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In Conversation With...David Lomeli
Last December, members of the ABL Aviation Opera Studio were invited to join mezzo-soprano Tara Erraught in conversation with Director of Artistic Administration at The Dallas Opera (TDO) David Lomeli. Studio artist and conductor Elaine Kelly shares some of what they spoke about.
Lomeli, a highly successful tenor in his own right, joined The Dallas Opera (TDO) in 2014 as artistic coordinator and has since been named Director of Artistic Administration for TDO. He was also recently named Casting Director for Bavarian State Opera in Munich, effective in 2021. I was very much looking forward to this online seminar as I have been following the wonderful work of David and of TDO - in particular Dallas Opera’s Hart Institute for Women Conductors, of which David is the first manager. It was a very interesting conversation whereby Tara and David managed to cover many areas of interest for all studio members present in the session.
We were given a fascinating insight into the main differences between Europe and the USA for performing artists in opera, which was particularly interesting coming from David’s viewpoint. David suggested how one should approach an audition in the USA and in Europe, explained what appeals to the different houses or companies you might audition for and what to expect throughout the process, as well as what is expected of you. David also spoke in general how best to put yourself forward, how to stand out in an audition and how to “control the game”!
David and Tara discussed the importance of networking and self-producing in order to get noticed and to potentially book a job. As an artist, you need to be in front of people as much as possible, facetime with the likes of casting directors is invaluable and your presentation is equally important as well as your ability to work a room. Good social media, a professional headshot and an updated website is a must for an artist in today’s world to “be visible”. David also suggested that one should send that email - particularly this year during COVID, “you need to reach out, you have to hustle - you only need one reply”.
Following on from this, David touched on management and how it is “like finding your life partner - it is that important!”. Both Tara and David advised studio members on when one should start looking for management and why this may or may not be of benefit to you depending on what position you’re in. They suggested plenty of research in order to find the right person who will work best for you and described the process of artist management.
For the singers, David spoke of competitions, young artist programmes and ensemble positions - describing the advantages of choosing the ones that can work for you and how the decisions made in these can be of benefit to you, provide exposure and launch your career.
This was a fascinating discussion to be a part of and it was such a pleasure to meet David. I am incredibly thankful to both him and Tara for sharing such invaluable information in an open, honest and candid manner.
Top Tips and Takeaways:
- “Finding a manager is like finding your life partner - it’s that important!”
- “Be visible” - be good at social media, have a professional headshot and an updated website.
- Regarding auditions: “Know your voice, know the music and practise - if something goes wrong, then it’s not meant for you”.
- Regarding auditions: “Give yourself every chance, be on your game - be comfortable, research and prepare. Control the game, don’t wing it.”
- “Do your job, do your best and don’t take it personal.”