Audition tour kick-off at Curtis Institute. In a black box theatre/rehearsal room that provides an extremely flattering acoustic. The wonderful thing about it is that everyone sounds good. The bad thing is that everyone sounds good. So, right out of the box, we’re trying to separate voice from acoustic.

I said this last year, but I’ll reiterate. Love being in a place that’s not all about singing. Brass quintet music accompanied us up and down the grand staircase today. And for about an hour this afternoon there was a double bass practicing the Ride of the Valkyries just loud enough for us to hear it in the audition room:)


A bad day for résumés. Slightly over half of today’s entries have multiple misspellings – and that’s only taking into account names of operas and roles. (If you include names of teachers, coaches, other references, the error percentage goes significantly higher.)

Now, don’t get me wrong. We want you to sing well, first and foremost. You’re not applying to be a writer, editor, or any other sort of wordsmith. But the headshot/résumé combo is a tangible reminder of your professionalism or lack thereof. Please please please ask a handful of people – professors, teachers, coaches, highly literate friends – to proofread your paperwork. It’s a simple thing to fix, and unlike your headshot (topic for another day), it doesn’t require an infusion of cash to do it well. If you don’t know how to spell the name of the role you performed or the opera it occurred in, it’s not unreasonable for us to wonder about the level of care with which you prepared the important details of that role.

Tenor-Free Zone

It’s a tenorless start for us. I don’t have the statistics yet (how many of each voice type applied this year), but I will soon. We’ll see if the tenor trend persists throughout the auditions.

The Shuffle

I’ve grown unapologetic about my iPod attachment. Used to feel a little sheepish about it, but life’s too short. It’s a lifesaver, especially while traveling. Spent the trip home actually working, reviewing two Handel oratories-turned-operas: Semele and Hercules. But since the morning trip to the Metro started at 6:30 (far too early for me to be productive), I did the shuffle. “Never more will the wind” – Marilyn Horne singing William Bolcom. Someone sing this at my funeral, please. “No One Has Ever Loved Me” from Passion. Fosca is one of the most gripping women I’ve ever seen on the stage. “Piangeró” from Giulio Cesare. Ah, Handel. Maybe it’s an omen.

Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia

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