As if the lives and schedules of singers weren’t dysfunctional enough on their own, some sadist out there decided to make the months of November and December, and more specifically the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, both audition season and concert season. Why opera companies would want to hold all of their auditions during those few weeks that every other group on the planet is holding their big concerts is beyond me, but it doesn’t seem very charitable or Christmasy to me.
What happens is that we singers are left with a terrible choice, between definite money now and possible money later. Should we skip auditions to sing Messiahs, or should we give up our Christmas Oratorios to take a chance that we might be employed next season? I personally have given up three auditions so far because they conflicted with gigs that I already had going, and I know I can’t be the only one. And gigs are booked in advance, whereas auditions can come up out of nowhere. How can you tell someone that you want to get out of your contract to go sing for someone else? Not cool. But come January the concerts will be over, everyone will be at the gym for a week or two before abandoning their resolutions, and many of us will be looking for something to do/sing.
Hey! January is the perfect month for audition season! All of the New Year’s Oratorios will be over, but the Valentine’s Oratorios will not have yet begun! Why don’t we move audition season to January? I mean, seriously, think about it opera companies. You are often auditioning for the following season anyway. Would the loss of one month of decision making time really screw up your plans and schedules? Because it would be a heck of a lot easier for me to catapult myself back and forth to New York in January than it is in December. I suppose there is weather to think of. January will often have more snow than December, but who can predict that?! We could have December storms as well. In fact, I can’t think of a really good reason to all be in New York for December, other than it looks really pretty all lit up for the holidays. But unless you live in New York, or are singing a concert there, my guess is that you would rather be home with your families.
So it’s settled. Next year, auditions in January. Because the real reason that everyone holds auditions in December is because everyone else is holding auditions then, and it is very convenient for singers to fly in for the weekend and be able to sing for several people in one trip. So we all need to do it together. Call your opera company buddies. Make the commitment. Start a petition. January. I’ll be there, and I’ll sing anything you want. Once I’m done at the gym.