South African opera music lovers and filmgoers can enjoy a beautifully crafted documentary that captures the nerve-wrecking process young singers go through in preparation for their audition for Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in New York. The documentary film, The Audition, which premiered in the US last April, will be screened by Fish Eagle Brandy Cinema Nouveau sites on July 24.
Every year, aspiring opera singers in America participate in the Met Opera auditions. Only five to six of the thousands of talented entrants win $15,000, a chance to perform on the Metropolitan Opera’s stage, and the looming possibility of launching an operatic career.
The Audition, directed by award-winning filmmaker Susan Froemke, looks at the intense pressures young opera singers face as they struggle to succeed in one of the most difficult professions in the performing arts. It covers the dramatic week leading up to the finals of the 2007 auditions, focusing on three very different tenor contestants: Michael Fabiano, a fiery 22-year-old grappling with his inner demons; Alek Shrader, a 25-year-old with movie-star looks who attempts to sing nine high Cs in the fiendishly difficult aria that made Pavarotti a star; and Ryan Smith, who at the age of 30, and with little formal training, is pursuing his dream of an operatic career.
The Audition is both a suspenseful competition narrative and a revealing backstage look at what it takes to make it as an opera singer.