Last day of auditions, y'all
Today we're hearing the last batch of singers/coaches/directors who've applied for our summer season. As I am always nostalgic before the event is completed (don't judge!), here are some random notes in reflection.
- Lots of folks who sing for us obviously listen to several recordings of their arias to get the "gist" of them. But I think many skimp on both the translating [literal and paraphrasing] and the dramatic arc of the scene. They may sing a note-perfect, stylistically appropriate version of the aria, but can't telegraph why the pauses are there, or what the motivation is, or what the context of the song is in the scene. Start by defining the aria: what has happened right before your character sings? Why is he/she singing? What does your character want to happen as a result of singing the aria? Then look at the aria itself: when does your character's emotion or intention change? Mark those beats, and then give yourself a verb to illustrate the tactic/intention you've picked. Actions will always read better than feelings on stage...
- The ladies who auditioned for the Studio program were the winners of the audition-wear contest. (You didn't even know that there was a contest, did you?!) The percentage of undergrad singers who dressed appropriately and elegantly was for some reason higher than that of the "adult" auditioners. (A special brava shout-out to CM - gorgeous!) I cannot stress the need for foundation garments strongly enough... we saw 6-packs in the wrong places, had a few near-Janet-Jackson moments, and were fascinated by the shadows of belly buttons under pretty dresses. And really ladies, please realize the risks of jersey and satin dresses - they are not your friends in the audition room, no matter how pretty they make you feel at a cocktail party. If you take one thing away from this blog, let it be the joy of heavier-weight fabrics for auditioning. And foundation garments. Please.
- Auditioning is so difficult...traveling to a strange place to sing in a room that's new to you for people you don't know but would like to work with. I think singers forget how much the folks behind the table are pulling for you. We know you're nervous, we understand the difficult nature of this weird quasi-interview process. But we really do want you to come in and kick butt, to knock our socks off! And we know you can. Let yourself.
- Ask for feedback. All of the typing we're doing while you sing? It's notes on your performance. We probably don't know you, have no idea of the path you've taken to get where you are...it's a great chance to get to know your voice through someone else's ears. And, since we save our notes from year-to-year, if you've sung for us before we notice your progress. We had a studio auditionee come back this fall who took all of our advice from the previous year's audition and implemented it for this year. The difference was huge, and duly and happily noted.
The most difficult part of the last few days has been actually being home... when we're on the road, we settle into a schedule that services both the travel issues and the project at hand, and is uber-focused with little distraction. But being back "in the office" means having to deal with paperwork, upcoming deadlines, and all of the Holiday events (Oh, yeah and having to take care of my own house instead of eating in restaurants and having people make my bed for me in the middle of the day...total bummer.) on top of trying to distill all of the information we've been collecting in our heads for next summer. It's making my head spin a little... it's harder to do work at home, harder to focus, and I'm a little more irritable. I'm sure it will pass, right? I have to say that, on this tour I've had great fun - I think I've belly-laughed more over the last few weeks than I have since the summer! And my boss and EM and JW are really so easy to travel with - it's been a real joy. Again, I am totally spoiled by my job.
So, on today's to-do list:
- Go in to the office early and knock out some paperwork prior to auditions.
- Hit the grocery store after work for Thanksgiving fixins.
- Hit the pet store to pick up puppy food and supplies.
- Puppy-proof the downstairs of the house.
- Terribly creative bed head. Today was a good one...
- Good friends.