Culver City Observer -

Verdi Chorus To Present "Fire and Spice"


November 12, 2015

By Steven Lieberman

Observer Reporter

The Verdi Chorus will present their “Fire and Spice” fall concert in honor of Maestro Aurelio de la Vega in honor of his 90th birthday. This is the chorus’ 33rd year of showcasing glorious operatic repertoire and will include excerpts from the operas Don Carlo, Samson and Delilah, La Vida Breva, Otello, Il Trovatore and Carmen, among others.

The dates are November 21 (7:30 pm) and Sunday, Nov. 22 (4 pm) at the First United Methodist Church, 1008 11th Street, Santa Monica.

Here is the birthday message sent to de la Vega from LA Philharmonic conductor Maestro Gustavo Dudamel:

“On the occasion of Maestro Aurelio de la Vega’s milestone 90th birthday, I send my warmest greetings and good wishes to him. It is with great respect that I salute him for his work and for his commitment to educating generations of young composers in Cuba and the United States. Happy Birthday Maestro!”

Why was the theme “Fire and Spice” chosen?

With the versatility of which perhaps only Giuseppe Verdi was capable, he presents three different versions of fire in both its beauty and its destructive terror. And the spice in their concert is exemplified in some of the varied risqué settings and gypsy characters in other operas that will be performed.

All led by esteemed Artistic Director/Conductor Anne Marie Ketchum and accompanied by the Julliard-trained and accomplished pianist Laraine Ann Madden.

An internationally-renowned triumvirate of soloists has also been assembled to ensure a truly remarkable event led by the return of fan favorite baritone Roberto Perlas Gomez. Joining him will also be tenor Todd Wilander and mezzo-soprano Audrey Babcock.

Renowned flamenco dancer Misuda Cohen will also perform.

Highly-skilled section leaders from the chorus will also join the soloists on an assortment of songs.

Priority seating is available for $40, general admission is $30, seniors are $25, and students 25 and under with a valid ID are $10. Tickets can be purchased through the link on their website’s homepage at or call 800-838-3006.

A complimentary reception is held immediately following the concert where refreshments are served and the audience can greet the performers.

Free parking is available directly across the street.


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