Pasadena Opera holds auditions annually. Our 2018 season has been cast.
To to notified of future auditions, please email your resume to: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Singers are asked to bring two contrasting pieces, one of which must have been written in the last 100 years and sung in English. You may elect to bring your own pianist or you may use ours for a fee of $10, paid directly to the pianist (please bring cash or check).
In 2019, we will present the world premiere of our first commission, The Bloody Chamber, with music by Daniel Felsenfeld and libretto by Elizabeth Gold, based on the Angela Carter novella. Dates and venue are still TBA but we are looking for singers interesting in getting involved early in the process. Details of characters below:
The Bloody Chamber
An Opera in Two Acts
Music by Daniel Felsenfeld
Libretto by Elizabeth Isadora Gold
Dora (lyric soprano)
The Marquis (high baritone)
Artist’s Model (middle-to-high mezzo)
Opera Singer (coloratura soprano)
Sophie (lyric soprano)
Dora (already cast but a cover will be considered)
A lauded opera singer, just twenty, who is giving up the stage to marry the Marquis, a spectacularly wealthy man of questionable character. Dora’s notions of love are drawn from her work: overblown, high-contrast, and a little dangerous. Drawn to mystery above affection, Dora’s acceptance of bad bargains stems from her childhood. Her mother sacrificed for Dora’s music lessons, always planning for her eventual “successful” marriage, rather than her singing career. Initially, Dora sees the marriage as an escape from her family – as well as to riches beyond anything she ever imagined. A newcomer to the demi-monde, no one warned her of the risks in accepting the Marquis’ ring. As the piece begins, Dora is overwhelmed by her first sexual experiences, mistaking the feelings they engender, as so many girls do, for love. Her reality is, however, more complex: her music has brought her a depth far beyond her real life experiences. When things start to go wrong with the Marquis, Dora is able to call upon the complex worlds she’s already inhabited on the stage, and in her work. It is important to remember that we meet Dora – that all of the opera’s actions take place – over the most confusing 48 hours of her life: leaving her home for parts unknown, her wedding day, losing her virginity, and then discovering her husband is a mass murderer. Therefore, the mix and range of Dora’s emotions will be histrionically, hysterically wide. Part calls for nudity but it is not required.
A legendary lothario – his sexual perversions are infamous, as were those of his father and grandfather – the Marquis been married three times before wedding his “Little Dora.” One of the wealthiest men in France, he’s increased his considerable inheritance in all the worst ways: poppy cultivation, white slavery, etc. The Marquis begins as the ultimate simpatico confidante to a variety of talented, unconventional women, giving the impression that they hold his heart. In reality, this is the romantic first act of his deadly game. The rumor is that the Marquis couldn’t convince another woman of taste and experience to move to his remote castle in Brittany. “They never come back!” has been whispered behind too many fans in Parisian salons. Part calls for nudity but it is not required.
The Ghost of the Countess
Romanian royalty, and the Marquis’ first wife. She married him for love, believing they were well matched in birth, land, and cruelty. Being from the land of Dracula, she feels the most foolish of the wives after her death. It’s humiliating to have fallen for such an obvious psychopath, and she worries that perhaps her own sexual cruelties may have incited him to previously unplumbed depths of violence. She is wrong. The Marquis would have murdered her no matter what she did; to him, her games were a light hors d’oeuvre to the main course.
The Ghost of the Artist’s Model
The Marquis’ second wife was also the famed muse to many painters. Actually, she was a brilliant artist in her own right. The Marquis discovered her when he bought one of her portraits. After so many years of struggle, long nights over absinthe with male painters who only saw her as a lush subject, the marriage was a deep relief and solace: finally, someone truly understood her. The Marquis had sought her out in her own studio, convincing her that once they married she would live happily in the castle, painting masterpieces of the rough Brittany landscape. The Model didn’t believe her soul mate was serious about his “secret” chamber. When she failed his perverse test, he slipped poison into her morning chocolate, and then killed her slowly, preserving her beauty. Part calls for nudity but it is not required.
The Ghost of the Actress
The Marquis’ third wife and greatest love (she was such tricky prey). The Marquis pursued her for years, but she viewed his wooing as an opportunity to hone her seductive craft. Once he’d finally, genuinely won her heart and hand, the Actress was too entranced by the material luxuries of her new life – jewels, gowns, gluttonously lavish meals, and the royal title – that she did not look in the chamber over a year. When she finally did, she managed to escape the castle. Employing her talents for disguise and accents, she lived on the run. The Marquis hunted for her for years, even as he courted and wedded the Artist’s Model. When the Marquis finally found the Actress, he killed her as she slept.
Sophie, the Servant Girl
The latest in a long line of servants from the village. While it is common knowledge that the prettiest girls who work in the castle tend to disappear, there is little other work to be had, especially in winter. Sophie is the same age as Dora.