I always loathed auditioning and found it painful to watch the San Antonio regionals for the Metropolitan Opera auditions which were shown between Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi on Saturday. I'm not sure why we wanted to see this. They only showed fragments of arias from both the first and second rounds of the auditions, with brief clips of the judges conferring.
To enter auditions normally requires only a specific age range (at the Met this is 20 to 30) and a list of about half a dozen arias. A stranger will play your accompaniment.
Singing out of tune will get you canned. That is the same here as it is on American Idol. Learn to sing in tune. This fault eliminated over half the contestants.
After that it's all VOICE, VOICE, VOICE. You pick what you will sing first, so be sure it really shows off your voice. Don't pick something just because you like to sing it. A tenor has to have high notes. Don't even think about cruising through on arias with no high notes. They'll just assume you don't have any.
They picked the person with the best voice and technique, a baritone named Ryan something, who didn't come close to winning the finals. I was more interested in the only black singer, whose name I cannot remember, because she was the only one there who did anything with the music. I found her phrasing fascinating and wished I could have heard a lot more of her. They said she let her voice spread when she sang forte, something she could work on.
Which brings us to the best thing about these auditions. I never remember ever getting any feedback from any audition I did. Sometimes you could overhear them talking about you, but they never told you anything. They might tell you never to come back, but they never told you why. At these auditions, everyone got a feedback session. I thought this was incredible, very helpful and respectful.
1 hour ago