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An old friend and a new dilemma

A wonderful blast from the past today. Alan Held, of Wolf Trap young artist vintage 1987 & 1988, is in town singing in the Washington National Opera’s Samson & Dalila. He’s coming back to Wolf Trap next winter to sing a recital at The Barns. (Part of our chamber music series.) He came by to

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Pirelli! da King of da Barbers, da Barber of Kings!

One of our own Wolf Trap Opera alumni comes back to make a guest appearance as Pirelli in Sweeney Todd… We finished preliminary blocking of the entire show this morning! (That is, except for Pirelli’s scenes, as he doesn’t arrive until next week.) … Load-in began today and the set is arriving from the warehouse…

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Day 6

Meant to start at the very beginning last Monday but was sidelined. Mostly by the need for a last-minute tenor replacement. Never a dull moment! But here we are, in rehearsal for the first show of the 2005 season, Sweeney Todd. Check the audio posts for a brief look backstage every day (or as often

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Vienna, VA

A smooth trip home on a plane full of happy folks on vacation and on their way to visit family for Thanksgiving. I love flying on weekends – sure beats the general weary road-warrior atmosphere of the weekday flights. Happy to be home myself – I think the guys (my husband and teenage son) are

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Los Angeles

Auditions held on the campus of the University of Southern California in the lovely Schoenberg Institute Recital Hall. Wish we had more time here. The Metropolitan Opera National Council is holding its Western Regional Finals across campus, and several of today’s singers were auditioning in both places. Also finished our apprentice coach and apprentice director

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Houston

Some of the recent interest in how companies like us select our singers comes from the “American Idol” phenomenon. No surprise that we’re different in a lot of ways…Getting in the door – In order to be heard on “Idol”, you just have to get in line early and sleep outside the hotel for a

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The Aria List

Interested in which arias are being offered in our auditions? We’ve compiled lists for each voice type. This year, we’re hearing 148 sopranos, 65 mezzos, 3 countertenors, 49 tenors, 60 baritones, and 20 basses.Each singer must offer 4 arias for the audition. (For us, the list must include one aria by Mozart or Handel.) It’s

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New York, Day 4

Last day in New York. Back in the acoustical wasteland of the Orchestra Rehearsal Room. Yesterday was spent in Rehearsal Room 1, a much livelier acoustic. What’s interesting is that while the singers prefer Room 1, it’s not always an asset for them. A few kinds of voices benefit, but because we’re aware of the

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New York Day 3

Lots and lots of good singing. WTOC alum Jason Hardy’s performance of Claggart’s aria from Billy Budd will stick in the memory for a long time. Best alternate aria: Sventurata (Clorinda’s aria) from Rossini’s La cenerentola. 4 minutes. After dinner, a late night meeting with composer John Musto and conductor Michael Barrett. Michael, John, and

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New York, Day 2

A few unfortunate incidents with printed music in the last couple of days. I always think that we do a good job of reminding singers to mark their music clearly, but I’m repeatedly surprised by failures to do so. The biggest problem is cuts. Even the best audition pianists can’t read minds (actually, they do,

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