Days 12 & 13: The Barns

Nice to be back home, but the tendency to multi-task is disconcerting. On the road it’s easy to pretend that auditioning is the only thing we have to do. Coming back here reminds me that there are so many other things to deal with, and miles to go before we sleep.

Some lovely auditions this week, though, from (including but not limited to!) singers from young artist programs at The Washington National Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Seattle Opera, and from graduate programs at nearby Peabody Conservatory, University of Maryland Opera Studio, and Catholic University.

Since we’re crossing the audition finish line today, it’s apt that November 21 is “No Music Day.” Check it out here. It’s not all negative.

As much fun as all of this auditioning has been, it’s only the warm-up act. Now we have to program, cast, and staff three operas and two or three concerts. By next Friday. Just thinking about it strikes fear in my heart.


Back when I posted the master list of arias offered this season, I promised to wrap up with an account of popular opening arias. I crunched this data very quickly this evening, so I’m not promising 100% accuracy. But it’s comprehensive enough to indicate trends.


6 times (a big surprise!)
Ach ich liebte

5 times
Je veux vivre
Poison Aria (Juliette)

4 times
Come scoglio
Deh vieni
Du gai soleil
O luce di quest’anima
Porgi amor

3 times
Durch Zärtlichkeit
Je suis encor
Musetta’s Waltz
O quante volte
Pace pace
Tornami a vaggheggiar
Un bel di vedremo
Vissi d’arte

2 times
Ach ich fühl’s (way down from last year)
Ah zittre nicht
Anne Trulove (also less popular than previously)
Caro nome
Chacun le sait
Dearest Mama
Die Hölle Rache
Dis-moi que je suis belle
Donde lieta
Jewel Song
L’altra notte
Non mi dir
Tu che di gel sei cinta
Wo bin ich (Gretel)

Adieu, mon petite table
Ain’t it a Pretty Night
An non credea / Ah non giunge
Be kind and courteous
Bel raggio lusinghier
Bell song
Bubbles, Beautiful Bubbles
Che fiero momento
Come per me sereno
Das war sehr gut
Die Wiener Herrn
E ben altro il mio sogno (Tabarro)
Einsam in trüben Tagen
Fire Aria
Have Peace, Jo
Ich weiss nicht (Arabella excerpt)
Il est doux, il est bon
Io sono l’umile ancella
Je dis que rien
Je suis Titania
Kommt ein schlanker Bursch gegangen
Laurie’s Song
Ma quando tornerai
Marietta’s Lied
Mein Herr Marquis
My heart leaps up
My man’s gone now
Non disperar
Now then, notebook Florence
Qui la voce / Vien diletta
Regnava nel silenzio
Robert, toi que j’aime
Le Rossignol
Sempre libera
Senza mamma
Signore ascolta
Stridonò lassu
Sul fil d’un soffio etesio
Take Me Back
The Trees on the Mountain
Tu che le vanità
Una voce poco fa
Und ob die Wolke


9 times (runaway winner: still the mezzo’s favorite warm-up?)
Va, laisse couler mes larmes

6 times
Smanie implacabili

5 times
Wie du warst
Composer’s Aria

4 times
Una voce poco fa
Que fais-tu

3 times
Cruda sorte
Enfin je suis ici
Give him this orchid
Nobles seigneurs

Acerba voluttà
Dopo notte
Faites-lui mes aveux
Il padre adorato
Iris hence away
Mme de la Haltiere’s aria (Cendrillon)
Mon cœur s’ouvre à ta voix
Non più mesta
Non so più cosa son
O mio Fernando
Olga’s Aria
Parto parto
Per questa fiamma
Se Romeo
Sta nell’Ircana
Svegliatevi nel core
Things Change, Jo
Violin aria (Vois sous l’archet)


5 times
Lenski (Kuda) (a surprise)
Una furtiva lagrima

4 times
Questa o quella

3 times
Ich baue ganz (edges out Tamino and Ottavio)

2 times
A te cara
Firenze è un albero
Here I Stand
Ich baue ganz
Si ritrovarla io giuro

A te o cara
Ah leve-toi soleil
Ah mes amis
De’ miei bollenti spiriti
Dalla sua pace
De este apacible rincon de Madrid (Luisa Fernanda)
Dein is mein ganzes Herz
Durch die Wälder
Fuor dal mar
Here I stand
I must with speed amuse her
Il mio tesoro
Jour et nuit
La fleur que tu m’avais jetée
La Rêve
Lonely House
New York Lights
No puede ser
O blonde Ceres
O Colombina
O Dieu (Hoffmann)
O wie ängstlich
Pourquoi me reveiller
Recondita armonia
Salut demeure chaste et pure
Tanzmeister (Ariadne)
Tradito, schernito
Un autre est son epoux (Werther)


7 times
Count’s aria (the hands-down favorite for a long time)

4 times
Bella siccome un angelo
Pierrot’s Tanzlied

2 times
Avant de quitter ces lieux
È sogno
Questo amor
Schaunard’s scene

A woman is a sometimes thing
Ah per sempre
Carlos, ecoute
Come un’ ape
Comme une pale fleur
Cruda funesta smania
Eri tu
I am John Proctor
Kogda (Onegin)
Lieben, Hassen
O vin, dissipe la tristesse
Papageno’s suicide scene
Rivolgete a lui lo sguardo
Si può
Smirnoff’s aria
Vision fugitive


3 times
Vi ravviso

2 times
Aleko’s aria
Arise ye subterranean winds
I’m a Lonely Man
Il lacerato spirito
Se vuol ballare

A un dottore della mia sorte
Alla vita che t’arride
Aprite un po’ quegli occhi
Cara speme
Come dal ciel
Hear Me O Lord
In diesen Heiligen Hallen
Mefistofele’s Serenade
O Isis und Osiris
O ruddier than the cherry
Scintille diamant
Si la rigeur
Sorge infausta
Voli colla sua tromba


As we’ve gone through the audition tour, I’ve been keeping a list of topics I’d like to cover when I have the time. Clearly, these last few weeks haven’t offered a lot of free moments. I’m naïve enough to think that the next few weeks might.

Here’s the list:

  • The Audition Database: 12 years of auditions are now logged in this 16MB data file. Why and how do we use it?
  • Competition Winners: What makes their auditions different?
  • Why out-of-Fach singing doesn’t work
  • The Edirol MP3 recorder: My new best friend
  • Italian diction: Energy in vowels vs. consonants (not revolutionary, I know, but worth spilling some ink on)
  • Consistency vs. espressivity (really, I have little idea of what I meant by this… perhaps it’ll come back to me…)

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends. See you next week.



Thank you for keeping this blog. It is fascinating and helpful too. By my count above, you heard 145 sopranos. I’m sure that’s at least 50% of your audition pool.

How in the world do you pick just a couple from that group? Do you find yourself being extra critical of sopranos to make it easier to whittle down — “well, she flubbed those words, we can put her in the NO pile” — or is everyone judged on the same plane?

How do the 4 or 5 sopranos that are chosen stand out from the pack?


Am curious to hear the answer to that question as well. I mean, let’s face it, auditioning as a soprano is automatically different than any other voice type simply because of numbers. Advice for the auditioning soprano would be very welcome.

Would also like to know how many sopranos might return from a previous season, making the spots open to newcomers even smaller…


love the blog(s) since the past two years; however, you forgot the two, count ’em two “Ah, quel diners/Griserie” under Mezzo arias…..



Thank you so very much for this blog! It is so helpful to me as I choose rep. and prepare for auditions!


I can’t wait to hear what you have to say about the Edirol MP3 recorder! I have wanted one to record lessons, etc. with for a while, since the R-9 came out, but haven’t been able to get real feedback from a classically trained vocalist.

I’m staying tuned, and hope you have great Holidays!!

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