by guest blogger Peter Mark —
Opera conductor, coach, master class teacher;
Artistic Director Emeritus, Virginia Opera
The biggest question that resonates widely among emerging and well-prepared singers all over the country is — “Why do some singers get hired, instead of others – who often possess better voices and preparation?” This has got to be the biggest frustration for all those singers who have spent their time, energy, and money getting ready for singing roles on stage professionally, but who can’t seem to get past their auditions and land that vital stepping stone credit for their resumes – a decent role with a decent company.
On top of all the voice lessons, language and diction coaches, character and dramatic analysis and guidance which singers need and seek in preparing for their auditions, I find that there are two essential areas that are crucial to getting hired, but often get overlooked. The first is how to channel the segmented and diverse preparation into an integrated audition that fully demonstrates the singer’s ability to project both their voice and their performing persona with enough emotion to reach and engage audience in the back rows of an opera theater. The second is how to develop a working relationship with a conductor, which is the both the key to getting hired, since most auditions are judged by music staff, and the key to good performances once hired. It is, after all, the conductor who has the experience and responsibility of developing, guiding, and insuring that your vocal delivery is freely ringing, enabling it to carry “over” the orchestra, that it is true to the score with all of the composer’s instrumental colors and refinements, and that it is projected enough in its larger emotional performing persona to reach every audience member in a large theater – not just in a smaller audition space. It is this last criteria which really makes the difference — to every singer’s career. And it is the crucial one (!!) that is often not addressed.
The “From The Conductor’s Perspective” opera masterclasses allow me to share my broad range of experience with singers who are passionate about this most complex and unique art form. As the conductor draws together the wealth of skills and knowledge from individual orchestra members and singers to present a cohesive, moving opera performance, I help guide singers to integrate all of the disparate skills they have acquired. This improves the power and the impact of their delivery, gaining them greater success for upcoming auditions and appearances.
The next offering of Peter’s masterclass is scheduled for September 15 in Beverly Hills. For more information, click here.