Whether we like it or not, successful auditioning is the keystone to a career in opera.
Chances are that most singers reading this have experienced the audition from hell. The sweaty palms, the cracking voice, the realization that a page is missing from your accompanist notebook… oh yeah, we won’t admit it but it has happened to us. Auditioning can be difficult enough with three judges in the room. Now, add a whole audience replete with applause meter and you have made it to the Baltimore Concert Opera‘s live auditions at the Engineer’s Club on Monday, April 26 and Tuesday, April 27, 2010.
Watching other singers audition might be one of the most helpful learning experiences I have ever found. I could write a whole list of to-do and NOT to-do based on these simple experiences. But, I will save that for another post. Unfortunately, I could only attend on Tuesday night which means I missed an abundance of friends and wonderful singers on Monday. But, attending on Tuesday afforded me the chance to listen to quite a few new-to-me singers that were well worth my time and paltry ticket price.
Jeff Tarr has made his way around the Baltimore/D.C. area winning competitions and singing with companies. Tarr had an exemplary audition. He began with La Calunnia from Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia with (what I can only imagine) is his standard humor, charm, and stage presence. He then raised the bar by completely changing characters to Sarastro (Magic Flute) for the second aria. Audition key: show off your versatility with different character repertoire.
Another crowd favorite at the Baltimore Concert Opera’s Auditions was Jarrod Lee. The judges made sure to tell the audience that Lee just created the role of Joe Louis in the Maryland Opera Studio production of Shadowboxer. You can read a review of that here. Opening with I Got Plenty O’ Nuttin from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, it would be difficult not to notice Lee’s straightforward diction and buttery voice. Audition key: don’t forget that you are always auditioning. You never know who is in the audience at your opera performance.
Finally, Aundi Marie Moore stole the show for me on Tuesday night. I couldn’t even jot notes while she was singing. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that she sang two of my favorite arias. Opening with Song to the Moon (“Měsíčku na nebi hlubokém”) from Rusalka, Moore’s depth in both voice and character was captivating. It was obvious that she has done the role on stage and feels confident and secure. After she finished, the judges said, “we don’t really need to hear more but would you like to sing something else?” To which Moore replied, “well, this wasn’t on my list but I would like to sing My Man’s Gone Now.” Can this be happening? Will she really follow up Rusalka with My Man’s Gone Now? She did. It was gorgeous and I gave two heavy sighs at the end which is the better version of any “bravo.” Audition key: know your audition repertoire intrinsically. It will show.
Needless to say, Baltimore Concert Opera has done a good job of whetting the appetite of next season’s audience with all of these fantastic auditions. Can’t wait to hear more!
Did you go to BCO’s Live Auditions? Have a favorite? I want to know. Drop me a line below…