After my first month of auditions, it was hard to figure out what to do. Sending out emails for these opportunities feels like such a backwards action. It's exhausting. You email ten people to hope that you get five responses and one audition. My dad has a really interesting way of putting it. "If you have a dollar for every person that you email, then when you finally receive your opportunity, it's not a big deal because it's only a dollar." Somewhere, that helped me be freer with the emails I sent. I started submitting applications for competitions, shows, and young artist programs (which I'm going to start referring to as YAP). What is very tricky to me is that the pathway to becoming a professional musician is so different for everyone that I couldn't help but try to (instead of ignoring the steps of those before me and around me) incorporate everything. This is exhausting and not what I would suggest. But - I have to say that I have been auditioning pretty steadily and I have made some strides since coming home.
September brought the end of my church auditions, but it also brought the beginning of the YAP auditions. These programs (the YAPs) are extremely prestigious, at least most of them, and VERY hard to get involved in. An interesting article was circulating recently that talked about exactly how ludicrous the admittance numbers for these programs are. Give it a read when you get a chance. It's certainly enlightening. I sent out applications to five YAP(s) and was not offered an audition at any of them. Now, they were programs I had considered a reach and while this was disappointing, it was not all together a surprise. http://kartsconsulting.com/2016/01/08/audition-season-blues/
During the summer season, quite a few companies hold festivals. What's nice about this is that it gives local singers an opportunity to have work during the summer months. In an effort to keep my momentum going, I sent out audition requests to Delaware Opera and the Delaware Valley Opera Company. Luckily I received auditions with both of these companies.
I drove to Delaware after a surprisingly long day. But, let's be honest... The world doesn't care if you're tired -and neither will an audience- so I reigned it in. I went and got my measurements taken (which often happens. It didn't happen when I auditioned for the chorus for Houston Grand but I suppose it's easier to take make costumes based on information you have instead of chasing people down). I sang Quando m'en vo (Puccini) and felt really good about it. Not too long after that, I auditioned for Delaware Valley. I believe I was singing for the Board of Directors during this audition. It was really neat because I walked in to a VERY friendly room. I knew my pianist from my time at Temple University. Ting Ting Wong, a wonderful pianist and accompanist has become a very sought after music director in the city. I could not have been more excited to see her. I sang Comme autrefois (Bizet) and With darkness deep as is my woe (Handel). The outcome of these auditions was pretty great. I made the alternate list for the Opera Delaware summer season and I landed a spot on the Delaware Valley Opera Company (DVOC) roster as a principal artist. With my addition to DVOC, this meant I was now free to audition for their summer festival.
The next audition I took was for the opera chorus of the Baltimore Lyric Opera. I took a train into Baltimore for this audition. Depending on what it's going to cost I always try to go with the cheapest option. Then again, sometimes the train is the way to go! I went and sang for their director. I was so proud of that audition. I literally had the same audition as the soprano who sang before me. There was one glaring exception and it was that she was already singing with them. I sang my entire aria, I sight read foreign languages (so he could hear my diction), and then I sight read a small portion of music. These all went very well. The email I received from the music director said that he really enjoyed my audition and appreciated that I made the trip to Baltimore. He continued on to say that he currently had no positions available for Soprano.
Frustrating. That's a word I can use to describe that situation. I was so proud of myself. I had done so well and it wasn't good enough. The director liked me and it wasn't good enough. What I started to realize, and what I have thought about since then, is that things happen when you are ready. I realized that I ham auditioning against people who have been doing this (singing) for as long as I've been alive. I'm not in the "safe" space of academia anymore.
This is that weird gray area that I have heard so much about. The time where it's sink or swim but sinking and swimming is not defined by normal terms of success.
Just because I haven't become employed doesn't mean I'm unsuccessful. I have learned more about myself in the past four months than I did in the four months before. I'm capable of drumming up opportunity and business. This is not a path for the meek and I am proving to myself that I am able to march on.
Until next time!