On August 18th, New Moon Opera is holding the 2019-20 season auditions. We are excited to hear everyone! For those who are reading this and are not singers, one thing you should know is that most auditions specify what type of music the company would like to hear the auditionees sing at the audition. One of NMO's repertoire requirements for our upcoming auditions is a "party" song or aria, and after a few emails regarding what a party song is, I decided I would share a few of my favorites.
A party song or aria is usually what opera companies will ask artists to perform for galas, benefit concerts, donor events, etc. New Moon Opera loves to put on events at donors' homes, and we have some exciting soirées planned for the upcoming season. At events like these, the most successful performances are usually on a piece that the singer is super confident in and can really sell to the audience. A lot of our audience members at our past soirées have noted to us that their favorite part is how up close the singing is and how the artists engaged with them so well. Great performances at events like our soirées are usually on pieces that are famous from movies or other media, something comedic, or both! A lot of musical theater pieces seem to also go over well as party songs.
Not really a Musetta but still love to sing "Quando m'en vo"? Great! If you sing a famous aria extremely well, even if you might not be cast to perform the whole role, you can definitely bring it to sing at a donor event. The same goes for the Vilja Song (Merry Widow) and "O mio babbino caro" (Gianni Schicchi). "Je veux vivre" (Roméo et Juliette) has gone over well in the past, for coloraturas or lyrics. If you're a super high soprano, I think "Der hölle rache" (Magic Flute) or the Doll Song (Tales of Hoffman) would also be fun.
In the same vein as the Vilja Song, I love "Meine Lippen, sie Küssen so Heiss," also by Lehár.
Another piece that some might not have heard of that is a lot of fun is "Girl in 14G" by Tesori and Scanlan. It's not from an opera or musical, it's a stand-alone piece written for Kristen Chenowith about her first apartment in New York, and it is hilarious if done well!
Ok people, for soirées and the like, we are all Carmen. Audiences love the Habañera, so brush up on your flamenco. Another French piece that isn't as famous but is hilarious is "Je suis un peu grise" from La Périchole by Offenbach.
I have also heard this piece given a funny and charming performance by a soubrette, so I think it could work for some sopranos as well. Since a lot of donor events involve cocktails, "Il segreto per esser felici" from Lucrezia Borgia could also be a great opportunity to ham it up. (Spoiler alert: the secret to being happy is....wine!) An Italian favorite that many people might recognize is "Una voce poco fa." If that one sits a little high for you, try "Cruda sorte," also by Rossini.
"Taylor the Latte Boy" is a fun piece by Goldrich and Heissler that can be done successfully by mezzos and sopranos alike. The pair have written too many great songs to name, but another one I like is "Alto's Lament."
There are a few obvious favorites that might not work for all voices: "Nessun dorma" (Turandot), "La donna é mobile" (Rigoletto), and "Vesti la giubba" (I pagliacci). I love to hear "Dein ist mein ganzes Herz" from The Land of Smiles by Lehár, and another operetta piece that could be fun is "Softly, as in a morning sunrise" from The New Moon by Sigmund Romberg. "On the Street Where You Live" (My Fair Lady) and "Almost Like Being in Love" from Brigadoon are two of my favorite golden-age musical theater pieces for tenor.
The most obvious choice here would be "Largo" from Barber of Seville, but I know that is not everyone's cup of tea! Torreador Song from Carmen is also a great one for baritones.
If you're a lower voice, maybe try "Le veu d'or" from Faust or even "O Isis und Osiris" from Magic Flute. If you can purr out those sweet low notes, audiences up close will feel the rumble!
"Surrey with the fringe on the top" from Oklahoma! is fun, and you can have a soprano or a mezzo step in and sing the few lines of Laurie in the middle of the piece if you're performing it at a gala. I think "Edelweiss" from The Sound of Music or "If I Were a Rich Man" from Fiddler on the Roof could also be good. If you're a lower voice, even if you are too young to be cast in the roles, check out "Some Enchanted Evening" (South Pacific), "Try to Remember" (Fantasticks), or even "I am the very model of a modern major general" (Pirates of Penzance). The first two will melt the hearts of even the iciest donor (not that NMO has any icy donors, mind you!) and the latter is sure to get some good chuckles, especially if you can ad lib your own words on the last repeat.
I hope some of these "party songs" might work for you, or at least get you thinking about music that you think might be entertaining for up-close-and-personal performances like the NMO Soirées.
P.S. If you would like to host a New Moon Opera Soirée, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!