Stephen Lord, the veteran music director of the Opera Theatre of St Louis, has been talking candidly to Kristina Driskill about the singers he looks for when casting an opera and how they should present themselves for audition (no piercings, please).
His reply to the headline question veers towards favouring young singers of apparent versatility rather than, necessarily, the best one for the role at hand. Here’s the reply:
While we don’t discriminate on age, race, size, etc., when all things are equal, and since we tend to promote people from within so often, I try to look toward the potential for future casting. In addition, after the covers have been assigned, we have a huge concert with the St. Louis Symphony where the singers are all featured on stage with the orchestra. I like to be sure the singers will make a good showing. We also try very hard to have a ‘wild card’ singer or two. These are people who are not quite ready but display something different and worth watching. In the end, truth to tell, it is all a shot in the dark but based on experience. Mistakes get made, but mostly things are on the positive side.
The interview as a whole is a must-read for singers. Click here.