You think you’ve had a rough audition day? Top this.
Tonight’s dinner conversation found its way to the subject of ladies’ audition and concert shoes. I don’t know how you girls do it. You look like a million bucks in those stiletto heels. But I’d have trouble staying upright, let alone getting around the stage and being grounded enough to sing. Great advice from my veteran soprano friend: tango shoes. They have to look fabulous, but they’re built to be danced in. Teddy’s Shoes.
Chicago Opera Theater’s Brian Dickie wrote yesterday about a mock auditions class he held. He found, as I did, that singers are becoming much more savvy about certain aspects of the audition process. One of the things I’ve noticed recently is that (generally…) résumés are in better shape than they were ten years ago. Some of this, of course, is due to the availability and sophistication of personal computer desktop publishing. (Remember, though, that no spell-checker out there can fix the names and titles on an opera résumé.)
In the last couple of years, though, I’m finding the pendulum swinging a little too far in the opposite direction. Some singers are so busy being their own publicists that they forget that their main task is to learn to sing. I know… When you’re just too tired or frustrated to deal with one more practice session, it’s far easier to tweak the fonts on your résumé, write glowing prose for your bio, or photoshop your latest production shots for your website. These things are helpful in starting your career. But they don’t take the place of those long hours in the practice room or with a score.
Too Many Notes
If J. Alfred Prufrock measured out his life in coffee spoons, I’ve measured out my Novembers in arias. 30 singers a day seems to be just about my limit. I push it occasionally, as I did today (35, three of whom cancelled due to illness), and it’s always a challenge. It’s our responsibility to stay as fresh for the people at the end of the day as we are in the morning, and somehow we manage it. This afternoon I think we got a little punchy in between arias, so singers entering the room sometimes looked at us a bit askance.
Final day in New York tomorrow. Then off to Houston. Repacking this evening for the air travel marathon of the next 7 days. See you down south!