The Road to 2017: Cincinnati

We’re heading out of Ohio tonight, after 3 productive days at CCM. This site is a particularly strong magnet for potential Studio Artists, with strong singing from students enrolled at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Indiana University, Oberlin Conservatory of Music, University of Michigan, Louisiana State University, Michigan State University, Florida State University, North Carolina School of the Arts, University of Tennessee, University of Memphis, Eastman School of Music, Cleveland Institute of Music, and more!

We were preceded in beautiful Werner Hall (above) by auditions from Des Moines Metro Opera, and as soon as we left, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis moved in. ‘Tis the season.

Arias & Monologues

This week, monologues (required for Studio Artist auditions) included a great assortment of excerpts from playwrights ranging from Tennessee Williams to Neil LaBute, movie monologues from The Grinch and Remember the Titans, and bits from TV scripts including Scandal and The New Girl.

And for the first time in years, a Studio Artist candidate chose to start his audition with his monologue instead of his aria!

Unusual arias included “Simple Child” from Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath (soprano), “Raggion nell’alma siede” from Haydn’s Il mondo della luna (soprano), and the Car Aria for baritone from Tobias Picker’s An American Tragedy (the second time we’ve heard this aria during this tour.)

And a Mozart aria observation for you high lyric / coloratura sopranos: We’ve only heard Susanna’s “Deh vieni” three times so far, but we’ve heard Blondchen’s “Durch Zärtlichkeit” ten times… A serious trend.

Free the Knee, but Banish the Button

We’re a pretty relaxed audition panel, much less specific than most in our expectations for attire. But we agree a bare midriff in an audition is a bit much. Discuss.

We had a gentleman audition in dark wash jeans and a button-down shirt with blazer, and we couldn’t quite decide on that one. General consensus was that he looked pretty polished, and the dark jeans didn’t scream informality. But if that is the bottom threshold for the guys, what’s the equivalent for the ladies? We decided that it must be skinny pants with heels and a dressy top. And we saw a couple of those today, with mixed success. It can really work for you if you have a sense of fashion, but it’s a lot harder to pull together a look with that many components than it is to find a great dress and accessorize it.

The Resistant Short List

Usually by now I’ve posted a dozen or so operas that have ended up under serious consideration for the upcoming season, but this has been a different kind of year. No fewer than 30 operas have rotated on and of our “short list,” and the field is still wide open. Exciting and terrifying. Stay tuned.

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