“I’m not going to do nothing any more.” “Never again?” “Well, not so much. They don’t let you.”

(Christopher Robin, to Pooh )

I’ve overindulged on my blog vacation. Living the unexamined life has proved pretty seductive. My month off has sprawled into 6 weeks, and it’s time to force myself back into circulation.

But I’m back and ready to face audition season. Are you? Hop on board, and we’ll get through this together.

First things first:


The first deadline for Filene Young Artist applications is about to pass (at midnight tonight). Studio Artists have until Friday (10/3), and Filene Young Artist applicants for Vienna, New York, and Philadelphia have until next Friday (10/10).


If you’re a singer, you’re probably assembling the dreaded aria list. You know: something in Italian, French, German, and English; a range of historical periods and styles; something to show off your money notes; something to show off your acting chops; a combination of safe arias you can sing in your sleep and something that shows innovation and individuality; 4 or 5 magical selections that show you’re capable of both versatility and specificity. Simultaneously. Or so it seems.

As you refine your aria package this fall, I invite you to submit a comment to the blog. If you’re on the fence about what to include, we’ll try to help guide your process.

As you’re preparing your list, I’m reviewing my aria database. It contains 823 arias (at this writing), and every year it gives up new treasures. I’ve been doing this particular audition circuit for 15 years, and there’s always something new to learn.

Stick With Us

As we work our way through the fall, look for discussions on audition protocol and attire, Fach, age limits, callbacks, acoustics, and more. Talk back in the comments section if you have burning questions.

What I Did on my Blog Vacation

Walked 90 miles. Stuck to the 2.5 mile/day plan for once.

Purged 25 years of old photos. Didn’t remember being some of the places I went, and have no idea who some of the people in the pictures are. Having a bad memory stinks.

Played all Beethoven sonatas, Bach English & French suites. (Well, I cheated on the Hammerklavier and part of the Waldstein, and my tempi weren’t pristine. But it was fun.)

Sent my son off to college.

Saw a fabulously funny Russian play at 1st Stage. If you live in the DC area, go!

Learned more about rebar, #21 gravel, truss design, and heat pump ratings than I really needed to know. We’re building a music room onto the rear of the house :)



Regarding the aria package: what if we’re singing the same arias as last year?


Gosh, I’m full of questions. Here are a few:

Do you have any advice about how to enter the audition room, greet the panel, and set myself up to sing? This always feels so awkward. Are there any things singers do as they’re making their entrances and exits that are turn-offs?

How do you feel about singers who hold on to the piano?

I’ve heard that auditors know within the first few seconds whether they like a singer’s voice or not, and then pretty much stop paying attention. If I get off to a weak start am I doomed?

I’m curious about your screening process for the auditions, and how much or whether the aria list and a candidate’s fach affect things positively or negatively.


How do you feel about singers including a Russian or Czech aria in their package, if they are proficient in those languages? Is it useful to hear, or should we just stick with standard languages?


I’ve been getting conflicting opinions, so I figured I’d ask for another to throw in the mix! I’ve been singing “Einsam in truben Tagen” from “Lohengrin” recently and have gotten mixed opinions about adding it to my aria package as a young singer (early 20’s) – some coaches tell me to use it as my German aria and that those on the audition panels will know that I don’t intend to sing Elsa any time soon but that I just happen to sing this aria well, while others tell me to avoid it completely until I am older. Any thoughts?


Thank you so much for taking the time to keep this blog! Your insights are tremendously helpful.

I’d really appreciate some help finalizing my audition repertoire. I’m in need of a French aria, and would also appreciate your thoughts on the rest of my package.

Here’s my list:

Se il padre perdei – Idomeneo
Klange der Heimat – Die Fledermaus
Ain’t it a pretty night – Susannah
Caro nome – Rigoletto

Thanks so much for your time!

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