Friday, March 23, 2012

The Graduate Audition Experience...

Finally my goals for this blog being accomplished! I had intended to use this blog to discuss my audition experiences as I applied for graduate programs. Now I finally have time to write about it, thanks to a nasty sinus infection keeping me couch-bound all day.

I have had incredible luck (and mind you, I don't think it's all luck... there WAS hard work involved) with my grad school auditions! I applied to San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Manhattan School of Music, the Boston Conservatory, Westminster Choir College, and Notre Dame de Namur Univerity. The only school I have yet to hear from is Manhattan.

My first audition was in January for Westminster Choir College. I went to San Francisco and auditioned at a professional recording studio over Skype. It was a very different experience, seeing my panel on a computer screen, but it worked very well! I sang "Chi il bel sogno" from La Rondine and "Der Hölle Rache" from Die Zauberflöte. They were so enthralled by my Queen of the Night that they asked me to stay and audition for their summer CoOPERAtive program. I did audition and get in, however, I passed on the opportunity, as I will need to save money for tuition, moving costs, and other expenses as I begin my graduate studies. (There will be more opportunities with them). After visiting Westminster in New Jersey and having a lesson with Sharon Sweet, I felt like this school would be incredibly helpful for my singing career and offer plenty of opportunities to perform outside of school in either New York or Philadelphia. The school offered me a large merit scholarship to attend. :)

My second audition was at the Notre Dame de Namur campus, for their MFA program in Musical Performance. It was a hybrid degree program incorporating both Musical Theatre and Operatic elements for singers. I think the program would be great for those inclined to do both, however I don't necessarily feel suited to the Musical Theatre genre (Though I love it very much, there is not a lot of repertoire for us light sopranos). I was accepted into this program within a couple of days. Later that week I was able to sit in on their performance practicum class, run by the head of the department, Debra Lambert. They have a wonderfully supportive and friendly group of students on this quaint little campus. They were preparing to open their musical, Light in the Piazza the following month (and seeing it was delightful, though they worked on a meager budget, it was a lovely production with excellent singing). For those students interested in pursuing a performance degree or certificate, but still seeking a friendly community, I highly recommend this program. The students are offered plenty of opportunity to perform and there is none of the vicious competition you see at some other music and theater schools.

My third audition was at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. This facility is lovely and one I have had the privilege of singing in several times with the Chamber Singers at San Francisco State. The program is quite vigorous and they claim to perform up to 8 operas per year (though many are workshop style or abridged, I understand). There are 90 students allowed into the program and they were only accepting 20 females and 10 males this year. I was accepted into Daniel Mobbs' studio - a Bass-Baritone currently based in Philadelphia & NYC. I began my audition with "Chi il bel sogno" and they asked to hear "Zueignung". I felt that the selections they chose didn't give me much advantage, as they were both extremely lyric in their quality. Because I can't have a lesson with the teacher they assigned me to (while I'm sure he is great, and based on his emails seems wonderfully pleasant), I don't feel comfortable accepting this offer. I have not received any scholarship information from the school as of yet.

I will continue with my audition tour experience in another entry.

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