Verdi Chorus To Feature Italian Passions

The Verdi Chorus, a jewel of the opera scene in Los Angeles, will take the stage with their spring concerts entitled Italian Passions on May 21 and 22.

Italian Passions is an appropriate title for their program because they'll be performing chorale masterpieces from three titans of Italian Opera, Italian composers: Verdi, Donizetti and Puccini. And three gifted internationally-known soloists will be appearing: tenor Todd Wilander, baritone Babatunde Akinboboye (a former Verdi Chorus member), and soprano Amanda Squitieri.

Chorale pieces and arias will be sung from many of these composers greatest works, including Nabucco, Madama Butterfly, Tosca, Don Pasquale, among other significant operas.

According to chorus member Tony Arn, "all three composers influenced and inspired his successors and proceeded to enlarge the Italian opera form, with Verdi and Puccini especially willing to defy tradition. The three bear many similarities in their careers, even given the slower rise to fame of Donizetti. Each devoted his career largely to composing operas, and all were gifted melodists who also realized the theatrical as well as the musical value of chorus. Perhaps above all in a form that demands not only music but theater and the visual arts, they each became skillful and determined 'men of theater.'"

"They were relentless taskmasters of their librettists and not above writing their own words for certain scenes. Verdi and Puccini began to insist on the acting abilities of their performers, Verdi going so far as to tell his original Macbeth that if he really understood his character, the music would take care of itself. Although not necessarily presented in chronological order in the composers' careers, our program includes both their early successes and more mature work."

Guided by music and founding artistic director Anne Marie Ketchum, and with the support on piano of their Julliard-trained accompanist Laraine Anne Madden, their soloists and the Chorus promise to make these performances among the most exciting in their 33 years before the public.

Priority seating is available for $40, general admission is $30 and seniors are $25. Students 25 and under with a Valid ID are $10. Tickets can be purchased from Brown Paper Tickets by clicking on the link on their website at or by calling 800-838-3006.

They perform in the magnificent acoustics of the First United Methodist Church of Santa Monica, 1008 11th Street, at 7:30pm on Saturday, May 21 and 4pm on Sunday, May 22.

They look forward to seeing you there as they continue to bring glorious opera to the community.


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