I received a question on a post from a few days ago, so I will post the question and my response here:
I just found your blog. Are you giving advice on auditions? I am a lyric coloratura (former Queen of the Night (retired)) and am interested in auditioning for an upcoming production of Flute with a major house. I have been out of the loop for a while and performing mostly sacred rep, but there are two small roles available: Papagena and 2nd Lady, and I know this opera inside and out. I'd like to be considered for either. I look like a papagena. Any advice on what I should lead with if I really want a soubrette role?
Generally the 2nd Lady is a lyric mezzo, so given your past rep, Papagena might be a better choice. Given what they are casting, and what would work for you, I would suggest either the Despina or Zerlina arias, along with whatever rep you currently have. Keep in mind, that if for some reason you are offered the 2nd Lady, you will have to balance a good size lyric soprano above you, and a deep mezzo or perhaps even contralto below you. One other point - (or rather two) - 2nd Lady is by no means considered a small role, and even Papagena is an important comprimario role.
Hope this helps!