Songs of prayer, love, sadness, flirtation, drinking and quacking.
Va, pensiero (chorus of the Hebrew slaves) From Verdi's Nabucco 'This is a piece of music that everyone will know - you're guaranteed to have heard it before somewhere, and it's one of Verdi's most stirring choruses. The captured Hebrew slaves sing about their longing for their homeland, which reflects how the Italians felt in the 1840s under Austrian domination.'
Claire Hampton, soprano
Ave Maria From Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmelites 'This opera is based on the true story of the life - and death by guillotine - of an order of nuns during the French Revolution. In this chorus I sing Mother Marie who leads her order in prayer. It's full of spine-tingling a cappella harmonies - it reminds me of the beginning of the Sound of Music!
Nicola Morgan, soprano
Humming Chorus From Puccini's Madama Butterfly 'This serene, wordless chorus accompanies the Japanese geisha Butterfly as she sits up all night waiting for her American husbandto come home. Even after three years, she's never doubted he'll return and she's just seen his ship on the horizon. She doesn't realise her heart's about to be broken.'
Rosie Hay, soprano
Brindisi (Libiamo, libiamo) From's Verdi La Traviata 'I'm singing the role of Alfredo Germont, an admirer of the beautiful high-class courtesan Violetta, who he's fallen for at one of her wild, glamorous parties. She and her guests sing this exuberant famous drinking song, and Alfredo joins in, all the while trying to hide his true feelings from her.'
Michael Clifton-Thompson, tenor
Bruderlein und schwesterlein From J Strauss's Die Fledermaus 'I play Falke in this chorus. It's a complicated opera plot involving drunken pranks, a bat costume and lots of outrageous flirting. I lead this toast to universal brotherhood at a masked ball, but everyone's so drunk on champers they've lost the power of speech and can only sing 'dui-du'.
Philip Lloyd-Evans, bass
Good mornin'/I'm on my way From Gershwin's Porgy and Bess'This is the last number in the opera. I'm singing Porgy, who's just got out of prison to discover that Bess has left him for another man. He vows to find her and get her back. The chorus is a bit like a spiritual, with the most evocative accompaniment, like the sound of a train running along the tracks.'
Alastair Moore, bass
Spinning Chorus From Wagner's The Flying Dutchman 'I love this chorus as it's so light and flirty, amongst all the Wagnerian high passion!
We're sitting at our spinning wheels teasing the heroine, Senta, because she can't stop staring at the portrait of a mysterious sailor. He's been cursed to roam the seas for ever, unless he can find a pure and faithful love...'
Paula Bradbury, soprano
Di dons... quoi? (duck's chorus) From Rameau's Platee 'I'm singing the part of an ugly swamp nymph called Platee. She - yes, she - crawls out of her pond, accompanied by a men's chorus, quacking like ducks. Rameau was sailing pretty close to the wind when he wrote this comic opera, as the French Dauphin had just got engaged to an infamously ugly Spanish princess.' Ian Yemm, tenor
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|Publication:||The Birmingham Post (England)|
|Date:||Nov 6, 2004|
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