Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Opera Theater Oregon holding auditions for upcoming project

Know any great singers with a penchant for drama, or are you one yourself? Read on then; the following message is from Katie Taylor, artistic director of Opera Theater Oregon.

Dear Friends of OTO,

General auditions for upcoming OTO projects are Sunday, June 27, 4:00 - 8:00 pm.

Auditions are by appointment only, so please drop a line if you'd like to sign up. No phone calls, please! - - I'm really terrible about returning them - - but text messages fine, as long as you include your full name, voice type and email address.

We'll send instructions regarding location and audition format when we assign your time slot.

Auditions are open to singers (chorus and principal) and instrumentalists. Since OTO's goal is to bring opera back into pop culture, here are some of the qualities we look for in performers:

Great voice/musicianship

Acting chops


Ability to pick up music from sheet music or by ear (not required, but very helpful)

Ability to sing/play other types of music stylistically.

Flexibility (our shows place unusual demands on the performer ((don't worry - nothing immoral or dangerous)), and singing in a bar or movie theater for a noisy, enthusiastic crowd that has had a few beers is quite different from what many opera singers are used to)

A few specific roles we are looking to fill this time around:

ALL ROLES, OTO 'Werther' (Massenet), 6 performances in February 2011; 3-day film shoot in early- to mid-September. As usual, we're cutting the show to 90 minutes and rescripting it in English. This production updates the story to a small New England town at the end of the Korean War. The production will be done in the style of the lavish '50s melodramas of Douglas Sirk and Vincente Minnelli. The live production will incorporate closeups and flashbacks projected directly onto the set. Roles include:

Werther (tenor) - 20s/30s - a drifter, pensive and dreamy; intensely lonely; orphaned in childhood, served overseas in the medical corps. Back stateside after the war ends, he drifts to the idyllic New England hometown described to him by a dying officer (Albert), and meets and falls in love with the officer's fiancee (Charlotte).

Charlotte (mezzo soprano or soprano with good low register) - mid- to late 20s - responsible for taking care of her father and her younger sisters from an early age, Charlotte has never been allowed to be young. Before she died, Charlotte's mother made Charlotte promise to marry Albert, knowing he would be solid and dependable. Werther ignites Charlotte's hunger for reckless passion and, as time goes on, also engages her eternal, guilt-ridden sense of duty.

Albert (baritone) - 20s/30s - Charlotte's fiance - declared MIA early in the war and believed dead. The telegram announcing his discovery in a liberated POW camp goes missing, and he arrives home to an empty house. Albert's experiences in the war have changed him from an uncomplicated, sweet young man to a traumatized mess, still desperately pretending to be an uncomplicated, sweet young man. Albert believes that marrying Charlotte and resuming his former life will restore his untroubled peace of mind and make him well again.

Sophie (soprano) - early 20s, late teens - the eldest of Charlotte's little sisters, exuberant Sophie actually is what Albert once was - untroubled contentment, joy in life, ignorance of pain and suffering, an energetic, uncomplicated fondness for festivals and holidays. Unequipped to understand the tragedy unfolding in her peaceful home, the only thing she knows how to do is to try to restore cheer.

Officer O'Mara (Le Bailli) (baritone) - 50s - Father of Charlotte - career police officer; proud member of the fraternal order of the Moose (Lodge No. 79).

Officer Schmidt (Schmidt) - 50s - crony and lodge brother of Officer O'Mara.

Officer Riley (Johann) - 50s - crony and lodge brother of Officer O'Mara.
Charlotte's sisters - four girls, Adele, Jeanette, Yvette and Collette, ages 10-18
CHORUS (townspeople, soldiers, students)

Most of the roles in Werther will be cast locally. We do, however, expect the principal roles for this production to be difficult to cast, and are willing to consider bringing in an out-of-town performer. Written and directed by Katie Taylor, arrangements and musical direction by Erica Melton; film direction by Jen Wechsler; technical direction by Robin Greenwood.

If none of these roles suit you, we'd still love to hear you! Sometimes we choose projects based on who we've heard that we'd like to work with.

All the best,
Katie Taylor
Artistic Director
Opera Theater Oregon
Tel: 503 234 4515