Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Days 12 & 13: The Barns

Nice to be back home, but the tendency to multi-task is disconcerting. On the road it’s easy to pretend that auditioning is the only thing we have to do. Coming back here reminds me that there are so many other things to deal with, and miles to go before we sleep.

Some lovely auditions this week, though, from (including but not limited to!) singers from young artist programs at The Washington National Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Seattle Opera, and from graduate programs at nearby Peabody Conservatory, University of Maryland Opera Studio, and Catholic University.

Since we're crossing the audition finish line today, it's apt that November 21 is "No Music Day." Check it out here. It's not all negative.

As much fun as all of this auditioning has been, it’s only the warm-up act. Now we have to program, cast, and staff three operas and two or three concerts. By next Friday. Just thinking about it strikes fear in my heart.


Back when I posted the master list of arias offered this season, I promised to wrap up with an account of popular opening arias. I crunched this data very quickly this evening, so I'm not promising 100% accuracy. But it's comprehensive enough to indicate trends.


6 times (a big surprise!)
Ach ich liebte

5 times
Je veux vivre
Poison Aria (Juliette)

4 times
Come scoglio
Deh vieni
Du gai soleil
O luce di quest’anima
Porgi amor

3 times
Durch Zärtlichkeit
Je suis encor
Musetta’s Waltz
O quante volte
Pace pace
Tornami a vaggheggiar
Un bel di vedremo
Vissi d’arte

2 times
Ach ich fühl’s (way down from last year)
Ah zittre nicht
Anne Trulove (also less popular than previously)
Caro nome
Chacun le sait
Dearest Mama
Die Hölle Rache
Dis-moi que je suis belle
Donde lieta
Jewel Song
L’altra notte
Non mi dir
Tu che di gel sei cinta
Wo bin ich (Gretel)

Adieu, mon petite table
Ain’t it a Pretty Night
An non credea / Ah non giunge
Be kind and courteous
Bel raggio lusinghier
Bell song
Bubbles, Beautiful Bubbles
Che fiero momento
Come per me sereno
Das war sehr gut
Die Wiener Herrn
E ben altro il mio sogno (Tabarro)
Einsam in trüben Tagen
Fire Aria
Have Peace, Jo
Ich weiss nicht (Arabella excerpt)
Il est doux, il est bon
Io sono l’umile ancella
Je dis que rien
Je suis Titania
Kommt ein schlanker Bursch gegangen
Laurie’s Song
Ma quando tornerai
Marietta’s Lied
Mein Herr Marquis
My heart leaps up
My man’s gone now
Non disperar
Now then, notebook Florence
Qui la voce / Vien diletta
Regnava nel silenzio
Robert, toi que j’aime
Le Rossignol
Sempre libera
Senza mamma
Signore ascolta
Stridonò lassu
Sul fil d’un soffio etesio
Take Me Back
The Trees on the Mountain
Tu che le vanità
Una voce poco fa
Und ob die Wolke


9 times (runaway winner: still the mezzo's favorite warm-up?)
Va, laisse couler mes larmes

6 times
Smanie implacabili

5 times
Wie du warst
Composer’s Aria

4 times
Una voce poco fa
Que fais-tu

3 times
Cruda sorte
Enfin je suis ici
Give him this orchid
Nobles seigneurs

Acerba voluttà
Dopo notte
Faites-lui mes aveux
Il padre adorato
Iris hence away
Mme de la Haltiere’s aria (Cendrillon)
Mon cœur s’ouvre à ta voix
Non più mesta
Non so più cosa son
O mio Fernando
Olga’s Aria
Parto parto
Per questa fiamma
Se Romeo
Sta nell’Ircana
Svegliatevi nel core
Things Change, Jo
Violin aria (Vois sous l’archet)


5 times
Lenski (Kuda) (a surprise)
Una furtiva lagrima

4 times
Questa o quella

3 times
Ich baue ganz (edges out Tamino and Ottavio)

2 times
A te cara
Firenze è un albero
Here I Stand
Ich baue ganz
Si ritrovarla io giuro

A te o cara
Ah leve-toi soleil
Ah mes amis
De’ miei bollenti spiriti
Dalla sua pace
De este apacible rincon de Madrid (Luisa Fernanda)
Dein is mein ganzes Herz
Durch die Wälder
Fuor dal mar
Here I stand
I must with speed amuse her
Il mio tesoro
Jour et nuit
La fleur que tu m’avais jetée
La Rêve
Lonely House
New York Lights
No puede ser
O blonde Ceres
O Colombina
O Dieu (Hoffmann)
O wie ängstlich
Pourquoi me reveiller
Recondita armonia
Salut demeure chaste et pure
Tanzmeister (Ariadne)
Tradito, schernito
Un autre est son epoux (Werther)


7 times
Count’s aria (the hands-down favorite for a long time)

4 times
Bella siccome un angelo
Pierrot’s Tanzlied

2 times
Avant de quitter ces lieux
È sogno
Questo amor
Schaunard’s scene

A woman is a sometimes thing
Ah per sempre
Carlos, ecoute
Come un’ ape
Comme une pale fleur
Cruda funesta smania
Eri tu
I am John Proctor
Kogda (Onegin)
Lieben, Hassen
O vin, dissipe la tristesse
Papageno’s suicide scene
Rivolgete a lui lo sguardo
Si può
Smirnoff’s aria
Vision fugitive


3 times
Vi ravviso

2 times
Aleko’s aria
Arise ye subterranean winds
I’m a Lonely Man
Il lacerato spirito
Se vuol ballare

A un dottore della mia sorte
Alla vita che t’arride
Aprite un po’ quegli occhi
Cara speme
Come dal ciel
Hear Me O Lord
In diesen Heiligen Hallen
Mefistofele’s Serenade
O Isis und Osiris
O ruddier than the cherry
Scintille diamant
Si la rigeur
Sorge infausta
Voli colla sua tromba


As we’ve gone through the audition tour, I’ve been keeping a list of topics I’d like to cover when I have the time. Clearly, these last few weeks haven’t offered a lot of free moments. I’m naïve enough to think that the next few weeks might.

Here’s the list:

  • The Audition Database: 12 years of auditions are now logged in this 16MB data file. Why and how do we use it?
  • Competition Winners: What makes their auditions different?
  • Why out-of-Fach singing doesn’t work
  • The Edirol MP3 recorder: My new best friend
  • Italian diction: Energy in vowels vs. consonants (not revolutionary, I know, but worth spilling some ink on)
  • Consistency vs. espressivity (really, I have little idea of what I meant by this... perhaps it'll come back to me...)

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends. See you next week.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Day 11: Chicago

Greetings from the shore of Lake Michigan.

More Audition Rep Notes

Certain arias that I’ve grown accustomed to hearing frequently in previous years are barely making an appearance this year. Some of them I don’t miss, frankly, at least not in an audition context – among them, The Trees on the Mountain (I still enjoy it, but in small doses), and Madamina (oddly difficult to make a positive impression with this in audition, possibly due to its relative length).

Some I do miss, though. We’ve only heard a single Non più mesta and two Cruda sorte’s (or would that be Crude sorti? :)

Soprano Arias

I happen to like the trend toward including Gretel’s “Wo bin ich” scene. And a new entry in the English aria sweepstakes – “I can hardly stand it when he’s away” (Stella’s aria from Streetcar). Just a little over 2 minutes, lyric.

Don’t Play Everything at Once

Some recent renditions of Una voce poco fa have demonstrated one of the cardinal rules of finding detail, arc, and depth in a scene. The most problematic performances have tried to play all of the contrasting sides of Rosina’s personality at one time, or have ricocheted somewhat arbitrarily between them. The smart performances have made an entertaining, premeditated, crystal-clear journey that illuminates the ways in which she uses her wiles to achieve her end. A good director could describe this far better than I.


In a previous post I said that singers’ printed materials are generally in better shape than they were a number of years ago, thanks to the easy availability of desktop publishing and personal computers. But we had a significant number of error-riddled résumés cross the table today, and I must urge anyone who wishes to be perceived as a professional (in any business) to take enough pride in printed materials to proof them for accuracy.

One résumé today had 11 misspellings. Names of coaches, directors, conductors, institutions, roles, operas. I can be irritatingly anal-retentive about some things, but my insistence on accuracy on this particular point isn’t neurotic. Indeed, if a company hires you to sing, they won’t ask you to edit copy. But laxity in this simple area of your professional life begs the question: How much attention to detail will you be willing and able to lavish on important aspects of your singing – languages, stylistic refinement, rhythmic vitality?

(Now don’t get cranky and start proofreading my blog for mistakes. I’m not beyond reproach, I just want you to be.)

Parody is Good for the Soul

These YouTube clips have been making the rounds this fall. If you haven't seen Dudley Moore's Little Miss Britten and Gangster Joe, you need to take 5 minutes out of your busy life right now and do it.

Day Off Tomorrow

Thomas checks out the escape plans. Small margin of error in the dash to the airport tonight, and a strategy must be made for where best to find a cab!

Posting this during the last break between auditions before leaving town. Tomorrow is the first day without singing or traveling in over two weeks. Please don't be surprised if I don't blog. See you Monday from The Barns at Wolf Trap in beautiful Vienna, Virginia!

Friday, November 17, 2006


All of my travel predictions were blessedly wrong. The 20-minute cab ride to the airport did indeed take an hour and 15 minutes, but the rest of the trip couldn't have been better. Hardly anyone else on the plane, and a 20-minute early arrival at O'Hare. Unheard of.

I'm still pretty tired and stupid*, though, and a post worth reading will have to wait till tomorrow. (*I've learned the German expression for this: "Dumm wie Brot".)

Meanwhile, there are pictures. From top: the black box theatre at CCM (surprisingly true acoustic; ended up being one of our favorite places to hear people), me outside CCM trying to answer email while waiting for the taxi, and a screen shot from the DVD we were reviewing while waiting at O'Hare (anyone want to guess what the opera is?).

Tomorrow: the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. A record 42 singers scheduled. Wish us luck!

Days 9 & 10: Cincinnati

After over a week’s worth of hotels, planes, trains, venues, and assorted electronics operating flawlessly, it’s time for a little chaos theory. The flight from California to Ohio went well, and following it immediately with 4 hours of auditions at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, while not a great idea, actually worked fairly well. But by later in the evening, the cosmos started to right itself.

Whine Whine Whine

First, the mouse and touchpad on my laptop went berserk. Floating around on the screen at will, not responding to me pounding the touchpad, throwing the mouse on the floor, or cursing at it.

Next, I dutifully signed into the united.com website to print our boarding passes for Friday’s flight to Chicago. Blocked from online check-in. Not a good sign. Undoubtedly overbooked. A similar thing happened to us last year on this pre-Thanksgiving weekend. The drive to Chicago is only about 5 hours….

The irritations continued this morning. My travel bottle of hair gel exploded on my head, and I am now wearing a hair helmet. My wallet spilled all of its change on the floor of the CCM Café. We set up all of our equipment in the wrong studio this morning. When we relocated (to the very useful black box theatre), we used the wrong extension cord and managed to throw the light board into totally disarray. 10 minutes of darkness ensued.

But we got back on schedule, I got some paperwork and phone calls taken care of during the lunch break, and there was some lovely singing to cheer me up. (Not to mention Thomas, who, when I get cranky, gets correspondingly perky!)

There are a few blogs that I try to visit whenever I can, and one of them is oboeinsight. This recent post reminded me of all of those nights where my life as a working musician got in the way of my attendance at important events in my kids’ lives. I’m missing my daughter’s concert at UVA this evening. (I'm a college a college a cappella junkie.) And although she’s twenty years old and probably barely notices that I’m not there, I’d so much rather be there than working my way to O’Hare.

Tomorrow’s Another Day

A quick look at blog stats shows a dramatic increase of readership during the audition tour.
If you surfed here today in search of something of substance, I apologize. I’ll do better tomorrow!

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.

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

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Texas to California and.... The Aria Frequency List!

Transition from Houston to San Francisco. (View out the my hotel window at left.) It's a good thing we're not trying to combine travel with auditions today, because I've hit my first wall. An early morning, an uncomfortable flight, and accumulated mental fatigue.

The Short List

Did some work on the plane... Mostly trying to develop the "short list." We started auditions with about 25 operas under consideration, and it's gradually becoming clear which ones are probably not going to be viable for '07. It's time to separate the long list into its 3 components:

1) The Short List (casting is already looking promising)
2) The "A" List (no real strong casting markers yet, but no obvious liabilities)
3) The "B" List (still kicking, but problematic as regards specific voice types, duplication of idiom/style/voice types with something that's already on the Short List).

If your audition has yet to occur, that doesn't mean we've already decided anything. It's a completely fluid process, and one that responds frequently to readjustment. Last year we cast two singers from among the final 10 we heard on the last day (out of 330 total). And one of those casting decisions entirely changed the repertoire we thought we were heading toward.

Anyway, the summer repertoire lists will have to wait a day or two. But in the meanwhile, today's offering... The Aria Frequency List. It reports the number of times any given aria is listed among the 4 arias that singers submitted on their audition repertoire lists. It comprises only the arias submitted with the applications and doesn't take into account changes that are submitted on the day of the audition. If I have any energy left when this is all done, I'll do a similar report on the number of times each aria was offered as a first choice in audition.

Please forgive typos, any inconsistencies. I'm pretty compulsive but also pretty tired :) My intention was to stay on Eastern Standard Time during the whole trip and get to bed by 9pm, but there's a very impassioned, very loud peace protest/rally going on outside my window. Ah, San Francisco.

Homework :(

And finally, a big "shout out" to the grad students at Manhattan School of Music. My friend and colleague Dona tells me that she has made nightly reading of this blog an assignment. I'll try to keep you entertained!


A total of 162 sopranos: 44% of the total audition pool

The Big Winner
Ach ich fühl''s (30 times)

Ach ich liebte
Ain't it a pretty night
Be kind and courteous
Come scoglio
Deh vieni
Durch Zärtlichkeit
Gold is a fine thing (Silver Aria)
Il est doux
Je dis que rien ne m'épouvante
Je veux vivre
No word from Tom / I go to him
Quando m\'en vo
Tornami a vagghegiar

Adieu notre petite table
Ah fors'è lui / Sempre libera
Ah je ris (Jewel Song)
Ah! fuggi il traditor
Ah! non credea / Ah non giunge
Amour ranime mon courage
Batti batti
Bel raggio
Caro nome
Chacun le sait
Chi il bel sogno di Doretta
Comme autrefois
D’Oreste d’Ajace
Da tempeste
Dearest Mama
Depuis le jour
Der Hölle Rache
Dich teure Halle
Dis-moi que je suis belle
Do not utter a word
Donde lieta uscì
Dove sono
Du gai soleil
Embroidery aria
Fire aria
Glitter and be gay
Gluck das mir verbliebt (Marietta's Lied)
Have peace Jo
How beautiful it is
I want magic
Je marche / Obéissons (Gavotte)
Je suis encor
Klänge der Heimat (Czàrdàs)
Kommt ein schlanker Bursch' gegangen
Mein Herr Marquis (Laughing song)
Mi tradì
Mir ist die Ehre (Presentation of the Rose)
Non mi dir
O luce di quest\'anima
O wär' ich schon
O zittre nicht
Ou va la jeune Hindoue? (Bell song)
Porgi amor
Prendi per me
Quel guardo / So anch'io
Qui la voce
Regnava nel silenzio
Ruhe sanft
Sempre libera
Signore ascolta
Song to the Moon (Rusalka)
Steal me
Sul fil d\'un soffio
Trees on the mountain
Una donna a quindici anni
Una voce poco fa (soprano version)
Vissi d’arte
Willow song
Wo bin ich
Zeffiretti lusinghieri

Once or twice
A vos jeux
Addio del passato
Adele's Audition aria
Ah! non m'hanno ingannata (Un giorno di regno)
Al dolce guidami
All that Gold
Always through the changing
Bester Jüngling
Bubbles, Beautiful Bubbles
But you do not know this man
Chanson du Rossignol
Che fiero momento
Chi possessore (Orlando)
Come in quest'ora
Come per me sereno
Couplets des regrets (Orphee aux Enfers)
Deh se piacer
Denaro! Nient'altro che denaro! (La rondine)
Denn wie mann sich bettet, so liegt man - Weill
Der kleine Sandmann bin ich
Di cor mio
Die Wiener Herrn
Du bist der Lenz
Einsam in trüben Tagen
Einst träumte / Trübe Augen
Elle a fui
En proie à la tristesse
Ernani involami
Es gibt ein Reich
Fair Robin
Goodbye World (Our Town)
I am the wife of Mao Tse Tung
I Can Smell the Sea Air
I do not judge you John
I'm full of happiness
In uomini
Injurious Hermia
Io son l'umile ancella
Je suis Titania
Je vais le voir / Il me revient fidele
Kate’s aria (Taming of the Shrew)
L’altra notte
Les oiseaux dans la charmille
Les serments (Hamlet)
lo son l'umile ancella
Love me big
Martern aller Arten
Meine Lippen sie kuessen so heiss
Mercé dilette amiche (Bolero)
Merci jeunes amies
Monica\'s Waltz
Morr ma prima in grazia
My Heart Leaps Up
My Man\'s Gone Now
Myself I shall adore
Neghittosi or voi che fate
No monsieur mon mari
Non disperar
Non più di fiori
Now then, the notebook Florence
O toi, qui prolongeas mes jours (Iphigenie en Tauride)
Oh! quante volte
Oh, ne me quittez pas
Once I thought
Pace, pace mio Dio
Padre germani addio
Par le rang / Salut à la France
Partir, oh ciel desio
Per pietà
Pleurez mes yeux
Ritorna vincitor
Robert toi que j'aime
Rose's Aria (At the Statue of Venus)
Rossignols amoureux
S'altro che lagrime
Saper vorreste
Se il padre perdei
Se pietà
Senza mamma
Sevillana (Don Cesar de Bazan)
Sì mi chiamano Mimì
Soffre il mio cor / Mozart / Mitridate / italian
Sombre forêt
Somehow I never could believe
Son vergin vezzosa
Stella’s aria (A Streetcar Camed Desire)
Stridono lassù
Tacea la notte / Di tale amor
Take me back / Roren (Our Town)
Tatiana’s letter scene
Tiny's Aria
To this we've come
Tu che di gel
Tu che le vanità
Un bel dì vedremo
Und ob die Wolke
Welche Wonne welche Lust
What good would the moon be
What will it be for me
You’ve Never Seen the Winter Here


A total of 64 mezzos: 17% of the total audition pool

3-Way Tie for First Place (19 times each)
Sein wir wieder gut
Smanie implacabili
Va! laisse couler mes larmes

Must the winter come so soon
Parto parto
Que fais-tu
Things change Jo
Voi che sapete

All'afflitto è dolce il pianto
Chacun à son goût (Ich lade gern)
Cruda sorte
È amore un ladroncello
Faites-lui mes aveux
Give him this orchid
Iris hence away
Nobles seigneurs salut
Non piu mesta
Non so più
O mio Fernando
Pres des remparts (Seguidilla)
Svegliatevi nel core
Thy hand Belinda / When I am laid in earth
Una voce poco fa (mezzo)
What a movie
Wie du warst

Once or twice
A quality love (Margaret Garner)
Acerba voluttà
Ah mon courage m'abandonne
Ah quel diner (Tipsy Waltz)
Ah! fuggi il traditor
Ah, Belinda (Dido)
Ah, Michele Don't You Know
Concepcion Aria (L'heure Espagnole)
Connais-tu le pays
Crude furie degl'orridi abissi
Deh per questo istante
Di quel bel che m’innamora
Dopo notte
En vain pour éviter
Enfin je suis ici
I am easily assimilated
I do not judge you John
I was a constant faithful wife
Ich bin Rosine Leckermaul
Il padre adorato
Je vous ecris (Letter scene)
La giustizia
L'amour est un ouiseau rebelle (Habanera)
Madame de la Haltiere’s aria (Cendrillon)
Minsk Woman’s Suitcase Aria (Flight)
Mio bel tesoro
Mon coeur s'ouvre à ta voix
Nina’s aria (Seagull)
O don fatale
O ma lyre immortelle
O numi eterni...Gia superbo del mio affanno
Olga's aria (Ya ne sposobna)
Ombra mai fù
Or la tromba
Pauline's aria (Podrugi milïye)
Per questa fiamma indomita
Perfect as we are
Povero amico
Quand la femme a vingt ans (Don Quichotte)
Re dell’abisso affrettati
Reste au foyer
Se Romeo
Sgombra è la sacra selva / Deh! Proteggimi
Simple Child (Grapes of Wrath)
Sta nell'Ircana
The Fox (Little Prince)
There is a garden
This journey
Tina’s aria (Aspern Papers)
Tomorrow monring (Seagull)
Tu fosti tradito
Une poupée aux yeux d'èmail
Voce di donna
Vois sous l'archet (Violin aria)
Waiting (Great Gatsby)
What would Missus Herring say


A total of 6 countertenors: 2% of the total audition pool

The Winner (5 times)
I know a bank (Oberon)

Once or twice
Al lampo dell'armi
Alto Giove
As I was saying (Baba the Turk)
Cara Speme
Cara sposa
Che farò
Domero la tua fierezza
Dove sei
Già dagli occhi
J'ai perdu mon Euridice
Ombra mai fù
Quella che tutta fe
Scherza infida
Sento la Gioia
Si la voglio
Va, l'error mio palesa
Voi che sapete


A total of 53 tenors: 14% of the total audition pool

The Winner (27 times)
Dies Bildnis

Ah lève-toi soleil
Ah mes amis
Here I stand
Il mio tesoro
Kuda kuda (Lenski)
Lonely House
Un aura amorosa
Una furtiva lagrima

A te o cara
Ah la paterna mano
Dalla sua pace
De' miei bollenti spiriti
Dein is mein ganzes Herz
Ecco ridente
Fra poco a me ricoverò
Frisch zum Kampfe
Fuor del mar
Ich baue ganz
It's about the way people is made (Sam's aria)
Languir per una bella
O wie ängstlich
Pourquoi me reveiller
Questa o quella
Salut! demeure chaste e pure
Sì ritrovarla
Tarquinius does not wait

Once or twice
Ach so fromm
Ah fuyez
Ah! je vais l’amer
Ah, mes amis
Albert the Good
Avete torto
Che ascolto!... Ah come mai non senti (Rossini's Otello)
Che gelida manina
Coeur sans amour
De este apacible rincon de Madrid (Luisa Fernanda)
Durch die Wälder
È la solita storia
En fermant les yeux (La Rêve)
Enrico Carouser's Aria (Too Many Sopranos)
Firenze è come un albero
I know that you all hate me
I must with speed amuse her
Im Gegenteil (Tanzmeister)
Invidia fortunam odit
It must be so (Candide's lament)
Je crois entendre
Jour et nuit
La fleur (Flower song)
Love too frequently betrayed
New York Lights
No puede ser
O blonde Ceres
O Colombina
Oh I feel cold inside
Oh is there not one maiden breast
On the path to the lake
Peter Grimes’ mad scene
Pour me rapprocher de Marie
Que les destins
Recondita armonia
Se all'impero
Semplicetto, a donna credi?
Slim's song
Tradito schernito
Unis des la plus tendre enfance
Walther's Preislied
Wenn der Freude Tränen fliessen
Where e'er you walk


A total of 53 baritones: 14% of the total audition pool

Hands-Down Winner (30 times)
Hai già vinta la causa

Avant de quitter ces lieux
Lieben Hassen
Look through the port
Mein Sehnen (Pierrot's Tanzlied)

Bella siccome un angelo
Donne mie
Warm as the autumn light
Onegin's aria
Ah! per sempre
O du mein holder Abendstern
Questo amor
Within this frail crucible
Yeletsky's aria (Ya vas lyublu)
E fra quest'ansie (Silvio)
Largo al factotum
Come Paride vezzose
É sogno?
O Nadir
O vin dissipe la tristesse
Papageno's suicide aria
Vision fugitive
When the air sings of summer

Once or twice
A Woman is a Sometime Thing
Aprite un po'
Come Master
Comme une pâle fleur
Cruda funesta smania
Deh vieni alla finestra
Der Vogelfänger
Di Provenza
Do you know the land?
Ein Mädchen
Excerpt of Mandryka from Arabella
I am John Proctor
I had to strike down that Jemmy Legs
Joseph’s confession
Let things be like they always was
News has a kind of mystery ( Nixon in China)
Non più andrai
Non siate ritrosi
O Carlo, ascolta
O Maria (Mazeppa)
Per me giunto / Io morrò
Presti Omai
Schaunard's aria
See the Raging Flames
Si può
Sibillar gli angui d'Aletto - Rinaldo, Handel
Sid's Aria (Tickling a Trout...)
Sorge infausta
Tower Scene (Pelleas)
Vien Leonora
Votre toast (Toreador)
Who am I? (A Month in the Country)


A total of 33 basses and bass-baritones: 9% of the total audition pool

The Winner (8 times)
Madamina (Catalogue aria)
(Note: We're halfway through and no one has started with this!)

Aleko's aria (Ves' tabor spit)
Aprite un po'
Arise ye subterranean winds
Come Master
Hear me O Lord
Ho capito
I rage / O ruddier than the cherry
Il lacerato spirito
I'm a lonely man Susannah
I'm a lonely man, Susannah
In diesen heil'gen Hallen
La calunnia
O du mein holder Abendstern
O Isis und Osiris
Piff paff
Se vuol ballare
Si la rigeur
Sorge infausta
Vecchia zimarra
Vi ravviso

Once or twice
A un dottor della mia sorte
Alla vita che t'arride
Bringt eilig Hut und Mantel mir (Waffenschmied)
Buvez donc ce breuvage (Romeo et Juliette)
Come dal ciel
Deh ti ferma
Deh vieni alla finestra
Demon's Aria (The Demon)
É sogno?
Ecco il mondo
Épouse quelque brave fille
Gremin's aria (Lyubvi vse vozrastï pokornï)
Hark, the land bids me (Antony & Cleopatra)
Honor and Arms
King René’s aria (Gospod' moy)
L’empio, sleale, indegno
La vendetta
Le Tribunal (Dialogues des Carmelites)
Le veau d'or
Let things be like they always was
Non più andrai
O beauty
O wie will ich triumphieren
Quand la flamme
Schicchi’s aria
Schweig! / Weber / Freischutz / german
Scintille diamant
Se un bell ardire
Si tra i ceppi
Sibilar gli angui d'Aletto
Solche hergelauf'ne Laffen
St Peter’s aria (Too Many Sopranos)
Ves tabar spit (Aleko)
Voli colla sua tromba
Votre toast (Toreador)
Vous qui faites l'endormie (Serenade)
Wie schön ist doch die Musik
Within this frail crucible

Monday, November 13, 2006

Day 7: Houston - Hump Day!

As of midday, it was 6.5 days down, 6.5 to go! The nasty part is that the remaining half of the tour is the most high-maintenance, travel-wise.

The Houston Report

Sopranos - Consider Bubbles, Beautiful Bubbles from Pasatieri's Goose Girl. It's in one of the new anthologies (I'm on the road, so I can't remember which one), it's perfectly fine to give to a good audition pianist to sight-read, it's about 2.5 minutes long, and it's a welcome alternative to the Silver Aria.

Sopranos - If you sing Elvira, consider her first aria Ah chi mi dice mai as an audition alternative to Mi tradi. The latter is virtuosic and very difficult to bring off in this situation. The former is not easy, but a little less of a stamina test.

Baritones - If you're a young high lyric baritone with an elegant, expressive top, why not sing the alternate (Vienna) version of the Count's aria from Figaro? If you've got it, flaunt it. Leave the standard Prague version to those mature beefy baritone guys.

Today we heard our first In uomini, in soldati, and our first Largo al factotum (believe it or not!)

Southern singers are so accommodating. Such nice people. We had a record number of offers to sing portions of long arias (most of which we didn't take them up on). And the "Yes ma'am" count was predictably respectable. It's a sign of the passage of time that being called ma'am used to feel odd and no longer does.

The Music and the Mirror

Auditions today in the dance rehearsal hall downstairs at the Wortham Center. (At left, pianist Eric Melear and audition panelist Thomas Lausmann at the barre.) A lovely space, with clear bright lighting and an honest acoustic. It took a little getting used to the fact that we could see ourselves in the mirror (which was in back of the singers). Not pleasant catching glimpses of my tired face, but a useful exercise in being able to see what the singers see when they look at the "table."

A long day, with 36 singers. Off to bed early, up at 5:30 to head to the airport and San Francisco.

Day 6: still New York...

OK, I wasn't kidding. It really is all about the shoes. The flight to Houston tonight was showing, of course, The Devil Wears Prada. I unplugged my headphones from my iPod, which was dutifully chipping away at some Handel opera casting problems, and plugged into some of Hollywood's cheap thrills. That movie makes me glad there are probably no more entry-level jobs in my life.

Audition Aria Thoughts

Sopranos - A nice English aria alternative to Baby Doe, etc. is Tiny’s Aria from Paul Bunyan. Reasonable for a pianist to sightread; 4 minutes long; musially quite satisying.

Mezzos – Perhaps some of you could give Smanie a rest. Look into Dorabella's É amore un ladroncello.

Tenors - Anyone ever tried Morire from La rondine? Puccini, but not terribly heavy. Short, with a high B (I think) at the end.

The Week in New York

This week included the hands-down best rendition of O luce di quest'anima that I've heard in audition. Strictly speaking, not one of my favorite pieces, but this singer made me actually wish I could hear it again.

An epidemic of fabulous basses brought us multiple (all very satisfying) hearings of Wie schön ist doch die Musik.

We were also treated to a gorgeously sung Cendrillon excerpt that renewed my (futile) interest in producing the piece. I played rehearsals for it ages ago with Frederica von Stade, and I've had a soft place for it in my heart ever since.

We're not halfway done yet, but I can safely say that some of the sung-to-death aria trends are reversing. We've only heard one Pamina (the run-away favorite last year), and two Anne Truloves. Mezzos seem to be avoiding coloratura (heard the first Cruda sorte today), we're hearing fewer Rosinas than ever before, and no one has sung Non piu mesta. We've not heard a lot of tenors, so the statistics aren't clear. The Count is still the baritone favorite, but we've yet to hear one of last year's two runners-up (Billy in the Darbies). And not a single bass has sung Madamina!

Welcome to Texas

7 hours tomorrow in a Houston Grand Opera rehearsal studio. Wish us luck!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Day 5: New York

You think you've had a rough audition day? Top this.

It's All About the Shoes

Tonight's dinner conversation found its way to the subject of ladies' audition and concert shoes. I don't know how you girls do it. You look like a million bucks in those stiletto heels. But I'd have trouble staying upright, let alone getting around the stage and being grounded enough to sing. Great advice from my veteran soprano friend: tango shoes. They have to look fabulous, but they're built to be danced in. Teddy's Shoes.

Added Value

Chicago Opera Theater's Brian Dickie wrote yesterday about a mock auditions class he held. He found, as I did, that singers are becoming much more savvy about certain aspects of the audition process. One of the things I've noticed recently is that (generally...) résumés are in better shape than they were ten years ago. Some of this, of course, is due to the availability and sophistication of personal computer desktop publishing. (Remember, though, that no spell-checker out there can fix the names and titles on an opera résumé.)
In the last couple of years, though, I'm finding the pendulum swinging a little too far in the opposite direction. Some singers are so busy being their own publicists that they forget that their main task is to learn to sing. I know... When you're just too tired or frustrated to deal with one more practice session, it's far easier to tweak the fonts on your résumé, write glowing prose for your bio, or photoshop your latest production shots for your website. These things are helpful in starting your career. But they don't take the place of those long hours in the practice room or with a score.

Hocus Pocus!

Popped into the Hansel and Gretel matinee at City Opera this afternoon. It's the revival of Jim Robinson's terrific production. We got there in time to see the changeover into the Central Park location, and had to leave soon after the appearance of the witch. ("Angela Petitfour", above at left). We were/are/could be toying with the idea of doing a H&G at the Filene Center some season. As much as I love this production, though, it's quite New York-centric, and doesn't feel like the right thing for us.

Too Many Notes

If J. Alfred Prufrock measured out his life in coffee spoons, I've measured out my Novembers in arias. 30 singers a day seems to be just about my limit. I push it occasionally, as I did today (35, three of whom cancelled due to illness), and it's always a challenge. It's our responsibility to stay as fresh for the people at the end of the day as we are in the morning, and somehow we manage it. This afternoon I think we got a little punchy in between arias, so singers entering the room sometimes looked at us a bit askance.


Final day in New York tomorrow. Then off to Houston. Repacking this evening for the air travel marathon of the next 7 days. See you down south!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Day 4: New York

An absolutely beautiful day in New York, the second in a row. Makes up for those 18 solid hours of pelting rain on Wednesday. We relocated today, to the 10th floor of the Rose Building at Juilliard (white tower at left).

Random Aria Comments

"Caro nome" - That first E-natural ("Gualtier Maldé!") has to be on pitch and gorgeously spun. It takes us a long time to recover from a sketchy first impression if that first phrase (which is all about the E-natural) is tough going. If you sang "Caro nome" for us today, please don't read anything into this. As a matter of fact, today's rendition was particularly lovely. It just reminded me of all the times a soprano had to recover from that first deceptively difficult phrase.

Mezzos – Consider "This Journey" from Dead Man Walking. I continue to be desperate for an alternative to "Must the Winter Come So Soon."

Coloratura sopranos – Try this French aria as an alternate to "Chacun le sait" etc. - "Couplets des Regrets" from Offenbach's Orphée aux Enfers.

It's the Return of Pamina! After an endless succession of "Ach, ich fühl's" last year, the sopranos are dealing with Pamina sparely this year. These things go in cycles anyway. We heard our first one today, after almost four solid days.

The Great Audition Staging Debate

I received the following email today (duplicated here with the singer's permission) in response to yesterday's blog entry:

Before I begin this email, let me first say that I've never blogged, not once, NEVER!!!...(what, never???) That being said, I looked to your blog in regards to the auditions of my particular day only to find myself being the indirect (and, thankfully, nameless) subject of what you considered a tasteless and crude gesture...crotch grabbing. First of all, let me apologize to you if it was offensive. Please allow me just a moment to defend the action, seeing as the PRECISE response that I sought was the one that you had. For the sake of clarity , I made the choice to grab myself when Belcore was stating "son galante e son sargente" (please excuse the spelling). What kind of a pompous jackass would at the same time be blowing his own horn about being gallant and grabbing himself???!!! I think Belcore IS that jackass. While there are many other ways to show this, there are perhaps none quite so poignant. I realize that it walks a border of bad taste, but if we really look at the humor of the period we have to realize that Donizetti was not writing for the crown, but rather the commoners, and one has to associate slapstick,"crotch humor",and "potty humor" (that is if potty and crotch humor can't be categorically linked!) with the comedic zeitgeist of Italy in 1832.
P.S. I eagerly anticipate a retort!

re‧tort – noun: a severe, incisive, or witty reply, esp. one that counters a first speaker's statement, argument, etc.

I'm not sure I was up to a retort, but here's my response:

Thanks for your explanation. Your description of the character and the situation shows (as I fully expected) that you have given a lot of detailed thought to your interpretation. Trust me; I was not offended. (If I were that easily put off, I wouldn’t have lasted very long in this business!)

I buy into your rationale, and I whole-heartedly agree with the statement that L’elisir is not particularly high-minded. I can easily envision a production into which this particular Belcore fits perfectly. The reasons that I mentioned the gesture in the context of our audition tour are two-fold:

1) It was far enough outside of the panoply of what we usually see in an audition situation to distract our attention for a while. Now perhaps the audition experience shouldn’t be that artificial – I won’t argue that. But I’m looking primarily to see and hear what a singer can bring to an aria outside of a full-fledged staging format. Not everyone agrees. And this general dilemma (blocked? staged? physically rooted? traveling?) is very much on singers’ minds. I get asked this question a lot. And there is no single answer. All I know is that when something happens visually that’s far enough outside of normal parameters for this very abnormal performance situation called an audition, it catches my attention and detracts from my appreciation of the overall picture. If that’s as hard to understand as it is for me to explain, I apologize.
2) I might not have remarked about it at all except that we had a female singer make pretty much the same gesture this week.

Thank you for your audition and for the obvious way that you are deeply committed to being a singing actor. If there’s any portion of your email and my reply that you’d agree for me to publish on the blog (your name omitted), let me know. Otherwise, it’s just entre nous.

To "stage" or not? To what extent to incorporate blocking into auditions? Should you feel as if you're straitjacketed? These questions are asked frequently, and each one of us has our own answer. Personally, I want you to feel free up there, but I'd rather let the voice, the language, and your nonspecific body language (what is that? you say...) do the work. But clearly, with the more buffo material, there's a larger gray area.

Thoughts? Feel free to enter the fray. Comment below or wtoc@wolftrap.org.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Day 3: New York

A busy day. Auditions for 30 singers and 1 apprentice coach. Interviews with conductors, directors. A brief visit with one of my colleagues from the San Francisco Opera Center, and a late night dinner with a long-time friend and colleague from my Washington (National) Opera days. Back then we weren't "National":) As a matter of fact, we were part of an exclusive club, the Two-Two's (The Women Of The Washington Opera). We went bowling. It was a very different place then.

Soprano Aria Ideas

  • “You’ve Never Seen the Winter Here” from A Month in the Country
  • “But You Do Not Know This Man” from A View from the Bridge
  • “I Can Hardly Stand It / When He's Away" (Stella’s aria) from A Streetcar Named Desire


This week's auditions have brought a couple of inappropriate – and more to the point, unnecessary – staging gestures. I’m not exactly prudish, but anything that detracts from rather than enhances your performance is not a good thing. This week it was about crotch-grabbing. Male and female. Don’t ask.

Was It a Good Thing?

OK, so I struggled to stay awake until 12:30 this morning to watch the Met's Barber cast on Letterman. May I say I was underwhelmed? There are ways to do this well, and this wasn't one of them. I'd love to hear from anyone who's not an opera aficionado who saw this segment. (Yes, I do realize that if you aren't interested in opera, you won't be reading this, so I doubt I'll get any feedback.) There was a tremendous amount of talent on that little stage, but I'm not sure anyone could tell. Standing in front of microphone stands, trying to connect with whatever monitor keeps them from getting separated from the conductor (who's upstage) during the thorny stretto to the Act I Finale... Wouldn't have piqued my interest.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Day 2: New York

Greetings from this AWOL Virginian, whose absentee ballot is probably being counted as we speak. Dramatic day for politics. My daughter is studying political science and foreign policy, and I usually look to her to explain these things. She called me three times today to give me updates :o)

Planning on staying up past my bedtime to catch the Met's Barber cast on Letterman. Pretty exciting. There are naysayers, I know, but I'm not one of them.

Miserable weather in New York today, poor folks arriving at auditions sopping wet. I knew I was about to have a bad hair day by the time I got to 72nd Street, but then again, no one was going to stare at me while I sang...


We're downstairs at New York City Opera today and tomorrow. Forsook our customary audition space (the orchestra rehearsal room) for one of the staging rehearsal rooms. We're fond of the orchestra rehearsal room because it's very easy to hear in there. Everything is uncomplicated and clear. The acoustic is on the dry side, and there isn't a lot of reverb that surrounds the sound. Of course, singers hate it for the very same reason.

We went with the more reverberant room this year largely because of the feedback we got from singers. Auditioning is a tough thing, and resisting the urge to push and drive the voice because of a too-dry acoustic is an unnecessary challenge in what is already a tough situation. It means I second-guess myself a lot more about how much the reverberant room is altering the basic sound, but then again, we're not the ones under the most strain here.


Received this email today from a mezzo who will be auditioning for us in Houston:

I've been doing auditions with other companies all month and will have four more auditions right after yours. I saw your blog on "Smanie." I'm a mezzo and sang that aria for [company name deleted], and the accompanist fell apart on me and stopped playing. It almost makes me feel that I should take it off of my rep list. However, its one of my favorite arias and I have done the role. So, I'm going to take it to Houston when I audition for all of you, but if this piano player falls apart on me like the last couple, I think I'm going to have to pull it as an audition aria.

Well, I'd hate to see you pull it if you feel good about it. I've probably heard hundreds of Smanie implacabili auditions, and I've never heard a pianist give up on it. Granted, it requires a nimble technique, but it's a true staple of the repertory, and the overwhelming majority of audition pianists have it well in hand. I believe your recent experience was an aberration. An unfortunate one, yes. But you shouldn't stop singing it.

Keeping It Real

Dinner last night with 15 recent WTOC alums. Always one of the highlights of our fall trip to New York. A little bit of inevitable shop talk, but mostly a chance to catch up on each other's lives.

And, I have to share this recent email from a colleague whose identity shall be protected. He's always after me to loosen up and take a few lessons from those American Idol judges. He takes me to task for a recent blog post...

"Objective things: intonation, mastery of languages, the right notes at the right time... then I'm listening for phrasing, musicianship, and general artistry." What's with all this high falootin'talk? How about: "Hey dog, you gotta know who YOU ARE, choose the right song, don't go all pitchy, and above all, keep it real."

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Day 1: Philadelphia


The first day of this year's audition tour brings a rash of out-of-tune singing. Everyone has the occasional "off" day, and I'm well aware that a live audition isn't going to have the pristine intonation of a recording. But I've been doing this for a while now, and I have to say that there was more approximate intonation going on today than any time in recent memory. Not all of it is under pitch, too. In fact, the most egregious examples were all over the map, on both sides of the pitches, and across the entire range.

I realize that developing a technique is a process, and occasionally you may be in transition, or working through something that wreaks temporary havoc with tuning. And I also understand that a developing technique may not yet have conquered intonation in the most difficult places in the tessitura - at the top, through the passaggio, etc. But singers must realize that even if we appreciate everything else about your artistry - dramatic depth, musical instincts, exquisite phrasing, impeccable language - if you can't sing on pitch, we can't hire you. Blunt, but unavoidable.

Name That Opera

The black box theatre at the Curtis Institute of Music was our home for the first day of the audition tour. Rehearsal prop table for the current opera production may be seen at left. What could it be?...


Today, a few words for mezzos. If you sing the Composer's Aria from Ariadne or "Smanie implacabili" from Cosi, spend some time getting familiar with the sound of the actual orchestration.

Too many pianists attack the Composer's Aria as if it were scored for a 90-piece Wagner orchestrata. Strauss wrote Ariadne for a chamber orchestra, and it's really rather transparent. Too often, mezzos strive for power and volume above all else in this piece. It needs color, line, and clarity.

As for "Smanie", those overwhelming triplet eighth-notes in the piano part are really just a murmur in the orchestration. The larger architecture of the wind chords and the long phrases are far more important. Understand this keeps you from singing the aria in too vertical a fashion.

Tell Us About It

If you're auditioning for us this year, we want to hear from you. Write wtoc@wolftrap.org (put "blog" in the subject line) or post an anonymous comment (see link below).

A blog contribution today from recent WTOC alum Weston Hurt, who says embarrassingly kind things about us, but who also has some very to-the-point advice in paragraph 2.

Kim Witman -- Friend or Foe?

Upon entering the dreaded Wolf Trap audition room everyone already assumes that Kim Witman, the General Director of the company is already writing your rejection letter before you begin to sing and certainly once she heard you mess up that word, right? WRONG!! Kim is a lovely woman and actually wants you to sing really really well! Kim is a lap-top-a-holic. She does EVERYTHING on her laptop...so, no worries, she is not writing your rejection letter, she is just taking notes about your audition.

So, what can you do? Sing well and have fun. Realize that auditions is just a part of what we do. We aren't really singers, we're professional auditioners. Whether that is taking place in a room with a piano or on stage in front of an audience, we are always auditioning, so get used to it, and get good at it!

Kim and the rest of the Wolf trap gang understand this better then most and truly want your audition for Wolf Trap to be the best ever. So, come prepared and sing well! There is a reason that there are alumni dinners and why alumni pop in from time to time during the summers in Vienna....its because we all love Kim and everyone at the trap.

Sing purrrdy!
-Weston Hurt
alumnus '05, '06

Brief walk in Riverside Park this morning, clearing my head for 5 days' of singing in New York. See you tomorrow.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Make Your Voice Heard

Are you auditioning for us this year? Add your voice to the blog. Send an email to wtoc@wolftrap.org with the word blog in the subject field, and I'll include your message in the next day's post. If you'd rather be anonymous, click on the "comment" link at the bottom of any of my posts. (I do have to screen these comments because of spam, but I promise I'll publish anything that's not profane.)

I'm documenting our side of the process, but we want to hear how it feels to you. It's especially important for you veterans to pass on a few words of advice to those who are new to this peculiar but necessary part of our business.

And...... We're Off!

Daily posts for the next 2.5 weeks. The audition tour starts tomorrow in Philadelphia. Then New York, Houston, San Francisco, Cincinnati, Chicago, and Vienna VA. 375 singers over 13 days of singing. More airplanes, rental cars, trains, taxis and hotels than I want to consider at this moment.

Packing is always a challenge, but particularly so this year because we're chaining together all of our cities without a break. The tight schedule makes it inadvisable to check baggage, so my challenge for today is to fit two weeks of stuff in one carry-on and a briefcase. Particularly difficult because the electronics alone fill about 75% of the allotted space...

  • Laptop, power cable, mouse, broadband wireless card, flash drive
  • MP3 recorder, power cable, microphone, USB cable, data storage
  • Digital camera & charger
  • Videocamera, mini-tripod, AC adapter, mini-DVs
  • External hard drive, power source, A-B cable
  • iPod, headphones, USB cable
  • Office supplies: tape, markers etc
  • Cell phone, charger
  • Palm, charger, USB cable
  • Extension cord, power strip, 3-prong adapter
  • Signs, Scotch tape, markers, schedules, invoice forms for pianists and monitors, etc
  • Printer, power cable, USB cable

Maybe I'll have to take the advice of this morning's Washington Post and wear all of my clothes in layers on the plane. But I'm not sure that mixing 5 layers of clothing and raging meopausal symptoms is a good thing... And could anyone tell me if a printer cartridge is a liquid or gel? Looks kinda solid to me, but the ingredients read like liquids. There's not exactly room for it in my pitiful zip-lock bag, but all I need is to get flagged as a troublemaker because I've put it in the depths of my bag. Especially since it's already going to take me forever to take all those layers of clothing off before they'll let me through security.

These are the important issues that consume me in these hours before the music begins. See you tomorrow in Philadelphia.