, Nemorino, etc.
One could argue this problem exists in the world of film as well - Jack Nicholson, Harrison Ford and others are often still cast as leading men with actresses in their 20s and 30s, whereas an older woman with a younger man is usually seen as "quirky". I think there is some bias in this regard, but like anything else, try to get good advice from people who know, before "putting it out there". In theory, there is no reason, a young singer with good acting chops, and the right vocal quality cannot pull off Marcellina or Berta, or Quickly. And if you truly still look and sound the part, why not Susanna?
Of course, another element here is the theatre itself. In this case, I'm not talking acoustics, I'm talking visuals. A 2500 seat house makes make up much more effective at producing the desired effect as opposed to a 350 seat house.. A General or Artistic Director will certainly take this into account when hearing auditions.

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