Report on Holiday Festivities
Wolf Trap’s Holiday Sing-Along was terrific. Thousands and thousands of people… hundreds of little children on the stage during “Jingle Bells”… good December weather… a huge truck filled to the brim with Toys for Tots. Unfortunately, I sang myself out and was in tatters for the second event of the day, the Messiah Sing-Along at my church where I was due to stand in for our contralto soloist who is battling bronchitis.
Explanation required. I am not a singer, strictly speaking, but occasionally I haul my voice around pretty fearlessly, and I’ve absorbed enough basic information about intonation, phrasing, and placement to unwisely twist my garden-variety soprano into an imitation of a mezzo. It’s not a healthy vocal production, and it doesn’t hold up well after an hour of leading carols in freezing weather. Anyway, I sounded like a cross between Carol Channing and Rod Stewart. Huge hole on both sides of the bottom register break. Any salvageable music came out of it was a minor triumph of chutzpah over talent. (Or, as my friend the sick contralto reminds me, it required “more guts than sense.”) :) All of this, of course, was designed to give me true empathy for all those singers in my life.
Shop Talk – Leftovers from the Audition Trail
Résumés – a few more observations:
- Layout. The column format is time-tested and unassailable. We can look at each engagement singly, or we can skim down columns of companies, roles, and dates.
- Dates. Please list engagements in reverse chronological order. Especially because we deal with artists who are still developing, it’s important to be able to see growth and momentum.
- “Career Objective”. Don’t bother trying to include an “Objective”. I know that it’s part of the process when applying or interviewing for a lot of other kinds of jobs, but it’s really hard to include it on a singer résumé without sounding silly. Lots of effort could go into trying to figure out how to state the objective clearly. Don’t bother.
- Colleagues/References. Only list people who would be able to speak easily on your behalf. Name-dropping doesn’t really work if they don’t remember you.
Random Aria Advice for Sopranos:
- Adele’s Audition Aria. Extraordinarily hard to bring off. Almost always harmless and stultifyingly boring. You have to be a phenomenally gifted comedienne to make an impression with this in audition. Those “la-la-la’s” (you know which ones I mean) have to be to die for.
- Manon’s Gavotte. Consider only singing one iteration of “Profitons bien” (instead of the two that are written). Brings the scene down to about 4 minutes. Might make the difference and get you a second aria if the audition time frame is tight.
Tomorrow – back to casting!