Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Opera Auditions and Ensuing Callbacks

It's hard to make time for singing when you have overtime two weeks in a row.  This week and the last have been opera auditions at the University of South Carolina.  Although I've been working 9-12 hour days, I've had to cram in singing on days off where I really just want to sleep.  Life could be worse, I guess.

These auditions have been different from any others that I've participated in.  Because this is a new school and territory, I don't know anyone, save the opera director which I had met once before.  This is daunting, yet awesome.  I can walk in, sing my arias, and no one knows who I am or where I came from.  All the other sopranos lean in at the door to listen to this new character.  I'm like the dark horse.  It actually does wonders for the confidence level because I can't compare myself to anyone.

What is even more wonderful about these auditions is that I was called back!  For those non-opera peoples out there, it means they are considering me for a role, not just ensemble.

My first audition aria was "Elle la fui, la tourterelle" from Les Contes d'Hoffmann by Jacques Offenbach.  Such a great opera!  It probably has several tunes that anyone would recognize, not having seen the opera.  The plot goes a little something like this:  Hoffmann is drinking in a tavern and gets persuaded to tell the stories of his three great loves, by his nemesis, Lindorf.  Olympia is the first he falls in love with, who turns out to be an automaton, or mechanical doll.  She has a fabulous coloratura aria in which she runs out of steam twice and has to be re-cranked.  Fabulous.  The next act Antonia, who is a dying character, awaits Hoffmann's return.  She suffers from a mysterious illness in which singing brings death.  "Elle la fui" is her aria where she laments the fleeting love of Hoffmann until he returns.  She is tricked into singing to death by the act's nemesis.  The third act is Giulietta, who is a courtesan that Hoffmann falls in love with.  However, he discovers her singing the lover's "Barcarolle" with his friend, Nicklausse.  It turns out that each of these women are all facets of his actual love, Stella, who has been waiting for him while he has been drinking.  She leaves with his nemesis, Lindorf.

For a video of the aria, watch here.

My second aria was "Kommt ein schlanker bursch gegangen" from Weber's Der Freischutz.  It is a rather under-done opera these days but is wonderfully fun.  For a full synopsis, go here.  This aria is Ännchen's, who is trying to cheer up her cousin.  It is sprightly, full of coloratura, trills, and a high B natural- what more is there?

For a wonderful video of it, go here.

We shall see what comes of all of this.

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