Music Preview: HÉLAS MON COEUR (The Verdi Chorus Spring 2022 Concert in Santa Monica)

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by Tony Frankel on May 10, 2022

in Music,Theater-Los Angeles


For two performances only this weekend, May 14-15, 2022, The Verdi Chorus is presenting its Spring 2022 Concert at Santa Monica’s First Presbyterian Church. This thoroughly professional outfit always sounds amazing. It’s such a treat to hear up-close opera choruses, as the voices can sometimes be lost when an opera is staged. And while you may not speak the languages here, you’ll understand every word! You will also hear, as guests, established opera soloists.

The Verdi Chorus is the only choral group in Southern California (and quite possibly the country) that focuses primarily on the dramatic and diverse music of the opera chorus. Every Monday night, over 40 singers from every walk of life gather together to become The Verdi Chorus.  This wide swath of people includes opera stars in the making, college students who have just begun to realize their operatic gifts, and talented opera aficionados.

The 39th season kicks off with Hélas mon Coeur, featuring selections from two Verdi operas (Ernani and Macbeth), Beethoven’s Fidelio, and sequences from Ponchielli’s La Gioconda and Giordano’s Andrea Chénier alongside selections from Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann. Founding Artistic Director Anne Marie Ketchum calls these selections “some of the most dramatic moments from some of the most powerful operatic works.”

The soloists are soprano Julie Makerov whom The Huffington Post declared “triumphant” in her performance of Senta in Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer with LA Opera; tenor Todd Wilander, who has returned for eight seasons thus far with The Metropolitan Opera; and renowned baritone Roberto Perlas Gómez who, with over 100 roles to his credit, has performed extensively throughout the U.S.

This concert is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Aurelio De La Vega, longtime board member and benefactor of the Verdi Chorus, who passed away in February. To carry on his important legacy of financial support to guest soloists, donations may be made to the Maestro Aurelio De La Vega Guest Artist Fund. Guest artists have included Shana Blake Hill, Malcom MacKenzie, Jamie Chamberlin, Nathan Granner, Audrey Babcock and Alex Boyer, to name a few.

Further demonstrating the organization’s mission to provide performance opportunities to young professional singers, sixteen highly promising singers are hired as section leaders and rehearsal coaches. Known as the Fox Singers, they assist the Artistic Director, provide direction for their sections in rehearsals, and have opportunities to perform as featured singers in performances. The Fox Singers also perform on occasion independently of the full Chorus, serving as a showcase for the singers and as ambassadors for The Verdi Chorus.


Hélas mon Coeur
The Verdi Chorus Spring 2022 Concert
First Presbyterian Church, 1220 2nd Street in Santa Monica
Saturday May 14 at 7:30 pm; Sunday, May 15 at 2:00 pm
for tickets, visit Verdi Chorua

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