Thursday, December 10, 2009

Searching for 10/11 Young Artists

At the end of this week, Young Artists Program staff members will have heard 184 singers (narrowed down from 600 applicants) hoping to gain a spot in the 2010/11 program. Today is day 2 in New York City; last week they held auditions in both Cincinnati and Seattle.

At the in-person auditions, the panel is looking for singers with the best voices, musicality, characterizations, diction, and so on. "Basically, we're looking for the whole package," Young Artists Program Manager Aren der Harcopian said. Though he admits that, being in the business of opera, sometimes the vocal quality can outweigh other factors—such as poor diction—which can be fixed through training. Because overall, he notes, this is a training program for young singers.

"It's a big puzzle," he said. "We need the singers for three shows [the fall tour, the winter children's opera, and the mainstage spring production], and the selected singers need to sing large roles in each." The 10/11 class will be announced in August.

Our current Young Artists return in January with the Opera Goes to School program, where they’ll work with local grade-schoolers to produce a children's opera, Siegfried and the Ring of Fire. And they’ll begin rehearsals for their spring production of Ariadne auf Naxos, which they present at Bellevue’s Meydenbauer Center in April.

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