Musical Milliner

April 19, 2010

Pausa: Two Stories. Part I.

Filed under: Language,Life in Music,Musical Life,Opera,Singer,Soprano — by Musical Milliner @ 4:03 pm

I was reading another singer’s blog this morning wherein she describes a common audition hazard. What does one do when the accompanist does not or will not take the standard range tempo for an aria?  Too slow, your phrasing is ruined. Too fast, and you hyperventilate or vocally trip over all those even faster runs.

In her account, she tells of an inexperienced accompanist in a German Operhaus who just couldn’t move it. Granted, it was Strauss, and any piano reduction of anything by Strauss requires more than normal human powers to play. It’s enough to bring up a little religion, you know?

In Part II we will chat further about Strauss.

So…I know the feeling. I have had the opposite happen. One time the accompanist seemed to want to kill me via Violetta prematurely.

It was at Chicago Lyric. I was asked to take it from the cabaletta, the place where the girls are separated from the women. This guy played it so fast that I was momentarily stunned. In those first few measures, you have to assess, “Will I manage, or must I stop him?” I mean, this was the Lyric!  The Lyric.

They had flown me in for this audition, paid for my hotel. So I did stop him with all the graciousness I could, just as my coach had drilled into me.

He was nice, and seemed to understand my request. And then he took off again just as he had the first time.  Actually, I remember it being faster.

I did it.  Nailed it. I was being tested. “Can she handle the pressure? Can she think on her feet and make it work?” Well, yeah. I can. I do. Take that, you sick bastard.

It wasn’t until I left the room that I let myself feel pissed. This guy had intentionally fucked with me, and he had lost the duel.

How we deal with these situations is part of the package, and it has to be  practiced, just like everything else we do.

(c)GoshGusMusic (ascap) 2010


  1. Razor blades on the elbows…I think they call it….
    never could keep mine out, nor were they sharp enough…too much work!

    Comment by Silly — April 19, 2010 @ 4:53 pm

  2. That accompanist isn’t the only sick one. I like the challenge.

    Comment by Musical Milliner — April 19, 2010 @ 5:04 pm

  3. Funny, in the odd-funny sense, how there are people out there who would love to see us fall. I’ve seen the same thing in kitchen auditions where the cooks around let you get so far out there that you can’t help but look bad.

    Comment by junglechef — April 19, 2010 @ 7:06 pm

  4. Is it because they really do need to see how you handle all the multi-tasking, or are they just assholes? It’s a bit of both, maybe. Bunch of masochists. But we love what we do, and by now expect this behavior. Experience is on our side.

    Comment by Musical Milliner — April 19, 2010 @ 7:13 pm

  5. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Christine Jarc. Christine Jarc said: AuditionHazards ~ […]

    Pingback by Tweets that mention Pausa: Two Stories. Part I. « musical milliner -- — April 20, 2010 @ 6:34 pm

  6. you’re good at your job.i’ve never seen another soprano kick ass with such a sweet smile before I met you. Get it. “met” you? More stories!

    Comment by Rocky — May 2, 2010 @ 8:32 am

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