Talking about auditions

Audition training by Annett Andriesen


Last week took place one of the audition trainings programmed for this year. In this case was with the well-known mezzo soprano Annett Andriesen, director of the International Vocal Competition ´s-Hertogenbosch. We had the opportunity to talk with her before the training and to ask her some questions. I took some notes and those I am sharing cause they can be really useful.

What do you have to show the most during an audition?
Your strengths as a singer; what kind of singer your are and to which direction you are developing your voice, what singer could you be in five years.

Is it wise to bring opera arias to an audition, which roles you can not sing yet?
Yes, but then you really have to show that you connect with the role, by being that character during the audition. Always prepare for the best, when you come on stage has to be convincing and moving.

Is it wise to bring unknown (unconventional) repertoire to an audition?
Yes, it is. Normally the panel appreciates to listen to new repertoire, and not to the same arias all the time. If it is a good piece, convincing and well performed, it is always a good choice. Do not neglect contemporary repertoire either, it is a good way to get into the market because not many people want or are able to sing it.

Importance of the competitions, other than the prizes
The competitions are a very good opportunity to get agents, conductors and directors to listen to you. It is also important in order to make your network grow, to make contacts, to get coachings and sometimes even courses organised by the educational department of the competition.

What makes a singer special for the panel?
Tiny details; it has to be a moving performance, and that the singer, in just few minutes, can show different features of his/her voice; but of course taste plays an important role as well.

What is the max length of an aria in an audition contest?
Not more than 7-8 min, and if the first one is long, take a short one as a second. An important note: never skip the Recitativo.

 Annett made also some remarks about our performances:

  • Physical movement is always nice to see, but those movements have to have a reason, a direction, and therefore you should avoid symmetrical movements.
  • Clothes: you have to look good, and feel good in it. Shoes and hair need important attention as well.
  • Because you have to show all your talent in two or three arias, you need to have strategy and use for example, as much as possible dynamics in the piece, building up the lines, not treat them as pales.




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