Is the date for that big audition getting closer? Are you looking around for the best audition songs for mezzo-sopranos? This could be a big deal. They haven’t invited you along to make the tea, have they? They want to hear you because they think you are worth listening to.
So, you have got to impress them, and that is not going to be easy. You will need to stand out from the rest. The people watching will probably have done this a hundred times before. It may even be a process they don’t like but have to go through.
- What To Choose?
- Do You Know What The Audition Is For?
- What Is A Mezzo-Soprano
- Shall We Dance? From The King And I
- Something Wonderful (finale) from The King and I
- Secret Love from Calamity Jane
- Love Look Away from The Flower Drum Song
- There’s No Business Like Show Business from Annie Get Your Gun
- Another Suitcase In Another Hall from Evita
- Hopelessly Devoted To You from Grease
- There Are Worse Things I Could Do from Grease
- Hello Young Lovers from The King And I
- Climb Ev’ry Mountain from The Sound of Music
- As Long As He Needs Me from Oliver Twist
- Somewhere from Westside Story
- Great Music from Great Shows and Films
- My Immortal by Evanescence featuring Amy Lee
- Sinéad by Within Temptation featuring Sharon Den Adel
- Plenty To Consider
- Showing What You Can Do
- Looking for Great Songs to Sing?
- Best Audition Songs for Mezzo-Sopranos – Final Thought
What To Choose?
Always a very difficult thing. Do you go with songs that are popular for auditions? Ones that they may have heard two dozen times before? Or do you try something new and be brave?
Do You Know What The Audition Is For?
Have you any idea of the part they want to fill? They have given you a choice of your own material, so it might be anything. But if you have an idea, then it isn’t a bad idea to lean in that direction.
There are plenty of songs from musicals you can choose from. There are also plenty of songs that are not from musicals that will show off what you can do. And that is what they really want to see. What can you do? Can you generate emotion? Are you believable when you sing the lyrics?
What Is A Mezzo-Soprano
The mezzo-soprano sits between soprano and contralto. The tone is usually rich and resonant and is a perfect fit for much of the music we hear today. The range is usually between A3 to A5, but some can go either slightly above or below.
So, let’s make a few suggestions. I will include some of the great mezzo-soprano songs from musicals, some maybe not so well known. And also, throw in a couple of surprises along the way. Something to allow you to be different. As I said, you need to stand out. Let’s make a start.
Shall We Dance? From The King And I
We’ll start with one of the great musicals from the 50s, if not of all time, “The King And I.” Rodgers and Hammerstein were masters of writing great musicals, and this is certainly one.
It was based on the memoirs of Anna Leonowens, who was the governess to the children of King Mongkut of Siam, now Thailand, in the 1860s.
It recounts the experiences of this school teacher hired to try and modernize a country that refused to be modernized. She has a ‘love-hate’ relationship with the King with an emphasis on the former. This song recounts that special moment when they finally admit that the former is the stronger.
Something to keep in mind
You will be fine performing this as long as there isn’t a Thai on the auditioning panel. Even now, the musical itself, the film, the music, and even the story are banned in Thailand. They seem to think it shows them in a bad light. Their loss.
Premiered in 1951 in New York, this song encapsulates the greatness of the composers and the optimism in the lyrics. A good choice.
Something Wonderful (finale) from The King and I
One more from “The King and I,” this time in a different mood. At the finale, one of the King’s wives tries to explain to Anna, the teacher, the complexity of how the King thinks. How he is torn between what he wants and what he can have.
It is a touching moment as Anna is confronted with the realities of duty as the King sees it. An outstanding song, in the original, beautifully sung. It is certain to give you the chance to put in a big performance if you can get it right.
A Delicate Balance
It is a fine balance between acting out the part and singing the song. But also being believable at the same time. With songs like this, it’s easy to go too far down the sympathy road. But get it right, and you’ve got a performance from you they will remember.
Secret Love from Calamity Jane
This was one of the big films of the early 50s starring most people’s heartthrob, Doris Day. And it is she that sings this great song that was only one of several great songs from the film.
Was Calamity Jane a fictitious character? Not a bit of it. She was a rough, tough, tobacco-chewing, whisky-drinking wildcat. The antithesis of the glamorous Miss Day. But she was also a humanitarian. For years she spent her time in the town of Deadwood nursing victims of the smallpox epidemic.
Love in the Wild West
Rumor has it that she was in love with ‘Wild Bill’ Hickok, but he paid her no attention. Was the song in the film sung to him? Could have been on someone’s mind when it was written. When she died in 1903, she was buried next to him.
This is a tender love song that will stir a few memories for those old enough to remember the film. And also impress those that aren’t. A good choice for a mezzo-soprano audition song, if only because of the quality of the song.
Love Look Away from The Flower Drum Song
The Flower Drum Song was a 1958 stage musical from 1958 turned into a film in 1961. The eighth musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein. It was a piece of work that broke down plenty of barriers. It was the first musical and the first film to have a predominantly Asian-American cast.
I have included this not as a popular mezzo-soprano audition song but as one that demonstrates vocal ability. It is not the easiest song to listen to musically.
And, it certainly isn’t the easiest song to sing. But it is a “musical” song, and if that is what they need from you, then this will impress.
There’s No Business Like Show Business from Annie Get Your Gun
Just like Calamity Jane, another stage musical made into a film based on the life of a female western character. Annie Oakley was a renowned sharpshooter and a member of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.
This then is a little more lighthearted in its approach to the subject, probably because the character was quite a bit different.
Written by Irving Berlin, this is a bit of a lighthearted romp and allows a lot of creative freedom in its interpretation. I have included it for that reason. It is a good song to punch out, but also to act the part a little. Something those auditioning could well be interested in seeing.
Another Suitcase In Another Hall from Evita
“Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” may have been the ‘big’ song from this musical by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. But in my opinion, this wasn’t far behind in quality.
Covered by quite a few people, but in my opinion, Barbara Dickson made the finest version. A simplistic expression of what the song is about. And it didn’t include all the ‘I am a supposed superstar, listen to me’ attitude about it.
It needs to be portrayed with the theme of the song very much in mind. Webber and Tim Rice managed to capture the strange nomadic existence that some people have these days by using a suitcase. Constantly moving and changing, with no roots and no base.
Delicate But In Some ways Brutal
Dickson controls the song with delicacy and sadness. But then hits you with the line “take your picture off another wall,” which is quite brutal in its meaning.
Another song that allows some passion and emotion to be injected. If you can do that and cut out the overdone histrionics of some, you will deliver a great performance.
Hopelessly Devoted To You from Grease
In some people’s eyes, this is one of the best musical films or stage musicals that we have seen in decades. And it still has such a great appeal.
There is something about 50s America that holds a romantic notion, whether it’s realistic or otherwise. Quite a large number of people who are the biggest fans weren’t even born.
Nevertheless, it was a time that held dreams and promises for the future. However misguided those dreams were to prove to be.
It Typified An Age
Grease was one of those productions that typified an age. Rock n Roll, rebellious kids, dressed-up cars, and plenty of leather, it was all there. So, it was bound to be a success. And add in Olivia Newton-John, and you have a sure-fire winner.
This is a great song taken from the show that was almost out of place in the production. But it is a good song that needs delicate handling. Great for an audition because maybe many others won’t choose it, and those watching will all know it.
There Are Worse Things I Could Do from Grease
Stockard Channing, in my book, was one of the unsung heroes of Grease with her performance. And it was typified in this, another great song from the film.
This is a song that wasn’t included so much for its overall quality, but for what you can do with it as a singer. She starts with some dialogue and then breaks into the song. If they are looking for someone to act a part as well as be able to sing, then this is the song that will do it.
When you choose a song like this, you have not only to sing the song but live the part. We all know Rizzo and how she was portrayed, so you have to be able to produce something similar.
Not by how you dress, but by actions, voice inflections, and even the way you walk while singing it. Get this right, and they will be in for a pleasant surprise.
Hello Young Lovers from The King And I
Let’s go back to this outstanding work from the great Rodgers and Hammerstein. A well-known musical-type song and one that is included not necessarily because it is the best song in the show. But, because it offers the chance to add a little bit of role-playing as well as singing the song.
Those auditioning are going to want to hear a good voice, but they will also want to see how you interpret lyrics. And then be able to put that into the context of your performance. This is a great song for that.
Climb Ev’ry Mountain from The Sound of Music
And so we move into the realms of some of the greatest songs and some of the great performances from the stage and film. Peggy Wood is a name that doesn’t resonate with most as Julie Andrews does. But her role in The Sound of Music was vital. And this song was one of the big moments.
A stunning voice that it would be near impossible to copy. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider including this song. It is going to test your voice, of course, and they will be looking for that.
But it will also demonstrate how you can relate to the lyrics and put the song across accordingly. A big song demands a big performance. And easily one of the best audition songs for mezzo-sopranos.
As Long As He Needs Me from Oliver Twist
This is one of the great songs from Lionel Bart’s adaptation of Charles Dickens Oliver Twist. Sung with great feeling by Nancy, a petty thief and member of Bill Sykes’s gang of thieves. It is passionate and sincere but tragic as Sykes, of course, murders her.
All of those emotions have to be packed into this song. She loves him but is terrified of his temper, justifiably so in the end. That feeling has to come across.
The most famous recording
The one by Shirley Bassey, who nailed it. Not bad for a singer who forgot on the day to turn up at the studio for the recording. She went to the cinema instead. Abbey Road Studio One was not cheap, and they had to be out by 5.30 pm.
They found her in the cinema and dragged her down to the studio by 5.10 pm. She had twenty minutes. And then she delivered a performance that sent shivers. Pure talent. Don’t be late for your audition; you probably won’t be treated the same.
Somewhere from Westside Story
We close our look at the great mezzo-soprano songs for your audition with a song that has become a legend. Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim joined forces on this interpretation of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
It turned out to be a masterpiece, and this song probably led the way amongst some great music. So, this song needs careful handling, and if you have seen the product, you will know why.
A power-packed performance
It is sung by Consuelo, a friend of Maria’s. Maria herself sings the first few lines as Tony lies dying in her arms after he has been shot.
A great song, one of the best, packed with feelings, emotion, and history about 50s America. As I have said, it needs a careful performance, but also a big performance. You’ve got to be brave to try this, but get it right, and you will wow the panel.
Great Music from Great Shows and Films
But what if you want to step outside of this and do something different. I would think that the majority of those auditioning will choose songs from musicals or films. To do something unexpected might work in your favor.
There are plenty of great songs for mezzo-sopranos to sing at an audition. Here are just two.
My Immortal by Evanescence featuring Amy Lee
This is a song from the US metal band’s first album, Fallen, released in 2003. It featured in many of their stage concerts for years.
It is a good choice as something different because the backing is not full-on. This allows the vocal to be at the center of the song. A good opportunity to let your voice cut through and be heard in what is a very good song.
Sinéad by Within Temptation featuring Sharon Den Adel
We have reached the end of this list of the best audition songs for mezzo-sopranos. A powerful song and performance from Sharon den Adel of the Dutch band Within Temptation.
‘Symphonic Rock’ is the best way of describing them, and this has everything. Powerful chorus, plenty of orchestra along with thundering guitars, drums, and bass.
It has an unexpected break in the middle that allows the vocal to demonstrate a softness, which is the opposite of what has been going on before it. Something different? Then this is worth considering.
Plenty To Consider
That is what I have tried to give you. There are some timeless classics that others will consider, of course. But, there are some other songs from the shows that leave an impact, and that is what you need to do.
Showing What You Can Do
Auditions are about demonstrating your abilities. But they are also about showing you have ‘an edge.’ Something different. You want the people watching you to leave remembering your performance. It might not be what they want for this part. But it could be for a future opportunity.
Looking for Great Songs to Sing?
We can help with that. Have a look at our detailed articles on Audition-Friendly Pop Songs for Baritones, the Best Audition Songs for Basses, the Best Audition Songs for Altos, the Best Audition Songs for Kids, and the Best Duet Karaoke Songs for more great musical options.
You’ll need to sing those songs. So, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Live Vocal Mics, the Best Wireless Microphones, the Best USB Microphones, the Best Microphones For Recording Vocals, and the Best Karaoke Microphones you can buy in 2023.
Best Audition Songs for Mezzo-Sopranos – Final Thought
One last thing. Always have another song ready to go. It may be the audition gets down to two or three, and you are one of them. They may ask you if you can do another song.
Make it as good as the first, and make it a little different to show your range of styles. Good luck, practice hard, and be brave in your choices.
Until next time, make yourself heard.