The Metropolitan Opera’s annual National Council Auditions have been known to make singers’ careers. Renee Fleming was a past winner, as was the bass baritone Samuel Ramey, Frederica von Stade and other opera greats.

Saturday and Sunday, the auditions take over the Flickinger Performing Arts Center at Nichols School (1250 Amherst St.).

The Four City District Auditions begin at 10 a.m. Saturday. Our “four cities” are actually five: Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Toronto and Montreal. Almost 50 singers are expected to participate. Two or three of Saturday’s contestants will advance to the Great Lakes Region Auditions, which begin at 1 p.m. Sunday and also involve the winners of the Michigan and Pittsburgh district auditions. One or two of Sunday’s auditioners will be selected as Great Lakes Region winners and travel to New York City in March for the semifinals.

The grand national finals take place at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City in March.

The public is welcome to observe this weekend’s auditions. Admission is free. A $5 donation is suggested – it’s a small price to pay for the drama involved. There is an exciting possibility that you might witness history – and see a magnificent talent in the making.

Though silence is imperative while the auditioners are singing, observers may feel free to come and go, unobtrusively, as they please. For additional information, call Mary Berlow at 885-2727 or Dianne Rubin at 875-5301.

– Mary Kunz Goldman