Monday, September 28, 2009

Competition season

With competition season upon us, it's time to brush up on the little ins and outs that make competitions different from an audition. For most, auditions mean that you're up against a small handful of people for a specific role whose requirements are often nebulous: Tall, short, fat, skinny, smooth tone, comedic - who knows what's wanted for this particular production. For me, particularly as a bass, it also means that my competition is limited to those within my voice type. In an open competition, especially an international comp., there are a lot of other factors at play.

One of the best singer blogs out there, Jean-Roland LaFond's "Toreadorssong's Vocal Technique Blog," covers some of the factors at play here in a recent post. An example from the post:

Know the politics of the situation

The French-Quebec prize was given to a young French coloratura. The prize is a series of concerts sponsored by the Quebec organization directed by said judge. The same coloratura was indubitably edged out in the mélodies category by a fanstastically gifted French baritone who received well-deserved bravos for his performance. However the two prizes for that category (1st and 2nd) where changed to two first prizes, and the soprano was announced first. The same soprano was also a finalist in the opera category and was given first place in the female category although a Russian coloratura with a near flawless technique edged her out, in my opinion. It might have appeared strange if she had also won the overall grand prize. That honor went to a French-Chinese soprano. The prize was announced by the mayor of the town who reminded the audience that this soprano had sung the soprano lead in The Pearl Fischers two years before in the town where the competition takes place.

This entire blog is a fantastic look at vocal technique from one of the modern day gods of technical vocal workings. I never read his blog that it doesn't give me something to think about vocally but check this post out for a first hand account of some of the concepts surrounding competitions.

Winning International Voice Competitions via Toreadorssong's Vocal Technique Blog

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