Take Your Family to Work
If you haven’t seen Michelle Kunz’s terrific article in last month’s Classical Singer magazine, you owe it to yourself to take a look. If you’re single and/or childless, don’t be put off by the “family” reference – the scope is much broader than that.
Despite the best intentions of those of us in this business who understand how difficult and how important it is to have a personal life, the fact remains that opera (and professional music in general) is not a family-friendly sport. You can rail all you want about the injustice of that statement (and I have, believe me), but it will not change. We’re not alone, mind you – professional sports, high-octane medicine and law, law enforcement – there are lots of professions that are downright hostile and/or harmful to the personal lives of their participants. Accept it and move on. If you’re in it for the long haul, read and heed Michelle’s valuable recommendations.
Met Auditions – The Day That Wouldn’t Die
Enjoyed myself at the Tancredi talk I gave last night. Many of the questions I was asked afterward weren’t about Rossini, though, but about the Regional Met auditions I helped judged in February. Happy as always to elaborate about these things, but growing more and more convinced that this is the last time I will agree to judge a competition in the same area where I live.
Audition Comments Coda
I watched about an hour of American Idol this week, and I’m struck by the lack of imagination in the panel. For the record, I tend to agree with Randy on almost everything. Paula comes across as dumb as a box of rocks (sorry if that’s crude; please, no hate mail), and although Simon can generally cut through the crap and get to the truth, he needs a wider vocabulary. “Appalling” is a strong word, but if every third performance appalls him, well, something’s wrong.
The last installment of our own audition comment drivel:
- He’s not ready to inhabit something this difficult, but the interesting thing is that it never defeats him, even though he doesn’t own it.
- The voice is just fine for a choral or specific concert application, but this guy is not an operatic animal
- There’s something unfinished about the technique in the midvoice, but it’s a pretty unspoiled, uncomplicated sound
- Windmill arms.
- Delivering this scene nicely; not playing a single approach, allowing some trajectory
- When she pushes it to forte it sort of gathers itself, but it’s still a messy footprint; the middle is shot full of holes
- Not sure if the wide vibrato is due to nerves or if it’s systemic.
- So many people can’t sing well in their own language.
- I think she’d probably respond well to direction; there’s a good amount of energy and clarity, just that she’s not making lots of clear dramatic choices on her own
- Character takes a vacation during coloratura
- Seems comfortable singing the recit, but the Italian is heavily accented.
- The big pashmina scarf is beautiful, but it’s seriously getting in her way. Becoming an aria about whether the scarf will stay put.
- Operating on sheer chutzpah; needs a lot more technical grounding; right now the raw energy and enthusiasm overwhelms everything else.
- A significant voice; she goes for broke pretty often; there’s little that scares me, for even her miscalculations aren’t fatal.
- He is terribly nervous and/or unhappy with his performance. Is he sick?
- Oddly enough, the voice resists speaking; a slight reverse sound envelope; is it a mannerism or a technical limitation?
- Needs to learn how to stand there and deliver; there’s a little too much generic motion; moves forward, then back, hands out front, then gripping the piano; it’s sort of on autopilot; probably keeps him from freezing up.
- She is animated on stage. Needs to develop. Soprano or not, doesn’t matter right now. Time will tell. Needs to improve technique and needs to polish the whole package.
- There’s a viable instrument here, but it’s technically a few years away from being castable
- Mozart is fine if a little more antiseptic than I anticipated, but clarity is a good thing
- Let’s check in again next year