Monday, April 20, 2009

The Audition, or My First Experience With the Met: Live in HD

As the title of this post relates, Sunday, April 19, 2009, was my first experience with the Met's Live in HD series when I watched the documentary The Audition. Other than feeling sick during much of the film, I liked the movie. Alek Shrader, who is featured in the May issue of Opera News, totally astonished me with his rendition of Ah, mes amis. To think that he almost did not sing it for his audition scares me. It puts more fear into me that he is that good a singer and that young. The late Ryan Smith impressed and motivated me with his audition because he had little formal training before then; it was almost as if I could see myself in his place immediately. Iwas pleasantly surprised at Marco Armiliato's attitude with all of these young professionals. I was expecting a conductor to be rather harsh, but he was there entirely for the singer as if they were the grandest diva or star in the world. If I ever become an opera singer, I would really like to work with him as much as I could. I would not be surprised if he did prove instrumental in securing Michael Fabiano's debut at La Scala. I learned something about this "cut-throat" world of opera, also. I was amazed at how cordial every member of the staff was to each of the contestants; they actually wanted them to succeed. The panel discussion with Renee Fleming, Susan Graham, and Thomas Hampson dispelled some further myths about auditioning. The greatest one is probably that pesky nagging that you cannot make a mistake, and that the judges are predisposed to dislike you. They, especially Thomas Hampson, advise us to go into an audition showing the judges what we have to offer. We should go in there to sing what we know we can sing and to do it as well as we can, and if they do not accept us, we must go on and try again; we must not try to fit ourselves into a box we think is what the jurors wish to see and hear; rather, we should simply show them what we have to offer as if we were street merchants selling our wares. If the judges like someone else's items better, they will choose them instead of us. It is that simple. All we must do is remember that.

If anyone is palnning a trip to Europe this summer, the festival line-up looks appealing in many places. Salzburg, as is customary for them, offers an impressive mix of singers for its recitals this year with Rolando Villazon, Anna Netrebko, Patricia Pettibon, Magdalena Kozena, Thomas Quasthoff, Matthias Goerne, Jonas Kaufmann, and Juan Diego Florez. Their operatic offerings are Handel's Theodora, Haydn's Armida, and Mozart's Cosi fan Tutte and Le Nozze di Figaro. Another of Austria's festivals, the Schubertiade, promises to be an excellent recital venue as well with the notable mentions of Andreas Scholl, Kate Royal, Quasthoff, Ian Bostridge, Anne Sofie von Otter, and an ensemble recital with Bostridge, Quasthoff, Dorothea Roschmann, and Angelika Kirchschlager on September 5th. Austria would definitely be on my travel list for Europe this summer, but there are music festivals in many countries of Europe if not in every one, and most of the others about which I know offer excellent performances, also.

The region explored in this year's edition of Opera News' annual travel issue is Scandanavia. I had no idea that this region of the world had given us so many of the legendary singers or that it had such a rich operatic tradition and heritage. I usually associate Vikings with this almost arctic locale, and it is difficult for me to relate Vikings and opera to each other.

Oh, yes! Am I the only one disappointed with the new online Met Opera Shop? The old one had so many more items to offer! The new one is a branch of the Met's website, and it features only a few CD's, DVD's, and some products that are inspired by the Met. While I am on the topic, I might as well say that I also despair that the Met does not release more of their Live in HD presentations onto DVD. I especially want to see their Opening Night Gala put on disc!

Finally, I heard Irene Theorin in Wagner's Seigfried on Saturday and I left the broadcast thinking of how I wished I could have heard her throughout the cycle instead of for the limited time one does in the third part of Wagner's epic Ring cycle. Wagner's music did take me to that fairy-tale world that is created with the Norse mythology, but it did not accomplish this so well as Dvorak's Rusalka did for me earlier this season. From what I heard, we have nothing to worry about Theorin's voice deteriorating; she is excellent.

Thank you all for reading.


Sarah Johnson said...

Tyler, how do you get music to play when your blog opens?

Tyler said...


There are a few ways you can get music to play on your blog (or your Facebook, MySpace, or other social networking site if you have one). I use the Project Playlist player and library (, but there is another library that is newer but not quite so complete as the former, and it is called iLike ( The link to which I have directed you for iLike does not automatically play music on your blog page, but each individual song is embedded into your page, and you do not need a profile to get music, which is something you must do with Project Playlist.

I employ Project Playlist for my own preferences, so I shall tell you how to command it. When you arrive at the website using the link I have supplied, it will be necessary for you to create a profile to afford you the opportunity of having a player for your blogs, and you can do that by clicking on the "Sign Up" links on the homepage; if you do not do this, I am not sure that you can embed your player into your blog.

Once you have supplied all of the necessary variables for the profile identity, you can then start to build a playlist of music by typing a query into their search-box and examining the results for your desired specimen. A caveat is here required: I would advise you to listen to the track fully befroe adding it to your playlist since they can be of poor quality or shorter than the original version. Each of your playlists will hold a maximum of ninety-nine songs. When you have completed your search and finished building your playlist, click the link at the bottom of your plyer that says "Get Playlist Code." This will direct you to another page that solicits you to click on the type of site on which you desire to display your playlist and click the link for the code you need, which is currently section E. Once you have specified the playlist for which you require the code, there will be some drop-down-panel questions; you are concerned with the one labeled "Autostart?" Select the "Yes" option so that the music will start when the blog page is opened.

Finally, click the button "Get Code" and open your blog's Layout page in a new window. Click on the "Add a Gadget" widget box, and choose the type of widget you wish to add; this is classified as an HTML/Javascript widget, so that is the denomination you shall choose. Copy the code that Project Playlist has provided for you into the content section of the window and click "Save." That should be all you have to do to get it. If you have any questions you can ask me for further information, and I shall answer whatever of those inquiries I can with my limited knowledge of technology.


Karen said...

Tyler, We are holding auditions for our 7th upcoming Italian opera world premiere and I was wondering if you would post the announcement. Below is the link where all information is listed.
All Best,
International Opera Theater
opera that moves