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Subject: Question . . .
From: Dennis Ryan <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Sun, 7 Aug 2016 00:19:45 -0400

text/plain (44 lines)

Hi, Y'all! 
    I am NOT a singer, and have never attended a  singer's audition of any 
kind.  So I have often wondered about what  standard operating procedure 
actually is when a singer auditions 1)  for possible employment with an opera 
house and 2) for "contests,"  such as the Metropolitan Opera Auditions at any 
    I assume that the house or the competition may well  require the 
auditioner to perform certain selections or certain types of  selections, but that 
the singer will also be given a wide range of choice for at  least some of 
his work.  If a tenor wants to sing "Ah, si ben mio,"  say, for events like 
these, is he allowed to sing "Di quella pira" as  well?  If a soprano wants 
to sing "Ah, fors' e lui," is she allowed to sing  "Sempre libera" too?  If 
the tendency is for houses and/or judges to  consider a four-movement scena 
as ONE entity, exactly how much material in  the tempo di mezzo (between the 
cavatina and the cabaletta) can be  "overlooked"?   Would the same courtesy 
be extended to a tenor who  chooses to sing "Parmi veder le lagrime," so as 
to allow him to sing "Possente  amor" as well (since THAT tempo di mezzo 
runs for quite a stretch)?  
    A second question:  Suppose that a tenor, for  example, wanted to sing 
'A, te, o cara" from Bellini's 'I Puritani" at an  audition, to show off his 
breath control and legato, perhaps.  Both staves  of this aria eventually 
become "mini concertati," a thing that an  auditioning soloist cannot 
perform.  How much  "tinkering"/elipsis/imagination is permitted in the 
auditioner's handling  of such situations?  
    If there are no "absolute rules" for these things  (which is my secret 
suspicion,) can listers give me an idea  of specific practices that have 
become standard at various houses or  in various competitions?    
    Dennis Ryan

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