Boston Conservatory opera student Megan Callahan (M.M. '18) will be participating in the renowned St. Louis Opera Young Artist Program in summer 2017. Callahan tells us about how she prepared for this opportunity and what she is most looking forward to about the experience.
How did you find out about the St. Louis Opera Young Artist Program and what made you decide to audition?
I had heard about St. Louis's training program from friends, colleagues, and many mentors. I wasn't certain I was even going to apply, but I decided to at the last minute. I'm so happy I did!
What music/repertoire did you prepare for your audition?
I auditioned with "Must the winter come so soon?" from Barber's Vanessa, “Faites-lui mes aveux” from Gounod's Faust, and Es Traumte mir by Brahms.
Besides practicing your repertoire, are there any other key strategies you use to prepare (mentally or physically) for auditions?
In terms of preparing mentally, some of the best audition wisdom I ever received was to present yourself where you are at this moment. Don't try to be a 35-year-old professional singer if you are still learning. Give a true representation of where you are currently in your process of becoming an artist and have confidence that people will want to see and hear more. Of course I still get nervous, but I try to channel that nervous energy into my performance. Afterwards, I always do something small to treat myself, no matter how the audition went! I find if I can't be a positive source of support for myself, no one can.
This young artist program presents many opportunities for professional growth; which opportunity are you most looking forward to taking advantage of?
I cannot wait to work alongside the more seasoned artists performing the principle roles. I am immensely lucky to be covering the role of Ma Joad in Ricky Ian Gordon's The Grapes of Wrath, and I am really looking forward to watching Katharine Goeldner perform the role.
How did your studio teacher help you to prepare for this experience?
Rebecca Folsom has been a wonderful sounding board for advice and support during audition season (and always). She helped me narrow down my repertoire choices so that I not only felt confident with how I presented myself, but also that I was excited to sing the repertoire we picked.
How did your training at the Conservatory prepare you for success in this competition?
In all honesty, the intense rehearsal schedules we have definitely helped to prepare me for the stress of audition season. It's kind of nice when you only have just enough time to guzzle down your morning coffee, warm up, and run into the audition room before heading back to rehearsal. This leaves little time to sit with your nerves.
What do you love most about the voice program at the Conservatory?
I am constantly inspired by my colleagues and mentors. The Conservatory offers ample opportunities to watch and learn from each other, from classes to coachings to rehearsals, and more. I truly love watching my colleagues perform as their artistry shapes and informs my own. The mentors here are so incredibly insightful and supportive. It is wonderful to know that they all truly believe and hope for our success not only as artists, but also as people.