Opera Auditions 

Auditions for Lawrence Opera’s 2015 production of Aaron Copland's The Tender Land will take place on Monday, September 29, with possible callbacks on the 30th. This is a work that explores the joys and troubles of growing up, the importance of family, and the acceptance of change. It is a quintessentially American work, as is most of Copland's music, and was inspired by the Midwest farm country that is typical of Wisconsin.

Copland wrote:

In writing The Tender Land, I was trying to give young American singers material that they do not often get in the opera house; that is, material that would be natural for them to sing and perform ... I think of The Tender Land as being related to the mood of Appalachian Spring. Both the ballet and the opera take place in rural America: one in the southern Appalachians; the other in Midwest farm country. Both make use of folk material to evoke a particular landscape in a real way.

In addition to this webpage, audition excerpts will be available in a binder in the Conservatory Office or from studio voice teachers.

The opera will be staged by Lawrence's new Director of Opera Studies, Copeland Woodruff, who recently directed this work for the Juilliard School. Musical preparation will be by Bonnie Koestner, and the production will be conducted by a guest conductor, to be announced.

Please read all of the following information completely and carefully. If you still have questions after you have done this, please direct them to bonnie.koestner@lawrence.edu.

Named roles include:

Laurie (PDF)* - soprano
Ma Moss (PDF)* - contralto, or mezzo soprano with solid low range
Beth Moss (younger sister of Laurie) - limited singing, some spoken lines, important presence
Grandpa Moss (PDF)* - bass, bass-baritone, or baritone with weightier voice (high note D, passing E)
Martin (PDF)* (a drifter) - tenor
Top (PDF)* (his friend) - baritone
Mr. Splinters (PDF)* (the postman) - tenor or high baritone (high note F#, but generally middle range)
Mrs. Splinters - soprano or mezzo
Mr. and Mrs. Jenks - baritone and soprano

Friends and neighbors - SATB

The roles listed above with an asterisk * beside the name have specific audition excerpts. Other named roles will primarily be cast from among students auditioning with the principal role excerpts. After looking at the excerpts, choose the role that seems most suitable for your voice type. If you are only interested in a chorus part, you may sing a song in English that shows your vocal and expressive capability.

Students often ask whether auditions need to be memorized. The purpose of auditioning is to present your best effort and to convince people that you should be selected for a role. You will certainly make the best impression if your audition is memorized. A limited amount of pre-audition coaching will be available in the fall.

A recording of The Tender Land and a piano/vocal score are on reserve in the library under MUEN 282. Listen to the recording, but do not try to learn your parts from it. Part of what we want to assess is whether you can learn music accurately off of the page and make it expressively your own.

Auditioning for the opera constitutes an agreement to participate in the production as a whole. You may be cast in a role for which you did not audition.