A common mistake is that in the excitement of being accepted to audition, singers often forget to read the actual requirements of the institution or company they’re auditioning for. Apart from the logistics, which are obviously critical, such as the correct date, time, venue, accompanist provided or not, following are some other important factors to consider.
Every Conservatoire has different requirements so please double check the relevant website to ensure you know exactly what they are.
❖ For Undergraduate auditions you generally will be required to sing three contrasting pieces of your own choice (one in English, if not mother tongue.) and to prepare a short piece of prose. You will also probably be given a short piece of sight reading. If you get through to later rounds, you may also be invited to participate in a movement workshop.
❖ Postgraduate requirements can be anything from three to six pieces from specific categories, in 3 different languages. Second rounds have slightly different requirements, so again check to make sure what they are. Similarly for opera courses, check to see how many pieces you need to prepare, and in what languages. Find out if there are any set pieces for particular voice types. If you’re doing a joint application, are the requirements the same?
Opera Companies generally will expect three contrasting arias, again check for specifics, such as period, style, language, original or in translation. A general audition will be different from singing for a role, in which case you’ll most likely be asked to sing something specific from that role. Find out which operas are in the company’s current repertoire.
At the audition you’ll often be allowed to chose your first piece. In this case, perform the piece you’re most comfortable with and that you feel best showcases you.
The panel will then often choose to hear another aria/song from your list of proposed pieces. Bear in mind when choosing pieces that you have to be able to sing anything that you’re offering!
All pieces for any audition should be performed from memory.
In order to present yourself at your best in an audition, PREPARATION IS EVERYTHING, so don’t forget to double check all requirements as part of your preparation.