As if auditions weren’t stressful enough…

Today is as good a day as any for this blog to go back to it’s roots, chronicling the crazy life of a soprano with a healthy dose of audition-induced neurosis. Last night I had an audition after a few weeks off. You’d be amazed at how easy it is to “forget how to sing”. Auditions and performances tend to come in waves, and the first time back out in front of folks after some dead time can be disconcerting.

I got to the warm-up room with plenty of time yesterday, and realized after a few minutes of vocalising that it just wasn’t going to be my day. I was phonating, my range was fine, but it wasn’t easy and I wasn’t thrilled with the tone. Most singers will agree that the most interesting part of those ‘off’ days is the second guessing and blame: if I were on a different medication, if the open windows at work hadn’t let the pollen in, if I’d slept better, if I hadn’t had salsa six weeks ago…

Some famous singer whose identity currently eludes me once said that her voice was ‘right’ about twice a month, and those days were always days she had no performances. With that in mind I sucked it up and went off to my audition.

The great thing about auditioning a lot is that after a while your rep is so ingrained that you could sing it under any circumstances. If I were suspended upside-down underwater and I heard the opening rolled chords of “Chi il bel sogno” I could probably sing the whole thing and still float the high notes. Last night, though, I dealt with a new obstacle: my contact lens almost fell out.

There is plenty of blame to go around on that front, and it all lands at my feet, because I don’t replace my disposable contacts enough. I’m completely exposed, standing in a dress in the middle of a big empty room with only two other people, and I’m trying not to blink ferociously in the middle of my aria. At one point I really thought the thing was coming out and I completely stopped counting. The pianist waited, I went on, and a few dramatic eye-closes later the issue was resolved.

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