Multiple requests this week to talk about last Saturday’s Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Mid-Atlantic Regional finals at the Kennedy Center. I was one of three judges, and I’ve gotten emails, calls, and blog comments asking for some detail on how the panel arrived at its decisions.
Of course, that’s pretty much not possible without violating a series of professional confidences. What I am able to do, though, is call your attention to the guidelines that all MONC judges follow. IMPORTANT: This is not confidential or proprietary information. It may also be found on the MONC website.
The purpose of The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions is:
1) To discover exceptional young talent.
2) To provide a venue for young opera singers from all over the country and at all different levels of experience to be heard by a representative of The Metropolitan Opera and to assist those with the greatest potential in their development.
3) To identify new talent for The Metropolitan Opera and for possible participants in the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.
Number 1 is obvious. But pay particular attention to Numbers 2 & 3. And if you have questions about the outcome of MONC auditions, revisit the performances while keeping this rubric at the front of your consciousness.
Note what it does not say. It is not a mandate to simply choose the singer who gives the most satisfying, musical, or crowd-pleasing performance. It is not an imperative to choose the singer who is likely to have the most successful career. (Note: Number 2 does not say the greatest career potential, but rather the greatest potential for development.]
My experience with public competitions is that most of the time, the persons or persons who meet the specific qualifications for the competition are often the same ones who give the most compelling performances. But that’s not always the case, and that’s when public opinion and panel decisions diverge.
One of the more curious (but wholly predictable) things about the comments I’ve gotten about last Saturday’s competition is that they all disagreed with the panel, but each one disagreed with the others. What a great art form this is.
Audition Comments Firestorm
Many of you have talked me back off the ledge, so more audition comments will be forthcoming. I’ve received 2 negative responses to previous comment postings and 15 encouraging ones. So, assuming that this little exercise has value, I’ll post some more this weekend. If you’re someone who is afraid of unfliching feedback (even if it’s anonymous), then consider this an opportunity to desensitize yourself. We used to call it Flooding Therapy.
Life Goes On
Meanwhile, back at the Trap, we push papers, drown in emails, go to meetings and work on our new Figaro. Even though the blog is still mired in audition talk, my days are spent in pre-production mode. And for my sanity (and maybe for yours: Step away from the audition preoccupation!), next week’s blog talk turns toward opera.
P.S. If you don’t recognize the picture at the top, you weren’t watching TV in 1965.