hey sopranos

Pay no attention to what I may have said about Sopranos in my sales pitch to Altos. I was just trying to make them feel better, since they have to go through life singing backup harmonies for you. We all know that the Sopranos are the leading ladies, and the Altos are just the quirky best friends. The Sopranos are the ones who sing the soaring gorgeous melodies; the ones who makes us fall in love with them; the ones who break our hearts. The best songs are for Sopranos, and in AUDITION CUTS FOR SOPRANOS you get eleven of my best...

"From Here" is from THE FLOOD, a show that deals with the 1993 Mississippi River floods. Alice is a high school senior whose family loses everything in the flood. To make matters worse, she's been betrayed by her boyfriend. Now in the wake of the flood, she's come to the bluffs overlooking the town to try to get perspective on everything. Though she ultimately forgives her boyfriend, in this cut she questions whether she can ever let herself be hurt that way again.

"How Long?" from THE TAXI CABARET is another soul-searching sad song; that's two in a row. Well you know Elton says about sad songs... This time the themes are doubt and commitment. Sara has been in a long-term relationship with Mark, but they're going through a rough patch now and she's wondering where the relationship is headed. In this cut she asks herself how long it will be until she's certain of her heart. The register of the song is relatively low by soprano standards, but still requires a lighter, mixed sound.

"I Can Play The Part" is from THE ALCHEMISTS, a show set in a Jane Austen-ish 19th England. Musically, the song has a surging exhuberence that goes against the subtext of the situation. Our heroine, Anne, is convincing herself that she can and must marry a man who, though perfectly respectable and in many ways the best match she could hope to make, is not the love of her life. So underneath the triumphant-sounding home stretch of this cut, there's a kind of desperation and despair. Fun!

"Impromptu" is another cut from THE ALCHEMISTS for the same character. Here we find her in happier times, giving her thoughts on what poetry ought to be. This cut is a real roller coaster ride, with a melody line that's as rambling and wild as the poetry she describes. The song makes a lot of technical demands on the singer, but it's a good cut if you have the chops and want to show off! There's a nice opportunity do demonstrate some acting range as well, in the shift from the ironic tone of the first part to the more rhapsodic, romantic latter part.

"Letters To Boys" is from THE PURSUIT OF PERSEPHONE. The singer here is Ginevra King -- F. Scott Fitzgerald's college sweetheart, lifelong lost love, and the inspiration for Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby. Ginevra was 1915's version of a celebutante, coming from one of America's wealthiest families. She was way out of Scott Fitzgerald's league, but she found him interesting and they carried on a a passionate correspondence. In this cut, Ginevra demonstrates her mastery of flirtation by mail...

"Olivia" is taken from ILLYRIA, which is an adaptation of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. This cut corresponds to Viola's famous "willow cabin" speech in the play -- where Viola, disguised as a boy, unwittingly causes the Countess Olivia to fall for her. Despite the Elizabethan inspiration, the music has some hints of a more contemporary feel. But the language is more heightened and elevated. The cut here has a nice arc as it moves from the simple sweetness of a verse section into the more impassioned bridge.

Two cuts of "Patience" are included here. This is another song for Viola from ILLYRIA. Viola has gotten herself into a seemingly hopeless situation. Disguised as a boy, she is a servant to Duke Orsino. Now she has fallen in love with her master but cannot reveal herself or her feelings. Patience seems to be the only remedy. The first cut is from the top of the song, where the emphasis is more on the acting of a tricky "Fakespearian" soliloquy. The second cut goes from the bridge to the end of the song and hits the high notes as well as the emotional climax of the song.

"Right Before The Kiss" from THE FLOOD is sung by Alice, whose other song "From Here" was described above. This cut comes from earlier in the show when things have not yet gone wrong with the boyfriend... nor with the town's levee. Her little sister has asked her about kissing, and Alice tries to describe the electricity, the excitement of a first kiss. Vocally, this song definitely requires some mixing of head and chest registers. Much of the melody sits relatively low, but some phrases move smoothly across a wide range, calling for a lot of control on the singer's part.

"Save One" is actually a trio (from ILLYRIA), but the top of the song is sung by Viola alone. Eventually the number becomes a love triangle in which Viola loves Duke Orsino loves Countess Olivia loves Viola. The song is very sweet and simple both musically and lyrically -- a straightforward honest-to-God ballad. Even so, it can still be a bit tricky for singers because of the lengthy phrases... breathe carefully!

"To Beat The Band" is another number from THE PURSUIT OF PERSEPHONE. Ginevra King, debutante extraordinaire as described above, is first introduced in this number, and we find her in her natural habitat: at a dance. Ginevra is the sort whose dance card is always full. And as she explains in this cut, that's because she has so little time to live it up before the inevitable wedding band. This cut might be a welcome bit of relief from all the sad, pining ballads. This one is uptempo and sassy...

And rounding out the collection we have "A Way We Can Fly" from HONOR. The show is an adaptation of As You Like It set in feudal Japan, but there's nothing too specifically Japanese in this cut. Well... except that the singer's friend is about to commit seppuku. But if you use this for an audition, nobody has to know that! This cut is unlike any of the others: the style is very legit, quasi-operatic, I'd say. And it's a moment of *really* high drama... (some might say melodrama!) But depending on what you're going for, it might be just what you need...

Musings Past