24 July 2010

The Random of the Opera

Yep that’s done it.

Last post I suggested that in the comparatively calm wake of the madness that was a Midsummer Night’s Dream, I would find some new and creative way to throw my life into the general chaos that I tend to prefer. The usual techniques for turning one’s life upside-down include tried and true methods such as quitting your job, meeting a special woman or experimenting with a new religion. And as usual, the usual techniques don’t apply to me.

I auditioned to be in an opera.

It seems like an almost logical step, following my re-emergence on the local theatre scene, apart from the small hiccup that I’ve never been in an opera before, and haven’t sung properly since I left college five years ago. A fellow cast member from Midsummers emailed me to say the company was desperate for tenors and invited me to go along for an audition. I suspected there was no way I was going to get into the cast of an opera. But I had also suspected there was no way I going to get in Midsummers either, so I impulsively decided to give it a go. What the hell.

About half an hour before the audition started, it suddenly occurred to me that I would probably be asked to sing something. I started to panic a bit here. Most proper singers, or at least those who’d had any sort of vocal training experience, would have thought to come along with something prepared, complete with sheet music and possibly an accompanist. By contrast, the only time I ever sing these days is when I’m accompanying myself on a piano in an empty church and that’s only when I’m confident no-one else is around. I frantically went over every song I knew trying to come up with something that would sound halfway presentable.

I had it narrowed down to two equally ridiculous possibilities when the audition room door opened and I walked in. I stood in front of a table with three people I’d never met looking back at me. It was kind of like “Australia’s Got Talent” except with out the TV cameras. Or the talent. And then came the $63.50 question.

“And what are you going to sing for us today, Garry?” Snap decision time.

“A Song of Freedom, by Murray Gold.” Odd decision, but it was either that or Psalm number 40 by U2. Besides, it was dramatic, melodic and in Latin which automatically made it sound like a proper audition song. The fact that it’s from the sound track to series four of Doctor Who is obviously irrelevant.

I finished my song and was rewarded with polite smiles form the casters.

“What language was that in?”
“Latin”.
“… Oh. … Really?”

Fortunately the next step was a script reading, which I could do with a little more confidence. That was, until casters asked me if I could read the same part again, but in a French accent. I ended up sounding like cross between Russian and Chinese, so I’m not sure how that all went down with them.

Finally, to check my ability to hold pitch with an accompanist, they asked me to sing the national anthem while one of them played it on the piano. Given my previous performance with other languages and accents, they were kind enough to let me sing the Australian national anthem, and to sing it in English. By this stage I was so tripped out by the whole experience, I very nearly forgot the words, which never happens to me; not with the national anthem anyway.

Having crashed through the final hurdle, I thanked the casters for their time and got the hell out of there. I still don't know quite what's going on with final casting. Apparently I'm going to find out tomorrow, but I think I know what the answer's going to be.






Garry with 2 Rs

I offer absolutely no apologies to those affronted by the use of 'random' as a noun. Get over it.
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