Competition: The 10-Year View

As requested, an historical overview of young artist applicants* for the Wolf Trap Opera Company:


*(None of these numbers include applicants for the Studio Program.)

The most striking thing is that we’ve seen a 100% increase in applicants over the last 10 years: from 399 singers vying for the 1999 season to 793 contenders for next summer’s roster. Any theories to explain this are pure speculation. It could be that there are twice as many aspiring singers out there, or it could be that more people know about programs like ours. Or who knows what.

A few dramatic spikes in the number of applicants are directly related to specific events:

In 2004 we removed the age limit for our program, and the number of applicants increased by almost 40%. Almost all of those folks were over 30.

In 2007 we rolled out our online application process, making it much easier to apply. And this year, the word that we had an online interface seemed to have spread like wildfire (over 75% of our applications came in online). In addition, we in the young artist community believe that the presence of Yaptracker makes it a lot easier for singers to manage multiple program applications. (We’re not the only company seeing an increase this fall.)

On average, we are hearing more and more singers live every year, though. Here’s a list of the number of auditions heard over the same period:


Sure, the percentage of applicants heard this year was lower than over the previous nine years, but the sudden increase (22%) caught us off guard. I still have no idea what to do about it. We can’t exactly expand our audition tour to accommodate that many more singers.

What They Sang

One more aria list: the opening selections by the singers who received offers from us for 2008.

Sopranos

Es gibt ein Reich
I Want Magic
Quando m’en vo
Sul fil d’un soffio etesio
Tower Aria
Zerbinetta (2)

Mezzos
Composer’s Aria
Parto, parto
Que fais-tu

Tenors

Grimes’ Soliloquoy
I must with speed amuse her
Recondita armonia
Tarquinius’ Ride

Baritones
Count’s Aria
Pierrots Tanzlied
Toreador
Yeletsky

Bass
Vi ravviso

Talk To Me

Don’t forget the 30-second survey. Here. Tell me what to post about.
I’ve heard from about 200 readers so far, and the results are all over the map, so I’m not sure if it’s going to help me narrow my focus. But perhaps that’s the point

P.S….

A Shout-Out to Bob Fincheimer: Tech is gonna be lucky to have you. You rock. We’re so proud :)

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