Susan Eichhorn-Young writes about feedback in her blog post today. One very important line is, ” YOU CANNOT TAKE THE AUDITION PROCESS PERSONALLY!!!!”

So true! “They” say it takes 25 auditions to get a role in an opera. That’s a lot of shoes-to-pavement time, much time amassing app. materials, filling out audition forms, PRACTICING, etc., etc.

It’s only after 25 auditions that you KNOW you’ve got it down, you enter the room & give ’em all you’ve got, & you don’t CARE what “they” think.

Why is this so important?

Very often, opera companies hold open auditions every year. They may only have one opening, but they hear everyone. So, even though you’re the “wrong” voice part that year, you sing. You go back the next year ~ maybe they’re looking for your type. It’s important that they heard you the year before, that you’re in great shape, that you’re improving/on top of your game.

A word about audition requirements: it is your JOB to cover all the bases. You’ll need 5 arias (or more) in various languages, tempi, & moods, showing what you do to your best advantage. Do NOT try to get around the requirements. You will have just wasted your ~ and their ~ time. And even if you have it together the next time around, audition panel members have good memories!

Many opera companies do a musical or two as part of their regular season. If your audition list includes a song from a musical, do it very well. And be sure to do the English diction w/a coach. A selection from a musical is not a 2nd-tier item on the list that the panel will never ask for. More likely than not, you’ll be asked to sing it 2nd.

ALWAYS begin w/your absolutely showiest choice. When the panel has been listening to people sing for 4 days, their ears are in serious need of your best. I had a wonderful opportunity to sit in on auditions for a week in NY for which I was house accompanist. (When someone brought their own pianist, I stayed in the room to listen to the audition.) After a few hours, I need the singer to enter the room and knock me off my feet/zap my ears, just to get my attention.

Every aria on your list MUST be in performance shape! The panel can, & will, ask for anything. Having 3 arias ready to go & hoping you never have to sing the other 2 doesn’t cut it. Again, a waste of everyone’s time.

If you are singing anything that is either: (a) very difficult for ensemble reasons; (b) especially difficult for the pianist (i.e., Strauss); or (c) not standard rep, it is very much to your credit if you rehearse with and audition with your own pianist. Much less opportunity for wrecks along the way, & everyone will appreciate that you took your rep seriously & knew the difficulty involved. Of course, as a collaborative pianist/coach, I think singers should ALWAYS take ME along!

It also helps to do a little research before the audition. Go to the company’s website. See what they’ve done recently. Find out who will be on the panel if you can. What do they do?

I’ll update as I think of more. Meanwhile… break a leg!!! And go practice!!!