I am back home, having just directed Pagliacci, and judging the District Met Auditions in Washington, D.C.
Competition Auditions are somewhat a different animal than house auditions or young artist auditions, and while it is inappropriate to comment on specific auditions, I did find talking to the auditionees one on one for both these and the Wisconsin district auditions very interesting. One of the most frequent comment/questions I got had to do with whether or not a singer should do things different presentationally in a competition vs. a company audition. In other words, in a competition, should a singer back off doing too much acting and focus on "the voice". This is an interesting question, and one that may be answered differently, depending on whose answering. Certainly for a competition, you will have a variety of people listening - most recently for me, it was me (a company director and a stage director), a voice teacher and a coach. Obviously, we're all going to have a different take on things. I always want to see a person engaged dramatically (this doesn't mean that a teacher or coach don't by the way). But, in the end, I will return to one of my basic themes: You have the best chance to be successful, no matter what the circumstance, when you do "your performance", and don't worry about getting into the head of the person hearing you.
You will never be able to know what will please who, and if you try to do that, you will probably please no one - including yourself!
On the other hand, if you sing what you sing best, and do it with musical and dramatic intensity you may not get every audition or competition, but ultimately at some point what you do will resonate with a panel or a General Director, because it is authentically who you are.
This of course, doesn't mean, that you shouldn't take advice, and try to improve, but it does mean you should try to chart a steady course that leads consistently on a path that takes you where you want to go. Let me know what you think.
For my next post, I'm going to comment on "blogs" of all types, having just had some interesting experiences related to that.