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Posted by on Apr 24, 2012 in Articles | 9 comments

Baltimore Concert Opera: “De-Mystifying the Opera Audition”

by Melissa Wimbish

Baltimore Concert Opera presents: So You Think You Can Sing Opera?

The Baltimore Concert Opera holds its principal auditions in front of a live audience every year. So whatcha think about that? Too much like being on NBC’s “The Voice”, or is it actually a brilliant step towards creating a non-threatening audition situation while creating a buzz for the upcoming season, AAAAAnnnd considering what the audience looks/listens for in a singer? I think this could make for a really fascinating discussion. Please share your thoughts about this audition format in the comments section!

This year’s auditions take place on Monday, April 30th, and Tuesday, May 1st from 7:30-10:30pm at The Engineers Club in Mount Vernon, Baltimore. Here’s some more information from Baltimore Concert Opera:

“We find that having an audience present for our auditions really enhances the experience for the singers as well as for the audition panel.  We offer our audience a “behind the scenes” look into running an opera company, and we have a whole lot of fun along the way.  Audience reaction could actually play a role in casting future seasons!  Singers…this is way more fun than singing in a tiny room in New York City to two opera admins and a file cabinet…What a great way to peek inside the process of auditions from both the singer’s and company’s perspective!  Here is a chance for an aspiring singer to watch, and de-mystify the audition process.”

Please join us on Monday April 30th, and/or Tuesday, May 1st from 7:30-10:30pm at The Engineers Club in Mount Vernon. Tickets are just $10, available online at , by calling 443.445.0226, or at the door if still available.

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  1. I enjoyed immensely the Baltimore Concert Opera audition I had a few years ago. It didn’t feel like an audition, more like a guest appearance at a gala concert. I sang one of my best arias. Having an audience react immediately, instead of just a “thank you” from those conducting the audition, was thrilling beyond belief. The immediate love and appreciation the audience showed gave the BCO staff license to have me sing another aria. I find most auditions cold and therefore daunting. This experience is strikingly better, warm, welcoming. It is not an audition, rather, it is a performance. Don’t believe me? You can see how much I enjoyed myself. Baltimore Concert Opera put both of my “audition” arias on You Tube. Check them out and feel and understand how the BCO way beats any other way to audition!

  2. Kevin,

    Thanks for the love! Glad you enjoyed the experience, and we were thrilled to have you back with us for Cav/Pag. Just a quick note for folks though: we’re not in the habit of putting all auditions up on youtube…just the great ones, with the artist’s permission of course!

  3. I LOVED having an audience for the audition. With them there, its no longer an audition- its a performance. I mean, thats one of the reasons we all do this anyway, right? We don’t love auditioning (I surely don’t AT ALL) but we love to perform.

    The audience is so happy to watch this Russian roulette unfold in front of them. They hurl their positive energy at you and you can’t help but soak it all up. You can feel that they want you to do well.

    Go out there and have some fun!

  4. I second Kevin’s comments. It’s wonderful to have an enthusiastic, supportive audience as well as the panel. Plus, I had a chance to be an audience member and hear a ton of singers that I’d never heard before. It turned out to be a truly lovely and fruitful evening. And if you have a chance to work with them, DO! They are a class act organization through and through. A delightful and positive experience from start to finish.

    Just one woman’s opinion…

  5. I participated in the BCO auditions two years in a row. I wish every audition was as fun, exciting, and supportive as these auditions. Can’t say enough great things about this process!

  6. Without question, this is the best way to audition. It makes it a performance and not an audition! Auditions are the worst part of being a singer. Who does it well? Who even listens well to an audition? I know lots of people I’ve sung for seem to be doing everything but listening…god forbid watching!
    It’s so much easier to just perform for an audience than to create a performance for someone who is not trying to be with you in the moment like an audience does. There’s no getting around the fact that energy in performance is a two way street.
    Aside from all this cerebral stuff, it’s just a great vibe they have going there at BCO. The engineer’s club is cozy and welcoming and it’s an actual stage. How about that for an audition? Who would’ve thought!
    AND, if you’re welling to bring the ham and cheese to your audition, they’ll even serve you beer during your aria!
    My kind of company.

  7. I absolutely love this audition process. Getting to infuse our auditions with the extra jolt of energy that comes from performance and receiving the “instant gratification” of a warm audience response cannot be beat. Auditioning is the most stressful part of what we do, but BCO has turned into something fun and exciting. Can’t wait to do it again on Monday!

  8. It’s pretty wonderful for the audience, too. The folks at BCO make this process a HUGE amount of fun for all concerned. It’s great to have a glass of wine, relax, and do a little handicapping for ourselves….

    For those of us who host house concerts (art song, in my case), it’s also a great opportunity to scout for talent, too. One gets recommendations of singers, but it is really wonderful to get a chance to hear you all for ourselves, directly. Priorities and schedules have been known to change based on what we hear at the BCO auditions.

  9. This was a relaxing and fun atmosphere to perform in. It is so nice to sing in front of a live audience, and the panel is funny!

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