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Audition Tips; On Controversy

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From late January to early March, some 3,500 artists will audition for Juilliard. The halls are packed, the tension is high. Four student admissions bloggers—a dancer, an actor, a singer, and a flutist—talk about their own audition experiences and offer some advice about how to cope with this “long-scary, and stressful day." Among the highlights: The faculty wants you to succeed. Fight the impulse to run away. Take a moment to savor being here. Double-check your audition requirements. And schedule something fun afterward. Good luck to all!

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Of course this is all going on in the midst of the usual artistic ferment that is Juilliard. “The job of the musician is to move the soul of the listener,” Laurence Cummings—who's directing Juilliard Opera's staged production of Handel's Agrippina—said in a Journal interview.

Those words can be extended to all the arts, and even the thorniest artworks. This month, Shakespeare's Othello—a classic example of a controversial play—is part of the fourth-year repertory cycle. Justin Cunningham, who plays the lead, asked director Jonathan Rosenberg if there's something positive that can be taken from a play brimming with tough, racist language and ideas. “Ultimately, the audience has to make a choice,” Rosenberg said. “Do we engage the world in a suspicious way—assuming the worst about people—because frequently those suspicions come true? Or is it better to live one's life embracing friends and expecting the best of people and understanding that disappointments are merely the scars of life that are necessary to live?” The arts can help us make those decisions, however tough they might be.

Susan Jackson

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