A Syllabus and a Follow-Up

First, a peek at the outline I’ve been working on for the 5-week Inside Opera class I’ll be teaching here at Wolf Trap this spring. 400 years of opera in approximately 7.5 hours :)

From Florence to London

  • OPERA PEOPLE: Divas & Divos
  • TOOLS: Recitative & Arias
  • FACH: Mezzos & Friends
  • THE BIG IDEA: Words & Music

Classicism to Buffa

  • OPERA PEOPLE: Composers & Librettists
  • TOOLS: Ensembles
  • FACH: Baritone
  • THE BIG IDEA: Mozart

Bel Canto to Verismo

  • OPERA PEOPLE: The Chorus
  • TOOLS: The Singer’s Technique
  • FACH: Tenor
  • THE BIG IDEA: Death Be Not Loud

Grand Opera

  • OPERA PEOPLE: The Orchestra
  • TOOLS: Language
  • FACH: Soprano
  • THE BIG IDEA: Gesamtkunstwerk

Opera in Our Time

  • OPERA PEOPLE: Conductors, Directors & Designers
  • TOOLS: Park ‘n’ Bark Meets Stanislawski
  • FACH: Bass
  • BIG IDEA: Where Do We Go From Here?

If you live in the DC area and you’re interested in signing up, you should be able to find information at www.wolftrap.org/education in a couple of weeks. Or, you could send me an email, and I’ll make sure you get the information. It’s on 5 Monday evenings between March 24 and April 21. Plenty of interesting stuff for opera fans and newbies alike.

Had a Bad Audition?

Singers may be interested in this exchange, which recently took place in the Comments section of Josh’s post on The Audition Game:

Anonymous said…

This past fall, I sang for the Studio program. I would relish the opportunity to hear feedback about my audition – except for the fact that this was my worst audition yet. I’m sure that the feedback would be framed in a positive manner – all my experiences with Wolf Trap and their personnel have been fabulous – but I still feel like I’d be setting myself up for a bruising by asking for feedback from an audition that 1) I didn’t think went well and 2) was months ago!However, Wolf Trap is so generous to offer feedback that I feel foolish for NOT asking for feedback. Josh and Kim, what would you do? I ask mostly because it seems like a pattern that even more established singers might experience.

A response from Josh:

Really good question. As a singer, I have to say that I probably would not ask for feedback from an audition that I felt was NOT reflective of my usual abilities. (Just being honest.) I am not sure I would be interested in having someone pass on their observations of me on an off day… I would probably be very likely to dismiss any constructive criticism, assuming it was not about me at all, but rather in observance of whoever that beast was that crept in and impersonated me! As an administrator, however, I would say you should really go ahead and ask. You may be surprised, especially if the feedback contains comments that you have heard before from coaches and teachers that you trust… it may prove to you that even when you feel you are at your worst, your level of auditioning is more consistent than you think. That applies not only to those elements that you need to work on to improve, but also to those things that we felt were successful.

And a postscript from Kim:

If you feel you have a handle on the specific ways in which you underperformed (vocal indisposition affecting a particular aspect of your technique; general indisposition affecting energy level or focus), then it might be just fine to get feedback. Because if what you hear from us aligns with your own impressions of what didn’t go well that day, then some of your questions are answered.On the other hand, if you just feel it all went badly, and the feedback might just confuse you because you wouldn’t be able to project backward and figure out which comments, if any, are truly useful – well then, it might make more sense to just move on.



Is there any possibility that you will be reteaching this course during the summer? It sounds terrific, and for me the Monday-night time frame during early spring just didn’t work. I’m guessing that there might be a lot of people who might love to take it on a weekend day (is there any possibility it will ever be offered on a series of Saturdays and/or Sundays, for instance?)

Just asking–thanks!


Glad you’re interested in the course, Cara. Unfortunately, we can’t offer anything like that in the summer because producing the opera season takes all available man-hours and spaces from May to August. We’re discussing plans for next year, though, and we’ll keep your request in mind!

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