I just got an email announcing resumption of theater performances with audiences. Germany’s restrictions are easing, and while each Bundesland (the equivalent of States) has different procedures, my assumption is that many theaters will be doing the same, if they haven’t already.
There will probably be audience size restrictions and perhaps limitations on orchestra and/or chorus proximity, but barring Covid setbacks theaters should be approaching normal by the beginning of next year. Most theaters will be sticking with their current ensembles so there will be fewer vacancies. There will also be two years worth of music school graduates waiting to jump in, so auditions will be even more competitive than usual. These singers will likely get most of the September-December audition slots.
So, your best bet is in the period of January through pre-Easter-around the end of March, or from after the Easter vacatin period-end of April-early May until sometime in mid June. Osterferien-the Easter vacation is important to the Germans and auditions usually grind to a halt about two weeks before and after Easter itself. Additionally, flights are cheap, except of course around Easter. Theaters and agents don’t care much about the Winterferien, so don’t worry about that. The May-June time slot is more limited both in time and number of auditions, but on the other hand by this point many theaters are seriously looking for singers to fill slots in the upcoming season. Most of Germany is cold and damp from January through March and the days are short. That’s probably a big part of why they have so much theater, and if you can take it then, you’ll be able to handle life in Germany.
If you’re considering trying an audition tour this is a good time to get started. ZAV requires that you request auditions three months in advance so September/October is a good time to do that. The time period for contacting private agents is the same, but for different reasons. Many can’t currently reliably schedule because of Covid restrictions and won’t be able to do so until September. Under normal conditions their lead time is much shorter than ZAV, so if you are planning to be in Germany this Fall they are a good possibility. You’ll need a good track record and/or VERY strong audition videos to get heard. Remember the advice elsewhere on this site: if people want anything more than a €15-25 pianist fee and a small fee to defray the venue cost, they are not making money getting singers jobs, which is what real agents do. Politely turn them down.
This all means that if you want to audition in before the end of the 2021-2022 Season (Spielzeit) this summer is the time to prepare a really strong and professional quality audition videos. Sadly, the Pandemic ended the time when hand held cellphone videos were acceptable. Agents now need high quality audio and video to make snap judgements. You have to get their
attention very quickly and show them you are a performer ready to go. Many want to see how you move and some full body shots. If you have them, links to live performances are useful as well but be careful of amateurish presentations.
If you keep your flight and living costs down you’ll be able to stay longer or consider a second trip. Learning the language and understanding how things work takes time, and while some lucky ones get a job right away, it takes time for most of us! Look for tips on this site and talk with singers who have been there.