It can be especially difficult to find auditions without a manager or agent. However, there are a few important steps that you can take to help you still be seen. One very important step is to know exactly what and who you are auditioning for. No one wants to see any singer be humiliated, and so it’s necessary to know what the company is expecting to see from you. On that same note, come well prepared. Be well-practiced and memorized on your repertoire, and understand the text and, especially if it is an aria, the context of the piece.
The best place to start looking for auditions is in New York City, and while living there can be very expensive, it’s possible to sublet for a month or two to spend some time auditioning and hope that you at least make some good impressions even if you are not hired. Since connections are so important in this field, working with teachers, coaches, directors, and conductors from the New York area can help you get a leg up.
If you are trying to find where specifically to audition, the New Forum for Classical Singers, Classical Singer Magazine, and Opera America all offer information about upcoming auditions. Additionally, you can always call up companies that you are hoping to work for and ask about when their next round of auditions is, and what roles they will be auditioning.
Always keep in mind that even some of the best singers only get about one in twenty roles they audition for, and for many singers with no manager and less experience it might be a low as one in a hundred. This is not an easy field, and as long as you are doing you best and giving good auditions, you just have to keep trying until you succeed.