I’m afraid that I would spend an obscene percentage of my food budget on coffee if I lived in Seattle. The coffee shops are so inviting, and who can resist the lure of free wireless access and caffeine?

This is my second time here, and I haven’t seen Mt. Rainier yet. But the view from Kerry Park (with Thomas, who’s one of the most caffeinated people I know, at left) was lovely this morning.

Strange Behavior at the Table

It was brought to my attention that some singers find it troubling that I don’t always look at them during their auditions. I’m sorry that this is the case – believe me, I don’t intend to appear inattentive. I do it for two reasons.

1) I occasionally need to look down when I type – not often, for my touch-typing is pretty good. But the stream-of-consciousness monologue that I try to capture during the audition is crucial. When I get back home and the crush of casting is over, I promise to devote a blog entry or two to demonstrating exactly what we are writing on our laptops.

2) I listen better when I’m not watching. Yes, the visual component is terribly important, and of course I watch the audition to get a sense of the artist’s ability to communicate. But my old instincts as a coach and teacher kick in very quickly. I empathize immediately and fatally with almost everyone, and I find myself rooting for each singer’s success. That’s a lovely and noble thing to do, but it doesn’t help one bit when the ultimate and unavoidable goal is to take 320 auditions and trim them down to 15.

The Videotape

I was also mortified to find out that people are watching to see when I turn the video-camera on and off. Singers should not read too much into this! We record the audio for every single note of every single audition, but I dip in and out of the video. It’s used as a quick reminder of the visual component of the audition – it jogs the memory and helps me put my written comments in perspective. I use it in snippets – usually not for entire arias. My use of it is not scientific, and it’s certainly not directly proportionate to the success of the audition.

Fatigue Setting In

Really wanted to hear the Seattle Symphony tonight (Beethoven 4th Piano Concert and Bruckner 7th Symphony), but I’m toast. Travel day tomorrow. The ears need a rest, and I need a good night’s sleep.

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