So the year out has officially begun. After my summer of fun and with no performances lined up I envisaged having to write a blog about how difficult it can be to get performance opportunities. It can be hard when you don't have anything to look forward to and there is only so long you can milk the 'I sang in an opera in Brasil' card before people start saying, 'Oh did you go to Brasil? I didn't know', sarcastically of course. The scariest thing was I had zero to write in the 'events' part of my website... Travesty! I was terrified of the thought of just doing auditions and teaching. I love teaching but I couldn't just do that for the rest of my life. I think when I imagine being faced with the prospect of teaching all day everyday it really gives me a kick up the bum to get out there and make the performance opportunities happen.
Here we are, audition season. My least favourite season. The amount of time and money I spend on travelling for that few moments in the audition room is draining not just for your bank account but also your physical and mental energy. It's probably the most artificial and cold performance situation there is. You go in there expecting to be judged on everything that you do and you are only asked for one or two songs which can't possibly show everything you can do. Audition rep choices are super important. They need to be able to see you as that character that you are singing, vocally and physically, especially if you're going for a specific role.
Obligatory post-audition coffee and cake in Edinburgh. So desperate for cake I forgot to take a picture before I ate it.
The hype is massive and suddenly it's over in a flash. The applause and appreciation that feed us as performers is non existent in this situation. Sometimes you get some question, 'What are you doing at the moment?', 'Why the hell were you cast as Dorabella?'... Which my teacher suggested replying to that pointless and negative question with, 'It's the done thing now. Did you not know?' *smirk*. However, MOST of the time you get a mere 'Thank You' and tumbleweed silence as you totter out in the heels that keep slipping off because of the nervous sweat.
It's amazing the stupid things you do in an audition. Recently I auditioned for Garsington and after I sang, in the panic to get out before the silence was too much, I forgot there were steps and I attempted to step down off the stage extending my leg and hoping to feel floor. Talk about making things more difficult for myself! I also auditioned up in Edinburgh for Edinburgh Studio Opera and when I had left the audition and walked 2 minutes down the street I realised the underskirt of my dress had ridden up and I was flashing my knickers through my see-through over skirt. I still don't know if I gave the panel a little more than they bargained for.
Pants on show or not I got offered the role of Susanna in Edinburgh Studio Opera's production of The Marriage of Figaro! Over the moon!! However I can't help but wonder if there was some divine intervention or witchcraft going on... I was sat on the train to Edinburgh for my audition and this very frail old woman boards the train accompanied by a member of the station staff. I offered to lift her suitcase into the luggage rack for her and she gratefully gave me her bag. We didn't speak much on the journey but she asked if I had been on holiday and I explained I was on my way to an audition, 'Oh I'm sure you'll do well' she said in a soft voice. Anyway when we arrived in Edinburgh I offered to take her bag out of the overhead luggage rack and she said, 'Thank you for helping me and here is 30p (a 10p and 20p) for good luck. It's a Scottish custom.' This reminded me of when my Grandma used to give me a £20 and say, 'Go and buy yourself an ice-cream' and I would always think I can buy a bit more than an ice-cream with that Grandma! Anyway walking to my audition I could feel the change in my pocket and though I try not to dwell too much on fate, karma and the holy trinity I couldn't help but rub the change in my fingers and just make myself believe for a second that it could be a sign. Since I found out I had secured the role I take that 30p with me to every audition. I know it sounds stupid but holding an object you associate with success and having a calm moment thinking I've done this before and I can do it again surely can't be a bad thing!
So after all the excitement about receiving the role I now have to face the downside of travelling to Edinburgh twice every week. Not sure if it's a blessing or a curse but for now it seems so worth it for that role. Also plenty of travel time to learn German ready for auditions over in Germany in Spring. Exciting times ahead.