8 must-have audition tips for opera singers

By Audition Oracle – Thu 16 Mar 2017 @ 9:00

8 must-have audition tips for opera singers

Audition Oracle are delighted to present a guest blog post from Acting for Opera. Here Norman Cooley shares some of his Tips and Suggestions for auditioning.


Normal Cooley - Acting for opera singers

Ask yourself what sets you apart from other singers?  Do you know deep down what makes you special, different and therefore enables you to stand out and capture the interest of the panel and auditors?  Soul-searching may be required but it is worth it.

1. Be yourself 

  • Be your best self, but be yourself.  Don’t try to be someone else or something you are not.  Try not to sing like anyone else.  (see above!)  This means you have to be prepared for some to love you and some to be indifferent to your talent and skills.  If you are just a bland blank page no one will feel anything for you.

2. Be prepared for the logisitics

  • Make sure you are fully prepared for the practicalities of the audition.  
  • What do you know about the people and the company you are singing for?  
  • Do you know exactly where the audition is and how long it will take to get there?

3. Be prepared for the audition

  • Plan and rehearse your aria carefully.  Don’t experiment during an audition.  Not a good idea.

4. Be early

  • Arrive 15 to 20 minutes early and do not be late.  Don’t give your auditors a reason not to hire you and tardiness is one of those reasons.  Late just once could be enough to lose the job and any other opportunity to sing for that panel or company again.

5. Be in charge

  • This is Your audition so take charge of it.  
  • You are not a victim being sacrificed on a slab before a group of wizards.  
  • If they have asked you to attend an audition, you have the right to be there.  
  • Take charge of your audition by being a professional colleague with artistry and skills you are ready to share.

6. Be in the moment

  • When you are singing, focus 100% of your energy on the aria.  
  • Don’t sing with 60% and put 40% of yourself sitting on the panel judging your every note.  
  • It’s not your job to judge yourself during your audition.  
  • Focus on the job at hand.  The execution and delivery of your aria.  100%. 

7. Be generous

  • Share your love of singing your aria to the entire audience space.
  • Give out and communicate.  
  • Don’t just sing to one spot on the opposite wall.  (And try not to sing directly to the auditors, which can make them uncomfortable).

8. Be courageous 

  • Face your audition issues head on.  
  • If the same unhelpful things keep happening then sit down and work out what is going wrong and sort them out.  
  • Why keep making the same mistakes? 


Norman has been involved in the area of performance for over 40 years.  He has a BA in Theatre from UCLA in California and trained as an actor at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.  He has taught at Trinity Laban Conservatoire, the Royal Northern College of Music and currently teaches at the Wales International Academy of Voice in Cardiff.  He has trained hundreds of opera singers in his story-based approach and also uses his 23 years of experience as a professional actor to teach audition skills to singers. He has prepared a very large number of singers for opera auditions as well as applicants to music colleges and young artist programmes with considerable success.  He feels that with right approach, every singer can be taught that the audition experience can and should be fun, exciting and not an experience to dread. 

Norman Cooley - Audition tips for Opera Singers

[email protected]  - http://www.actingforopera.co.uk