Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


THE AUDITION. Director: Susan Froemke. Shown on Great Performances at the Met/PBS.

This documentary looks at the 2007 semi-finals of the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions. The film is very good at getting across the intensity and sometimes the desperation of the singers who are all too well aware of how important it is to become one of the finalists. The sopranos almost all seem to fit the stereotype of the very hefty -- okay, obese -- opera singer while the gentlemen are more of a mixed bag and in better physical shape. Talented tenor Michael Fabiano [pictured] has such a raw emotional need to make it that the film's most dramatic moment comes at the end when he stands figuratively naked on the stage waiting to hear whose name will be called for the last slot [I won't give it away but I will say that Fabiano has since sung at La scala]. Another winner, Ryan Smith, is an amiable African-American who died of cancer shortly after this film was made; it may have given his poor mother some comfort to know that he got to sing at the Met -- the high point of every opera singer's career-- before he died, and that he spent his last days pursuing his dreams. Alek Shrader is another talented tenor who gets a lot of screen time in the film.

Verdict: Compelling behind-the-scenes look at ambition, talent, and heartbreak. ***.

1 comment:

The Audition 2004 said...

This is the film Directed by Julie Dove with Phillip Wilburn as Vern, Joe Bob, Julie Dove as Lily, Besty, Elsie. I saw some scene of this film but movie seems to be interesting one.