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Preparing for an opera audition.

All professional opera singers know the importance of auditions. It might not be the most enjoyable thing to do, but everyone should do it.

Whether it's an early career opera singer or someone higher up, auditions are part of the life of a professional opera singer. So what can the classically trained singer do to make them succeed and work for them rather than against them? First off, there are the obvious points like getting a good night's sleep and arriving on time so you don't have to audition when you're out of breath.

The second most obvious thing is, of course, knowing the music. But there is much more that can be done to feel better about hearing and even more to be successful. One of the most important things to establish is what look you are.

Fach is German and literally means compartment. For sopranos there are several fachs. There's soubrette, lyrical, coloratura, and dramatic soprano, to name just a few. Each type of voice has subcategories. It's amazing how many trained opera singers leave music conservatories and universities without really knowing what fach they are.

However, what does it mean in practice? Going back to sopranos, one can easily say that once the singer knows what fach they are, they know which arias to bring to their audition, and they know what opera roles would be good for them.

As it matures, sometimes a voice changes fachs. Often times, a soprano will transition from the lighter type of soubrette voice to a lyric as she ages, or perhaps after she has been through a pregnancy.

So once she has established what kind of voice she has, she must choose between three and five arias from different composers, languages, and styles. You should work on them with your singing teacher and your coach. It doesn't matter if the classical singer sings them over and over again, and at every audition.

It is far more important for a professional opera singer to make a good impression, sound and look the part, than trying to find dark music that is different from any other audition for opera singers.

Of course, there are times when a singer needs to think differently about the arias that he brings. If, for example, the singer is auditioning for a specific role, he may have to learn a completely new aria for that audition.

However, he must still be within that fach of professional opera singers. Lastly, when an opera singer walks into that audition room, it is important that he thinks that the panel is on his side and that the panel really wants to hear him.

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