Vienna, Virginia

Auditions yesterday at The Barns. Nice to be on home turf. The warm and inviting acoustics of our home theatre are both a boon and a challenge.

Each audition city seems to have its own personality, and it seems to require a different set of ears to get what we need from each site.

  • We hear much more “raw” talent in these DC-area auditions. Many of these singers have great potential but are still foundering with technique and mastery of style.
  • Up-and-comers – Philadelphia (Curtis Institute and Academy of Vocal Arts, primarily) and Cincinnati (University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Indiana University, Northwestern University, University of Illinois, University of Missouri – Kansas City, and others) are largely populated with very promising singers who are just a few steps earlier in their training.
  • YAP’s – Relative beginners also show up in Houston (Rice University, University of Houston, University of North Texas) and our west coast locations, but there they are joined by advanced singers who have found a place in the Houston Grand Opera Studio and the Seattle Opera Young Artist Program. (San Francisco Opera also has a terrific YAP, but it’s a year-round commitment. Los Angeles Opera’s YAP is an up-and-comer.)
  • Young Professionals – In contrast, New York offers up a higher percentage of seasoned young singers – folks who have may have already finished advanced degrees and are enjoying the opportunity to work with some of our business’ best teachers and coaches.
  • Mixed Bag –Chicago always offers a little of everything – some Midwest university students, some singers from the Lyric Opera Center, and anyone else for whom it’s convenient to use O’Hare as a hub.

Opera on DVD

I don’t usually watch opera on DVD. I wish I did enjoy it, but I find it only minimally satisfying. I am not, however, above using Netflix to help with repertoire research. The first three I surfed brought a smile to my face – not because they were enjoyable (they varied widely on this count), but because they featured old Wolf Trap friends: Paul Austin Kelly in La fille du regiment, David Kuebler in La gazza ladra, and Charlotte Hellekant in Owen Wingrave.

“A Few Bumps”

That’s what the flight attendants say when you’re going to spend the next 20 minutes trying to keep your lunch down. Lovely weather moving across the eastern half of the country had air traffic in a tizzy tonight. Felt like riding an old wooden roller coaster. (Remember those?) In between bumps, we sampled two more DVD’s – an uneven Italian production of L’equivoco stravagante and the beautiful Glyndebourne production of Le comte Ory.

The Shuffle

  • Finale from Don Giovanni – “Questo è il fin di chi fa mal” (That’s how evil men meet their end!)
  • Jack Johnson’s “Brushfire Fairytales” – lots of Jack on the iPod thanks to my acoustic-guitar-wielding son.
  • Shostakovich’s Chamber Symphony. Didn’t understand Shostakovich a whit when I was trying to play the piano trios about ten years ago. Now I’m fascinated by him. Happy 100th birthday, Dmitri!
  • Overture to Orpheus in the Underworld. Wacky piece. Wish we could produce it, but our venue is too small.
  • Barbara Cook singing “Time Heals Everything.” Indeed.

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