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Monday, November 14, 2011

My first German Opera House CHORUS Audition

I recently auditioned for a medium-sized Opera house here in Germany for a position in the chorus (simply because I thought- well, at least then during my search for some professional solo work, I could have some money, and perhaps also an introduction to important people in the Opera house, e.g. the Stage Director, Conductor, etc...).  Contrary to my perceptions about chorus auditions, it seemed like the theater had made many preparations and considered this audition just as important as any solo auditions would be (as they organized everything really effectively and kept strict tabs on whether or not everyone was able to meet with the pianist to rehearse and also had private time to warm-up).  Therefore, I felt confident that I would be chosen (to put it honestly) because I figured, well if you're working on a solo career, then you'd certainly be good enough for the opera chorus (don't hate me Opera chorus members!) just by sheer technical skill and experience.

I arrived at the theater 40 minutes early, warmed up adequately, worked with the pianist who was very nice and very good, and waited around for another 30 minutes.  Then, finally, the auditions began, and although I requested to go first, there was still someone who had requested it before me (drat!) so she was slated to sing first.  However, (hallelujah!) by a stroke of luck, she had never showed up.  So, it turns out that I did get to sing first of all anyway.

I walked onto the stage and the jury members (5 to 6 people who I didn't recognize at all, but who ever does- so far away?) were sitting in the audience ready for me to sing.  I gave the pianist the music and said I'd like to begin with "Der Hoelle Rache" from Mozart's Die Zauberfloete.  They seemed pleased with this selection and indicated for me to begin at my leisure.  I sang a really strong audition- made absolutely no mistakes and sang even better than I had sung before (ha! the irony!) and then once I was finished hoped to be asked for a second piece.  The judges apparently had heard all they needed to hear, they said thank you very much and that was it.  I was done! A successful audition- and a quick one too- the whole audition time took as long as that aria (4 minutes approximately) and then I was out the door and catching my train to the airport (a separate story) and it was all over with.  All the rest of that day I felt really wonderful about my singing and that I had done so well in a circumstance which could lead me to making some steady money. 

It was only two days later when I found out through an email from the Chorus Master that I was not chosen.  I thought to myself, "But, how can that be? I really, honestly did a superb job, and I mean, they should have picked me! At least they'd have had good high notes!" However, it was the following day when a colleague said to me about the situation, "Well, I really don't think that you have a 'chorus voice' and they were probably just looking for someone who blended in more to the sound of the ensemble than you could have" which shed some light on the situation for me.  I mean, what was I thinking auditioning for a chorus position which was only at a medium-sized house? Of course that person was correct in saying that--if anything, if I will ever be eligible for a chorus position, I'd have to certainly do it in a big opera house, so that at least I wouldn't be sticking out in the mix of voices.  Yes, that is absolutely the case.

However, at the time it still felt terrible to not have gotten chosen for something which I deemed as a 'sure success', so.....yeah. Just another reminder to me to not count my chickens before they hatch in this biz!

Note: I haven't mentioned the theater on purpose, just in case they'd say it was illegal or something along those lines.  So, sorry about that but..better safe than sorry in this case.


  1. May I ask... Where are you singing right now?

    1. At the moment I'm singing nowhere permanently- such is the freelance singer's lot. I've got some potential engagments in the works for next year (concerts), and I'm applying like mad for everything that does seem to be appropriate. Why, do you have an idea of someone who could hire me? ;) If so, tell me more!! And, hope you're enjoying the blog and thanks for your comment! :)

      To update this particular post- the audition that I wrote about here was the first, and also last chorus audition that I have had in Germany, because for more times than I can count, I have sent in applications for chorus positions (in the professional choirs- BR, WRD, SR) and they've never invited me to audition. To which I was informed by a conductor and coach friend that I most likely never will be invited because my voice is too specific fach-wise (normally they're looking for lyric sopranos, apparently) and it's too unique sounding (so, it was a bad idea I guess to send an audio CD with sample tracks on it, lol) so it won't blend the way they'd need/like it to. So, that is the end of chorus jobs for me- it will be solely solo jobs from here on out! :)