Occasionally an audition can be so stunning, it profoundly affects everyone in the room.
One audition was so impressive, I can still hear it years later.
The Oratorio Society of New York holds soloist auditions every year. The preliminary round is scheduled over the period of a week, every evening. I was hired as house accompanist. Chorus members acted as judges, inviting me to sit in when a singer arrived with his or her own accompanist. Although I had no vote, it was fascinating to be there and I was grateful for the invitation.
Things proceeded as usual, with some good performances throughout the week. Since most of you who are reading this have auditioned for something at least once, you are familiar with the process.
So I’ll skip to the real story.
The last audition
As you can imagine, everyone listening all week long was tired by Friday. Anyone singing at the end of the last day would most likely be at a disadvantage.
Finally! The last person arrived. He walked to the piano with his accompanist, both looking confident.
The singer announced what he would start with. He has made an obscure choice ~ no one in the room was familiar with it.
Guessing from his body type, I thought he was likely to be a baritone.
The piano introduction was two bars long, fast and furious. And then the singer began in the same manner.
He was a countertenor! Since he announced only his name and the title of his aria, no one knew what his voice type would be.
The judge’s education
I glanced at the judges. One of them had apparently not heard a countertenor before. She didn’t look too sure….
But he was so stunning, she was completely drawn in two seconds later. Her face went through a complete change, and it happened so fast, it was unbelievable.
I’ll leave it up to you to identify the winner.