Expert Friday: Audition as Strip Tease

Today, a few words from Sheri Greenawald, Director of the San Francisco Opera Center, in response to my email asking for anything (or 2 or 3 things…) in the way of advice SFOC would like to give to the folks who will sing for them this fall. (Merola’s audition application info is here. They’re heading out early this year, and one deadline has already passed.)

Be sure to dress appropriately, and by that, I don’t mean ball gowns. How would you dress for a formal master class with Marilyn Horne, for example? That’s the standard that you should set, in my opinion.

Have your music organized well for the pianist. Nothing is more boring than to have to wait as you scramble to find music for the pianist in your own binder, or if your scores aren’t well marked as to cuts and cadenzas.

Aria Selection Strategy
For the first aria, sing what you sing BEST, not what you think you should sing because you’re worried that we might not ask for a second aria. If you sing “Deh vieni, non tardar” fantastically, more than likely I’ll want to hear more, but if you come in singing “Regnava nel silenzio” only half-baked, that is not a good strategy. I’m often asked about this, and I always say that during my whole career, I basically had the same audition rep. I knew what sold me well, so that’s what I sang.

Enjoy Yourself
Have fun!!! If you’re not enjoying it, neither are we, probably!

Keep in mind Matthew Epstein’s theory of the audition: It’s like a classy strip tease! Don’t start with the most complicated and hardest aria, but start with a sure thing….the first glove to come off. If they don’t ask for a second, at least you haven’t the embarrassment of having taken off too much!

Have a great weekend – see you Monday for the beginning of Week 2: The Aria List. Depth vs. breadth. Standards vs. fresh fare. Fach. And more!

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