Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A month of auditions

It has been quite a month.....started with our production of Turandot......after that went to New York for an intense weekend of new opera, plus a few auditions, then followed that with a trip to Detroit for the Met Auditions. Judged with Ben Malensek from the Met - we've done this together several times now, and Patricia Wise - wonderful soprano and voice faculty member at Indiana University - who I had not met before. We all had a grand time together and finished that weekend off with a production of The Marriage of Figaro at Michigan Opera Theatre, where we were graciously hosted by General Director David DiChiera. - No wonder I'm exhausted!!

During this month, I've gotten to hear a wide variety of singers in audition, and it has put me in mind of something that I have said before - You of course have to have the vocal goods, and you have to present professionally - vocally, visually, and dramatically. But, in addition to that, you have to say something with your singing and show us who you are - both who you are in reality, and the character you are portraying. I know that that is a bit of a cypher - how does one concretely do that? The best I can say it in this short post is that I am left with a certain feeling at the end of an audition like that - the feeling that the artist left it all out on the stage. I don't mean that they blew themselves out vocally or that they wildly gesticulated. I mean that the artist auditioning opened up their soul, and gave us a glimpse of the character - made us feel what was happening. It's as though I have experienced an entire opera within the scope of one aria.
Think about the performances that have moved you the most in your life, and I think you will agree that those performances were permeated by that sense of opening up, sharing, and intimacy with the artist.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Auditions everywhere!

Well, it has been a month! Turandot here at the Florentine, and then off to New York for the Opera America New Works Forum (where I heard a lot of interesting new opera), preceded by some auditions. Tomorrow, I fly to Detroit to judge the Met Auditions, preceded tonight by our Studio Artists Scenes Program. When I get back next week, I will synthesize all of this into some thoughts relevant to this blog.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Comment on Earlier Post

I am just getting back here after Turandot wrapping up this past weekend - we had a great capacity run, and it was exhilarating! I have a couple days here, then I am off to Opera America for the New Works Forum in New York.
In the meantime, a question was asked from my earlier post - to expand upon proper attire for auditions, etc....
I won't spend time here on recital attire, which is really a different issue. Instead, I will comment on competition and recital attire.
This is an evolving topic too. When I was auditioning, you rarely saw a male singer not in a coat and tie. Today, I would say that the majority of male auditioners do not wear a tie. Now, this is for general and young artist auditions. At competitions, I still see coat and tie quite a bit. Again, for ladies, things have changed over the years. It seems you used to see a lot of what I would call evening wear for women, which now has become decidedly more eclectic and individual - again, though, competitions, still tend to be a bit more formal.
What I would say as a bottom line statement is this - whatever you wear should fit two criteria:

1. It shows respect for the occasion, the material, the people you are auditioning for, and of course, yourself.

2. Your attire (and this includes hair, eye wear, shoes, as well as clothes) should not distract the auditioner's attention from your audition. We as auditioners, should focus on your vocal, musical, and histrionic skills, and your attire should be a neutral, positive accompaniment to that.