Teresa and Auditions

Participating in auditions is necessary for a singer to be successful, which basically means to become known to a broader audience. Auditions usually take place in a Theatre or at an agency that will find suitable jobs for singers.

Teresa has started taking private voice lessons at the age of 27. Very soon she realized her talent for singing, so when her voice began to develop it is needless to say she was interested in knowing whether she would do well as a singer in front of a wider audience. So one day she applied for an audition in Munich. As far as I can still remember, it was organized by an agency and took place at the Bavaria State Opera house. Later on Teresa told me that the jury seemed to be very pleased with her voice, and they offered her to accept an engagement at an opera house in the provincial backwater. Since she did not want to leave Munich in order to live separated from her husband in a remote town this option for her was not really worth considering.

Later on she was auditioned at the Municipal Theatre in Augsburg and took part in the extra chorus being able to contribute with many productions in the grand hall and on the open-air stage (including My Fair Lady, Frau Luna, Nabucco, Lohengrin, …). However, the theatre environment for various reasons was not suitable for her. For instance she was not pleased with the fact she occasionally needed to perform on Sundays. To her the Sabbath was the day of the Lord and in this respect she would not want to compromise. This was one of the reasons why she soon left the theatre stage again. Instead, on rare occasions she would give recitals for an entire evening or she would perform individual music numbers or – being the Music Chairman of the Munich Stake – she would make sure that others would be given the opportunity to shine.

One day – it must have been in 2007 – she noticed that a well-known conductor in Augsburg was looking for a solo soprano for the performance of sacred works. So she applied and was granted an audition which took place in the concert hall of the University of Augsburg. At this place a Steinway concert grand is located, and Teresa brought a friend of her, a Russian pianist, who was supposed to accompany her during the audition. The conductor took a seat in the audience, and I sat right next to him. Teresa recited some of the pieces she came to appreciate and to love throughout her singing career, particularly works from Puccini, her favourite composer. She had practised and sung these pieces over and over throughout the years, and she visibly felt comfortable with them and in them. I still remember the conductor tracking what was happening on stage with wide eyes, and from time to time he would exclaim with great emotion: “That is virtually incredible!” or “Awesome!”.

Apparently Teresa had made a lasting impression on him. After the audition was over he offered her to sing the soprano role in Mozart’s Requiem which was to be performed at the St. James Church as well as at another venue. Teresa was very happy the conductor placed a great deal of confidence in her and she started preparing for the concerts to her best ability. After all this was the first time she would sing with full orchestra and being a chamber musician she was not used to work under a professional conductor. There were but few soloist rehearsals prior to the concert and when the day of the performance finally arrived, Teresa did not feel very well.

Then happened what had to happen. The rehearsals did not exactly run smoothly, and Teresa did not always get along well with the conducting causing her to be uncertain at times which in turn caused the tenor to have a dig at her. All who are familiar with Teresa know that this kind of behavior certainly does not lead to an increased performance of her. On the contrary her uncertainty increased, and at the day of the concert she had intonation problems and some of her entries did not fit well. Just before the end she omitted an entire beat during her closing solo driving sweat into the conductor’s face. Now even the last auditor in the well-filled church knew that something must have not been quite right.

The second concert went better. But even then somehow the magnificence was lacking, and Teresa’s voice was lacking a bit of the brightness and pervasive presence normally characterising her. To this day I cannot comprehend the reaction of the conductor. Instead of comforting her and discussing the cause of the flaws with her in order to avoid them next time, he dropped Teresa like a hot potato and never talked to her again. Furthermore, she was deprived of the fee that actually would have been due to her. When I look back on this experience only one term comes into my mind: Malevolence. This shows us quite plainly how big a role vanity is playing in the professional music world. Sad to say, benevolence can scarcely be found in this métier. Understandably enough, Teresa refrained from further audition adventures after this experience. She very much preferred her role as observer, tutor, and teacher.