Part Two in a series of posts containing audition season advice submitted by Wolf Trap Opera alumni.
Half a dozen singers responded to my call for advice with comments on how to deal with the little (and big…) things that can and will go wrong during audition season.
Audition Day Strategies: Plan Ahead
Be Ready for Anything
To prepare for auditions, I try to imagine every type of situation. Bright lights, dark lights, the pianist has never heard your piece before, there is nowhere to warm up at the audition venue. Then I mentally go through how I would deal with each of those situations. Then when or if something happens, you are calm and collected and you have a plan. This allows you to focus on your performance and connection to the piece.
Always have a spare resume, bio, head shot package, and pressed audition clothes, ready to go at a moment’s notice.
The Pianist’s Notebook
Be clear on cadenzas and cuts in well-organized scores, as you will probably not be able to work with the pianist.
If you have a new anthology, make sure the pages are creased so your pianist doesn’t have to take time out of the audition to do it for you.
On Dealing with the Inevitable
If something goes wrong musically, word slip, whatever, just keep going, and if you need to stop and restart a section, it isn’t the end of the world. We all have moments when our minds go blank. I think it is better to restart something than to continue stumbling and getting frustrated. Just take a breath and go!
Don’t be afraid to mess up!! Often, a panel learns more about you – as a person, as a musician, as a performer – by how you handle mistakes than by how perfectly you can sing your arias. At an audition this past spring, I sang an aria that ends with an ascending scale, and I sort of “fell of the rails.” I stopped and – before I knew what I was doing! – said with a smile, “That wasn’t very good. Can I try that again?” I did, I nailed it, and then walked out of the audition TOTALLY EMBARRASSED but with my head held high. I was mortified. But imagine my surprise when I got a call a few months later – and I GOT THE JOB! :) Embrace your mistakes and show your resilience and sense of humor. You never know!
Tomorrow: Your Aria Package!