How Beautiful

How Beautiful

I arrived early for my audition, as usual. I was 15 minutes early and waiting for my turn to sing for the panel of directors. I checked in and waited patiently as other singers entered in the audition space.

An all too familiar feeling came back - the butterflies. An exciting burst of energy combined with a slight stomach twinge pulsed throughout my body. It wasn't crippling, but wasn't pleasant. It meant that I was ready to go and sing my heart out.

It was finally my turn and I entered the room confidently, saying "Good afternoon" and communicating with the pianist. They asked me what I wanted to start with and I say, "I would like to star with 'How Beautiful It Is' from the Turn of the Screw by Benjamin Britten."

I performed the aria and then they decided to hear another aria from my list of five. They chose to hear "Adieu, notre petite table" from Manon by Jules Massenet.

After I finished the French aria, they thanked me for my time and I exited the space.

That is essentially what auditions are like for most opera singers. You pick an aria to sing of your choosing and then the panel decides whether or not they want to hear more. If they do, they look at your repertoire sheet and decide from the other arias you offer.

The standard things to bring to your audition include your headshot, resume, repertoire list and music binder. There are special formats for both the resume and repertoire list. You can find good examples at

Every audition is different and some companies/programs will say that you don't need to bring a headshot or repertoire list. Still, it is SMART to always keep those things on hand just in case. In fact, it is a good practice to bring extra of everything to each audition you have.

It's always good to be prepared. If you have extra materials, then you'll be able to provide extra copies of your materials if there is a need. It's always good to be OVER prepared.

That being said, you can't be prepared for everything that may happen during and audition. Sometimes nerves may get the best of you or you may just not feel well. I've done auditions where I leave the room feeling totally dejected about how I performed. Those failures help you learn. It's impossible to nail every audition you have.

Every audition you do is practice for the next. Your failures help you improve upon your skills.

It should also be noted that these auditions only last 20 minutes TOPS. It's true that these auditions can help you achieve your dreams and cause a great impact. On the other hand, if you have a bad audition, please don't beat yourself up about it. It's 20 minutes of your life that has passed. Let it go and embrace the lessons you learned. The next time will be better.

Auditioning is never something performers LIKE to do. However, it is necessary.

Learning how to do well in auditions is a very special skill set. I've auditioned for countless programs, show, etc. and it is still something that I'm working on. I don't think I'll ever get to the point where I don't get those queasy butterflies, but I think that's actually a good thing. You want to feel confident, but being nervous means you care about what you're doing.

-Samantha Noonan


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