The Verdi Chorus Presents Italian Opera and Art Songs

Annemarie DonkinBy Annemarie Donkin      April 2, 2021

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The Verdi Chorus Presents Italian Opera and Art Songs
PHOTO BY TIM BERRETH The Fox Singers are dedicated to the mission of The Verdi Chorus to provide performance opportunities for young professional singers.
Classical music lovers rejoice! In the second of three musical offerings, The Verdi Chorus founder and artistic director Anne Marie Ketchum has dreamed up a delightful musical soirée entitled Amoré della Vita, Love of Life Italian Style. The second concert of its 38th season features an all-Italian repertoire performed by six members of The Fox Singers, a group dedicated to the mission of The Verdi Chorus to provide performance opportunities for young professional singers. The featured soloists in Amoré della Vita are sopranos Tiffany Ho, Megan Lindsey McDonald and Sarah Salazar; mezzo-soprano Ariana Stultz and tenors Elias Berezin and Joseph Gárate singing a selection of operatic and Neapolitan Art Songs.
PHOTO BY SHAWN FLINT BLAIR Artistic Director Anne Marie Ketchum dreamed up an online musical soiree of operatic and Neapolitan Art Songs.
For the concert, Ketchum chose songs by opera composers Gioachino Rossini (The Barber of Seville); Ruggero Leoncavallo (Pagliacci) and Pietro Mascagni (Cavalleria Rusticana). The classical repertoire also includes popular Italian love songs that celebrate the spirit of Amoré della Vita, love of life.

“These are pastoral kinds of songs and art songs; all in Italian,” Ketchum said. “Opera is like a novel; art songs are like poems. For the repertoire, I used three different opera composers known for art songs; Neapolitan popular songs with beautiful melodies, and fun lively songs with a lot of variety, attitude, color and tempo.”

To enhance the experience, Ketchum will provide an introduction in English for each song.

For the online performances, each of the singers were professionally recorded in a state-of-the-art studio by Matthew Snyder, a Grammy Award-winning recording engineer and Grammy Award-nominated producer “at the highest quality that it could possibly be done,” Ketchum said.
Bonus! The Verdi Chorus Pandemic Cookbook
In addition to musical offerings, Ketchum urges everyone to order their brand-new ‘Verdi Chorus Pandemic Cookbook,” produced exclusively for the concert. Helping to create such a tantalizing feast for the palette is Topanga’s own Lorna Brittan Bank. She has been credited with coordinating the group’s first foray into publishing with an official cookbook featuring more than 180 recipes from chorus members and guest artists.

Brittan Bank wrote of her experience helping put the cookbook together: “In the fall of 2014, I had the wonderful opportunity to join The Verdi Chorus as a first alto and in the fall of 2018, I was invited to join the Board of Directors and continue to serve in that capacity. When Robin Van Zak (first alto and board member) came up with the brilliant idea of a Verdi Chorus Pandemic Cookbook in 2020, I was excited to work on this project with her along with Paul Camp (baritone and board member).

“I love to be on the organizing and creative end of worthwhile projects and with all of us on forced lockdown for a year, this challenge of doing something really special held great appeal to me personally. The three of us brainstormed and decided we would encourage recipe contributions not just from our chorus members (past and present), but also from our brilliant past guest soloists, all of whom are famously renowned in the opera world.”

Pre-order the official Pandemic Cookbook: ($17 + $3 S&H)

The Verdi Chorus was founded in 1983 by Anne Marie Ketchum to provide opportunities for talented amateur singers to perform side-by-side with professional singers.

The chorus started its life at the Verdi Restaurant, but when the restaurant closed in 1991, they continued, eventually gaining nonprofit status. It has a repertoire of more than 300 choruses from 81 operas in seven languages.

“Once again, we are not charging a viewing fee for this online concert but are asking instead that our audiences consider a personal donation to our recently established Artist Relief Fund,” Ketchum said. “Details are on the Verdi Chorus website and funds received will be sent exclusively to our wonderful and highly talented musicians.”

The Concert will continuously stream online from April 11-25 at
Annemarie Donkin
      April 2, 2021

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