Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mapping it out!

I mentioned in my previous post that no matter where you end up in terms of presenting your audition repertoire, you need to stage it out in preparation for your auditions.
A simple test you can give yourself to prove this: Think about the comfort level you have in presenting arias in audition that come from operas where you have either performed the complete role, or scenes from that opera that contain that aria. I think you will agree that when you sing those arias, you feel more physically connected than you do with arias where you have not done this.
The way to create the same effect for those arias that you have not performed on stage, is to stage them completely, either with a coach/director, or perhaps in a swap with a colleague where you do the same for them. After staging the aria, you will find that you will keep elements of the staging for the "audition version" of it, but perhaps more importantly, you will have locked in mental intent, which will allow your body energy to be connected to your voice.
In addition to allowing you to feel more comfortable in the audition, you will also undoubtedly sing better because of this connection.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What do I do?

Working with our Studio Artists this week has produced some interesting questions around knowing "how much to do" in an audition dramatically.
The question, arises of course, from the notion that some artistic/general directors like a very acted out, active audition, while others prefer a more low key, purely vocally based presentation.
This is a somewhat tough question to answer, but as I've said in a different context, your best chance for being hired lies in you being true to who you are as a performer, as opposed to chasing down what a particular director might like.
Regardless of how much actually histrionics you do in an audition, you must absolutely have the dramatic arc of your aria mapped out, so that there is a dramatic through line that matches the vocal through line.
I believe this begins by doing a full blown staging while preparing the aria for audition.
I will expand on this in my next post.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Erie Mills

Last weekend, we were lucky enough to have Erie Mills, renowned soprano, and now renowned master teacher, with us for a masterclass with our Studio Artists. She had wonderful insights on so many aspects of singing and presentation, and she was able to walk the thin line of focusing on the singers, while also engaging the audience. Her energy, insight, and enthusiasm was infectious. Often in masterclasses, you get either one or the other!
What was really great was to have some high school singers, who are just starting out, there to hear Ms. Mills' insights. Gosh, I wish I had had an opportunity like that when I was starting out!

If you get an opportunity to either work with Erie, or hear one of her masterclasses, do not miss it!