Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Short List and... Auditioning the Second Time Around

OK, I promised. Here's what's still in play for possible operas at The Barns next summer.

In no particular order.

Alcina
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Die Entführung aus dem Serail
The Rape of Lucretia
L'étoile
Il re pastore
I Capuleti ed i Montecchi
La pietra del paragone
Semele
Linda di Chamounix
Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria
Volpone
Così fan tutte

And, because of the peculiar animal that is the Filene Center, here's the very short list for that venue: Hansel & Gretel... Magic Flute. Our other Filene Center big hitters have been done in recent years: Figaro 2006; Barber 2003; Giovanni 2005.

Random Thoughts from Recent Auditions

Don’t be surprised about the second aria request. It never pays to second-guess. I change my mind many times before your first aria is over. Just never put an aria on the list that you don’t love to sing.

Don’t snap your finges at the pianist to indicate tempo. Aside from being slightly irritating (don't ask me why, it just is... I've been on the receiving end myself), it's rarely functional. I have yet to see a singer indicate a tempo (by clapping, snapping, conducting, etc) that bears a real resemblance to the actual speed of the aria.

Sing your audition arias for a supportive audience who knows nothing about opera. (Friends, family, etc) Tell them a tiny little bit about each character/situation. See if they can discern simply by your expressive gestures (musical and otherwise) which aria is which. I've seen too many auditions lately in which the characters represented by the two arias look and feel virtually identical, even when the situations are dramatically different.

The Second Time Around

A blog contribution from one of our Filene Young Artists from last year:

*sigh* Auditions are hard and a fact of life. Everyone knows that...hard for the singers, hard for the pianists who have to constantly read all sorts of music, from the mundane to the very obscure. Probably hardest for the listeners who, if anything like me, have a hard time doing anything constantly for two hours outside of playing video games.

But, I can only speak from my limited singer's perspective and what I have to say is this, UGH!!! It's so hard singing again for those who you have worked with before!! Why? I DON'T KNOW. I can only akin this experience to either trying to appear to be so together and comfortable doing something akward in front of your mom (i.e. a make-out scene in a performance), or having been in a relationship and begging the person to take you back in the most dignified way you can muster.

I will confess that in my re-audition for Wolf Trap, there was a moment while being expressive (or trying really hard to be), I touched my hand to my chest and in a moment of extreme awareness I took note of my heart rate. Talk about fight or flight.....my body was giving me clear signals to just run! Brain vs. Legs, with legs in a clear lead.

All this irrationality within the first 5 bars of music! An eternity...than means nothing. My saving grace was finally that bar when I actually took a deep breath and remembered that this is fun, this is what I love and these people are really frickin' nice!

The most comforting thing (for me) is knowing that no one is perfect. I am happy to be where I am and I know more who I am. Two years ago, the recovery would've taken at least 12 bars...now that's an eternity! Hooray for progress!

More Cross-Country Travel

Woo-hoo! Can't wait. Checking out tomorrow morning at 4:30am for the 4.5-hour flight to Cincinnati. Hope there's not a large gentleman next to me who falls asleep on my lap again...

2 comments:

Divafal said...

Thank you for the suggestion of "This Journey" from Dead Man Wallking. I am always desperately looking for an alternative to "Must the winter." I love singing it, but I know people are tired of it. Since I always sing the comedic roles in shows, any aria with some dramatic emotions really peaks my interest.

ejh said...

On your short kust, you mention Semele, which I would assume is the Handel oratorio turned opera. If you are heading down that road, may I suggest you looking into the original John Eccles version set to the original Congreve libretto. It's in English and very much in that Early Baroque style, but is charming and lots of fun. It really is a "sung play." I worked on the production of it at FSU under the leadership of Sir Anthony Rooley (Baroque/early music specialist), which recorded a CD that is available. It's great for young singers in an intimate space. Just a thought. . . .