For those of you who don’t know, NYIOPS stands for “New York International Opera Auditions.” “But wait,” you say, “shouldn’t the acronym be NYIOAS instead?” Yes, it should be, but it is not, because Nigh-Ops is easier to say than Nah-ee-oh-wahs. And anyway, I think we can all agree that it would be far better to call them the “New York City Loud Opera Person Sessions,” or NYCLOPS.
Now, the NYIOPS have been a source of some controversy among singers since their inception about ten years ago, and this is due to one very controversial reason, that being that they are very expensive. Singers worry greatly about things that are expensive, because, being singers, they cannot afford them. The NYIOPS will tell you that you are actually saving money, because what they do is bring a lot of people in from around the world (the world being Europe [Europe being Germany]) and listen to you audition. This saves the struggling young singer the cost of actually traveling to all of these Germanies and singing for each person individually. And all it costs is several hundreds of dollars.
Singers do not like things that cost several hundreds of dollars. They get mad if an audition fee approaches $50, much less hundreds of dollars. There is also the question of whether or not any of these people sitting on the NYIOPS panel actually hire any singers from these auditions. People seem to think not, but I have to say that when I did the audition myself two years ago, the Metropolitan Opera heard me, and subsequently hired me. So there you go. I am living proof that the process works, or has worked at least once. Which brings us to yesterday.
There I was, at my rehearsal for the Metropolitan Opera, which I got indirectly via the NYIOPS two years ago, and I suddenly receive, directly via my agent, an offer to sing for the NYIOPS again. And for a reduced fee! Fewer hundreds of dollars for me to pay! Hooray! The problem was that I was having a very busy day. You know, what with rehearsals and whatnot.
Yesterday was actually payday, which was lucky for me, but it meant I had to go to the bank after rehearsal to put money in so I could take money out so I could sing for all of those nice people. And then I had to run home and get my suit. And then I had to run over to my voice teacher’s so he could warm me up and get me ready and psyched to sing. The point of this being that I put on the wrong shoes.
I showed up at my voice teacher’s apartment wearing not my black audition shoes, but my black sneakers. Not good. I am a mess of a human being. But it gets worse. I also realized that I was supposed to bring eight copies of my headshot, resume, bio, etc and I did not have this with me, nor did I have time to go find these things. Here in New York I do not have access to a printer, or even the internet half the time, and I was not prepared for such a request.
Well, I called my agent, and because she is the best agent ever, she printed that stuff for me, and I jumped in a cab and made it to the audition early, which was good because they were running ahead of schedule. Now imagine my horror when they ask what I will be singing, and I put my hand into my bag to get out my music, only to discover that I have left all of my music at my voice teacher’s apartment.
Honestly, I don’t know how I have survived this long without being killed or otherwise destroyed. I should not be let out of the house. If my proverbial head was not proverbially screwed on, it would probably be at my voice teacher’s apartment. My wife is always getting upset with me over the high level of scatterbrainedness that I often display, and I think you can now add my agent and my voice teacher to that list of frustrated people as well. I called my voice teacher in a panic, who confirmed that my music was there, but he was supposed to be teaching another lesson at that time. The guy at the NYIOPS registration desk ran upstairs to looks for any opera scores that might be lying around that could possibly contain things that I knew how to sing in them. Everyone was very helpful, but I was in a tizzy, and you do not want to be singing for important people in a tizzy, let me assure you.
Suddenly, my phone rang. It was my voice teacher telling me that he was in a cab on his way over with my music. Time was ticking away, and I ran outside to meet him. 3 singers left before me. Now 2. I was on deck. And my phone rang again. My voice teacher wanted to know why I wasn’t outside waiting…because he had gone to the wrong place. Really, universe? REALLY?!!
Luckily the place he had gone was only a few blocks away from where I was, so in a few minutes he drove by, holding my music out the window. I snatched it up and ran inside, ready to sing my best, or a reasonable facsimile thereof. And actually, I think I did sing pretty well. I don’t know if anyone is going to hire me, but we’ll see. So if you want to know if the NYIOPS are worth it…well…they’d better be.
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