There is no place in the world with more opera performances than Germany and German speaking theaters.
2017 - 2018 Opera Season
6159 performances of 977 productions, in 78 cities Mozart-626 / 96, Verdi-621 / 95, Puccini-388 / 69, Wagner 370 / 81.
1058 performances of 175 productions, in 10 cities Mozart-113 / 15, Verdi-96 / 15, Puccini-33 / 10, Wagner-32 / 10.
Audition season these days consists of two time periods-October to early December, and mid January to May, except for the time around Easter. Germany does have many holidays which vary in the different Bundesländer (like our States).
You will need at least six weeks, since most of the time you will first sing for agents, who will then send you to theaters.
Theaters may be auditioning for a Festvertrag (salaried, one-three year contract) or a Stuckvertrag (an engagement for a particular production). They generally start looking for someone for a Festvertrag starting November. Since they usually know what their upcoming season will be by March or April, this is when they get serious if they have not already engaged someone.
Looks are more important than ever, and physical issues can be disqualifying in certain “Spiel” Fächer (Soubretts and Comprimario’’’’’’’.
The ability to speak some German is also essential for many agents and theaters, particularly in those same “Spiel” Fächer.
Unless you are entering at the highest level, studying German is now essential. When I started, theaters had the time, patience and resources to help young singers learn, but no more!