Friday, October 26, 2012

What a judge is looking for!

Last Saturday the Wisconsin District held its auditions, and out of forty applicants three winners were picked by the judges to advance to the Region Finals.  These winners are Holly Flack, Soprano; Alisa Jordheim, Soprano; and Shannon Prickett, Soprano.

One of the judges at the Wisconsin District Auditions was Cynthia Lawrence.  She was a winner of the National Council Auditions in 1984 (coming from the Rocky Mountain Region), and she made a career all over the world ever since, performing at the Metropolitan Opera and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden among others.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel featured a wonderful interview with her by Jim Higgins.  You can read the full article here.  As the title (At Met Auditions, judges look for 'it' factor) suggests, it gives singers some wonderful information on what the judges generally look for in a singer.

In the interview, Cynthia describes the 'it' factor:
"It's the 'it' factor. You're looking for something that grabs your attention.  As a singer, a technician, a teacher, I look for the color, the heart and soul of the singer.  I don't look for perfection. I don't know that there has ever been a perfect (live) performance of opera ever."
The most important thing is to tell a story, and to make your audience realize you are telling a story.  Cynthia suggests to keep the following in mind:

  • Look comfortable on stage
  • Pay attention to details
  • Think of what the composer wrote and what his intentions were
  • Communicate with music: " if you sing perfectly, but you're boring, that's no good."

In the end,
"If you were transported and brought to tears . . . I look for that as a judge." 

Stay tuned for interviews with our very own Eastern Region judges in just a few weeks.


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