Friday, January 18, 2008

Raw Audition Comments 2008


Not raw in the way you think. Just unedited. Excerpted from the database just the way they were spewed forth during the audition tour. Stream of consciousness and all. The good, the bad, and the ugly, sometimes all within the same aria.

Why do I post these, and why would you read them?

1. To realize that the people at the table aren't writing things that are nearly as vicious as you think they are.

2. To witness the entire range of things that go through our messy crazy minds while we're listening and trying to problem-solve at the same time.

3. To discover some of the recurrent issues that present themselves in the audition room.

4. To get over the fear of these things, move on with your life, and keep singing and improving.

Here goes.


  • raw but impressive; a diamond-in-the-very-rough


  • the recit is too stagnant


  • not exactly a stage animal


  • chewing the Italian in search of humor


  • seems to take a while to get the voice going.


  • an uncomplicated sound


  • the entire impression is of general strength and energy


  • it’s not a luxurious sound, but she manages to be fairly expressive


  • too few options at the top of the voice


  • an overriding brightness to the sound that doesn’t fit this aria.


  • lots of great flexibility with the sound and dynamics.


  • such an interesting color - a complex sound, sometimes too bright


  • an easy production, but yet the legato isn’t quite believable yet


  • unfortunately loves to hold out those final syllables


  • there’s something really exciting about this


  • the more legato the line the more difficult it seems to be


  • it moves, and this is good for her


  • not completely satisfying on a dramatic level, but getting there


  • checking out during the coloratura


  • it’s an undeniably good voice, if not a particularly large one, but the presentation is a little random


  • backing up and grabbing onto the piano much more than he should


  • not a huge variety of dynamic and color


  • lots of unfocused movement - too much


  • needs more Italian work - surprising considering her training


  • a mixed bag of strengths


  • reaching through the neck for the high notes, lots of tension in the body and head


  • weird characterization - the physicality and the voice aren’t really connected


  • how much squillo is there?


  • he’s very convincing at mp, but there just isn’t a huge dynamic range


  • a lot of extraneous sound going on that makes it hard to zero in on the sound/pitch


  • the top is shrill, and the mezzo resonance on the bottom is contrived


  • the personality is warming and opening up


  • aspirate coloratura in the midvoice; much more focused at the top


  • dramatically she knows where the beats are but doesn’t quite know what to do with them


  • vowel modification is funky....


  • sharping a bit; pushing pretty hard


  • still, static presence.


  • not an unpleasant sound, but choral in nature; really not a lot of ping


  • coloratura is indistinct


  • gets props for having a dramatic through line


  • occasionally the actorly choices get a little smarmy, but generally I really appreciate the effort and invention


  • blank and general in the eyes.


  • nice presentatation; energetic, specific


  • very vertical musicality - not all the time, but too often


  • singing this ever so slightly under the pitch… actually, it’s more than slightly


  • duple rhythm is so wrong


  • musicianship is tame, reserved; making pretty sounds, but that’s about it right now


  • I get more energy from her face than from the voice


  • I’m all about the extension, but there are unsatisfying moments in the mid-high range


  • wish she could harness this in a meaningful musical and dramatic way


  • the torso and arms lock down during coloratura


  • this is a truly big house voice


  • it’s not all glued together, but there are some really lovely moments.


  • everything is too tightly choreographed - the physicality isn’t organic


  • a slight miscalculation near the end; wouldn’t have advised it


  • I wish for more variety; it’s as if she intends it but the execution isn’t there


  • very occasionally she starts to float or shape, but it’s always a half-finished gesture


  • the stage business is very distracting, and seems very contrived


  • she’s confident, and knows the scene well; won’t quibble with the choices she’s making


  • good core to the sound. Even throughout.
    Not a particularly big instrument, but clean


  • tending to bark all the way through this


  • the voice isn’t big enough for this rep - wrong color


  • a very careful reading; not even milking the inherent humor in the piece


  • baritone claw


  • good coloratura. healthy sound. lots to like here


  • better supported when he moves his voice


  • vibrat is wides and completely obscures the center of the pitch


  • French is lazy on the dipthongs and vowels in general


  • should never sing this; exposes all of the liabilities


  • a lifting off the sound that produces a croon; not often, but occasionally


  • the talent is undeniable, but the current picture isn’t yet in focus


  • oh, please, get the whole way up to the center of the pitch. please


  • seems very very nervous


  • body language all over the place, and focus is splintered and anxious


  • has memorized some gestures, but she is kind of a theatrical mess


  • limited dynamic range - she sings soft, but at a sacrifice to intonation and basic core


  • hanging flat @ ends of phrases.


  • wants to rush or take this incredibly fast


  • either rushes or truly wants to sing this incredibly fast


  • unspeakably nervous


  • always parallel gestures with his hands


  • I get the sense that this is someone who performs significant differently that she auditions


  • Italian has American L’s, a few other oddities


  • seems innately musical; sounds healthy


  • there’s nothing in the rep list that shows whether the voice moves


  • the midvoice has an interesting combo of steel and roundness


  • sings English very well, connected to the text


  • shows great poise, even in this setting


  • very vertical - I feel every eighth note go by


  • convincing actress - mature musician


  • oozes sensuality; makes this sound easy


  • develop more nuance... visit the land of pianissimos more often and with more finesse


  • brings this off largely on linguistic and stylistic strengths


  • the cadenza a particular miscalculation


  • Mozart recit completely convincing


  • this kind of voice has to have a stellar top...


  • over-indulgent reading - no life, sense of subtext


  • needs to take a more full-blooded approach to this


  • nailed the top, but it was scary


  • it’s amazing how much more relaxed folks are in callbacks


  • it’s as if the voice doesn’t find its center until it sustains a second or so


  • this is an incomplete picture, if a pleasant one


  • sweet sound, but she sabotages herself on those initial notes...she doesn’t prep them, and then struggles through the remainder of the phrase


  • knows what she wants to do with this, but the basic technique isn’t quite there to really let her


  • a good musician making the voice conform to her ideas instead of finding the technique to support it


  • not afraid to shape the phrases and use the entire dynamic range


  • impressed with the agility of this size of instrument


  • the entire focus is on the floor between us and him


  • there’s no separation between her and her singing; this is exciting and scary at the same timeperformances have the lid on


  • a committed actress, and does a good job of conveying this character without it feeling frenzied


  • handles some of the coloratura well - and is actually the best and most in-tune singing he does.


  • very little connection to the text


  • underenergized and miniaturized in its impact


  • good musician. good evil laugh. :)


  • only sings long phrases when it’s florid - tends to chop up the rest.


  • singing this whole thing with eyes closed or almost-closed


  • I love the sound, but it’s a soprano voice with a mezzo technique


  • looked up for the interlude, then back down; when she does look up, she closes her eyes


  • it’s official, I have baritone fatigue


  • recit. is Wonder Bread


  • cycles through the same arbitrary physical gestures


  • it’s a biggish instrument inside a person that feels almost apologetic


  • terribly terribly nervous


  • really gets the style; nice starter for him, for it showcases the assets


  • the top isn’t ugly or disappointing, just not relevatory


  • lots of straight tone, scoopy, coming off the voice at the ends of phrases.
    Started the aria super fast, and is now struggling to maintain the tempo she set


  • absolutely nothing wrong with the basic footprint, but he simply has to sing in tune


  • moments of hope surrounded by acres of bad decisions


  • seems very disconnected from what’s going on with him or in the room.


  • nice character, multifaceted, interesting


  • worth following, but at this point just a strong academic product


  • Deh vieni - begins the characterization at the top of the intro - nice..


  • the pitch is really a problem; a shame b/c she has a compelling stage presence.


  • coloratura is clean but joyless


  • the voice just isn’t gathering itself in a way that allows her to make any significant choices; having to default to a singular mezzo-forte straight-ahead approach


  • sings everything very very fast; has facility to burn, but I’m missing any elegance or charm


  • on the verge of worrying about whether or not he’ll make it through the next phrase, but he just keeps a comin’...


  • monochromatic, blunt and anonymous; too bad, for handled in a different way, this voice would have potential


  • finessing her strengths and weaknesses very very well


  • being encouraged to emote in large strokes; the overall picture is a bit of a caricature


  • good energy, and there is good raw material, but she’s too fearless for her chops


  • needs to find her calling card; this extreme tessitura isn’t it, and I’m not sure luxury of timbre is either


  • often sacrifices the large gesture for a small one


  • not an insignificant talent, but simply not ready to be trusted just yet


  • just generically angry


  • diction is academic - hasn’t figured out how to make the text work for him.


  • there’s tremendous potential here, but he’s not getting the training he needs to capitalize on it


  • coloratura is executed without finesse, as if she’s just learned it


  • still a little too precious for me, but then again I complain about the folks who just yell...


  • a natural legato and expressiveness in his voice which is very engaging/interesting


  • wandering all around the middle of the room


  • the approach is anguished but nonspecific


  • pitch placement cavalier; she can center on a note, but it takes a while and it doesn’t help her in coloratura


  • doesn’t have anything below a mezzo-forte


  • recit is artistically very strong and specific; in the audition context feels overdone and histronic, but would be what’s required for a large house


  • if I’m going to complain about singers just phonating through this, I shouldn't complain about the diva approach


  • open your eyes!!


  • it’s an American opera, for he has his hands in his pockets


  • it’s so nice to hear a full voice that moves!


  • went through 4 obvious vowels on the ascending run, and it’s not even the high one... I’m ok with vowel modification, but I don’t want to hear it that clearly


  • hasn’t finished making technical choices about the midvoice


  • jury’s out on where this voice will go; it’s not behaving like a mezzo in spite of its relative size


  • so hard to lock your body in this doll position and and still support; and it’s tough to start with this because it gives us so little information about the singer as an actress


  • conducts his singing with the right hand


  • very healthy singing, but not the biggest personality in the world


  • if you’re going to bring your own pianist, be sure s/he can play your aria :(



OK. Now step away from the computer and go sing some more.




And please don't spend any of your precious time trying to guess if any of these comments pertain to you. If you want to know what we said (and mind you, I'm not encouraging you, just providing information), write us and ask.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's fascinating -- thanks! Back to the studio I go...

Anonymous said...

This was somewhat informative...moreso entertaining. Thanks for the Saturday morning giggles. =)

Janet said...

I'm intrigued by the comment "there’s tremendous potential here, but he’s not getting the training he needs to capitalize on it." It must be so frustrating to see someone going to waste. Do you do something in a case like that--take the person aside and say, You really need a new teacher? What do you tell him if he asks for feedback?

Kim said...

I would never presume we had enough information (on the basis of a single audition) to know that a singer/teacher fit was wrong, and I would never take someone aside and give advice on a voice teacher. If asked for feedback, I'd simply note that we see far more potential than is currently being realized. It may not be that the teacher is a bad fit at all, but that the singer is going through a transition that doesn't allow him/her to perform up to potential.

Very often, (and in this particular case) it was a far simpler scenario that had nothing to do with a particular teacher. This singer was not currently in an environment where s/he had access to serious training of any kind: operating pretty much on pure instinct, and doing remarkably well in spite of it. My remark was meant to recognize that the audition was pretty good nevertheless, and I hope that this singer gets into a situation soon that offers the opportunity for solid training.