Thursday, June 30, 2011

Resume info

When I see resumes at auditions, there tends to be a wide range of information provided. I will say up front that what I might like to see (or not see) on a resume, may vary from what my colleagues like, so please take that into account.....

Some random things I prefer.

1. Most recent events first
2. Please list where and when you performed the role.
3. Make sure that your listed covers, were official covers with the company, not personal study covers (I've seen this on numerous occasions).
4. Be reasonable about how far back you go. The more you've done, the less far back you will go, unless it's a very important gig that you want your auditioners to see.
5. List teachers, coaches, and institutions where you have studied.
6. List important concert work and competition wins or places.
7. Height and hair color are fine
8. A recent photo that is reasonably close to what I see when I hear you.

Some random things I don't:

1. Listing roles "in preparation".
2. Listing college roles, unless you are at the Young Artist stage in your career (or, if that's all you've done).
3. Listing semi-finalist finishes. Really, I think you should only list placing, but certainly nothing less impressive than finalist.
4. Photos that look nothing like you do now.
5. Listing chorus work (unless you're auditioning for a chorus).
6. Listing your age and weight - if you look 30 why tell me you're 50, when that may affect how I think about you? Also, if you carry weight really well, there is no sense in letting me know that you're 40 punds heavier than that - when I go back and look at your resume, that will affect how I remember you.
In today's world, the ease of word processing, etc. should make it easy for you to customize resumes for concert work, chorus work, academic positions, etc.

My list above really refers to auditioning as a solo opera singer.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Make sure you pack the right things for the trip......

I often think back to when I was doing auditions, and try to recall what I was thinking about during those auditions. And in a related way, what should I have been thinking about?
When I really break it down, and if I'm honest with myself, my brain was crowded with a bunch of not particularly helpful stuff, which didn't leave much room for what I should have been thinking about!
So, here's a partial list of what I remember thinking about (in no particular order):

1. Am I going to hit the high notes in this piece?
2. Am I going to hit the low notes in this piece?
3. Am I going to forget the words?
4. Are they going to criticize my pronunciation of foreign languages?
5. Will they ask for a second piece?
6. Are my clothes alright?
7. Am I going to feel lousy after this audition?
8. Are there singers outside the room criticizing my singing?

As you can see, there is not a worthwhile thought to be had above.

Now, what should I have been thinking about?
1. I am this character.
2. I am living these words.
3. I am filled with joy and confidence at being able to express myself like this
4. I am focused on communicating with my audience (after all, auditioners are just another type of audience).
5. I am feeling the connection of my breath to my body.

I only occasionally lived in the second list (mostly in performances, not auditions or competitions). I wish I had spent more time that way, because it obviously creates a better chance for success. If you've truly prepared, there is no reason to waste brain cells on things that are either irrelevant or out of your control. The other thing you will note (and this is very important), the first list is all questions, the second list is all statements.

So, what's in your brain during an audition? I'd love to hear.......

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Returning to a topic I've long harped on......Individuality

As this is summer, you may be sifting through your audition "stuff", deciding what needs to stay (repertoire, a great outfit, your confidence, your network), and what needs to go (jaw tension, whining, an aria that just doesn't work). Please, please, please make sure you keep the following - the unique you - no matter how much technique you gain, how much confidence, how many connections, etc, etc..... the one thing you should keep is the thing that got you into this - who you are and what you have to say. Take a moment and think of the great opera singers, past and present; then think about what they have in common - great talent and that certain something that immediately identifies them. It doesn't matter if you're talking about Pavarotti, Hunt Lieberson, Bartoli, Callas, Christoff, Bjoerling, or Warren - all of these people were immensely talented, and also immediately recognizable. Of course, all of them will also usually start a heated discussion between advocates and detractors, and that's ok, and as it should be.
At the end of the day, if you practice and technique your way out of losing your original "voice" (in every sense of the term), you will have won the battle, but lost the war.

Monday, June 6, 2011

I'm back!!

Sorry I have been away for a while - we recently closed a double bill of Blow's Venus & Adonis and Purcell's Dido & Aeneas, that I directed, so I'm afraid I was a bit distracted!
However, I am back, and will be adding some posts in short order!