So, early in February I set out to another audition at the University of North Texas. They have a very fine music school and several of the professors here at K-State received degrees from UNT, so there was a lot of history I was bringing along with me. Dusti was able to go with me, which we are not able to do that often, but we drove from Manhattan, KS to Denton, TX (about 7 hours) and found a hotel to spend the night. The next morning, I was trying to recover from the remnants of a head cold I had early in the week, so I was drinking hot water from the coffee pot, to tame the phlegm. We drove to the campus which wasn't too much to look at, but it was one of those cases that "you can't judge a book by its cover" kind of thing.
When I got to the College of Music, they were having an entire day of undergraduate and graduate auditions. I didn't really have trouble finding a practice room because they have an entire building of just practice rooms. I was able to walk through the building and look around before my audition, and I lucked out this time, the audition was in a very live room, which was fun to sing in for once. It appeared as if most of the voice faculty was there, and luckily when I began my audition, I didn't have too much problem from my cold that I had been suffering from earlier in the week. I began with a Strauss lied and they chose one of my favorite pieces "To Joy" by Finzi and they chose "En fermant les yeux" by Massenet. I sang pretty well, very emotive, which I feel went over well, but I was very pleased of how it went.
Afterward, my accompanist, Stephen Dubberly, who is the Opera Music Director at UNT, made some very nice comments to me. He enjoyed my performance as did several of the other professors who made note of some of the faculty at K-State that they know. Among them was Richard Croft, who is one of the most famous tenors in all the world. He made quick note of several technical things that I was doing wrong, but he invited me to come back to have a few lessons, with which he could show me what he was talking about. That was extremely generous, because I know he is very busy, moving around all over the world, so even though he was very up-front (not unlike Bobby Knight) I was very happy to have gotten that response.
Then Stephen Dubberly asked what I had next on my schedule (which was nothing) and he wanted to give me a tour. Well, we went to their new performing arts center, and it was incredible. They had a theater specifically for Opera performances, where we went in and looked and talked to people while they were setting up for their Opera Production. Then we went to their Concert Hall, which was amazing as well, where the orchestra was practicing Mahler's 1st Symphony - Dudamel made his debut at LA Phil with Mahler 1, and I loved it! We were able to talk about many things, and I was asking so many questions; I very much appreciate the time he spent - it was nice that a school was trying to sell itself to me. That is what I am used to here at K-State, and I very much appreciated it rather than the more professional rigor I felt at other auditions. He even had a lot to say about K-State's spring Opera, the rarely performed new Opera by Pasatieri called "Hotel Casablanca" - NOW SHOWING AT K-STATE...GET TICKETS AT THE MCCAIN BOX OFFICE (shameless plug). I am playing the role of Charles.
Anyway, afterward, Mr. Dubberly dropped me off at the Union where I met Dusti and we then drove to Wichita to eat with their family and then to Salina that evening. It is tough having very long business trips, but it is worth it especially to feel accomplished. In order to get through all the rejections, you have to hold on to what you love, and keep the expectation high for yourself. I am always proud of what I do, even if it doesn't go well, it takes a lot of guts and nerves, but as long as you literally try your best, it is extremely gratifying. Next up: The University of Kansas.