Culver City Observer -

Verdi Chorus Returns To Santa Monica

Observer Reporter


April 13, 2017

The Verdi Chorus continues its 34th season with spring

concerts entitled "All's Fair in Love and War" at the

acoustically-sound First United Methodist Church in Santa

Monica on April 29 and 30.

Their Founding Artistic Director/Conductor Anne Marie

Ketchum and Julliard-trained piano accompanist Laraine

Ann Madden have fashioned the first half of the program

with choral numbers and arias of Vincenzo Bellini's La

Sonnambula, I Puritani, and Act I and the finale of Act II

from Norma.

The second half begins with the famous baritone prologue of

Leoncavallo's I Pagliacci, followed by the choral opening in

which the tenor protagonist welcomes the crowd. Then the

duet for Nedda and her secret lover Silvio which has become

an audience favorite.

The concerts conclude with the music of Mascagni and his

beloved Cavalleria Rusticana with it's choral opening and

crown the performance with the popular "Easter Chorus."

Three gifted internationally-known soloists will be

appearing: audience-favorites soprano Shana Blake Hill and

baritone Roberto Perlas Gómez, with tenor Todd Wilander

also returning. Blake Hill had recent successes with

Cincinnati Opera’s production of Daniel Catán’s Florencia

en el Amazones and her latest recording appears on the

Naxos label with a performance of Chinese-American

composer Bright Sheng’s latest work for soprano and


The Phoenix performed with the Seattle Symphony under

Gerard Schwarz. She also recently debuted the same work

with the renowned Philadelphia Orchestra under the baton

of Charles Dutoit.

Wilander was a winner of the Metropolitan Opera National

Council Auditions and made his Met debut in their most

recent production of Lucia di Lammermoor and returned for

Count Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia and Beppe in I

Pagliacci. He has made a specialty of bel canto repertory as

the Duke in Rigoletto and Edgardo in Lucia, both of which he

has sung with the New York City Opera.

The Chorus is also proud to continue with the Apprentice

Singers program that was established in 2015 in which

talented vocal music students at the college level gain the

opportunity to work with the Chorus in rehearsals and sing

operatic music in concert.

Participants in the program for this session are sopranos

Christina Roszhart and Haining Ren, mezzo-soprano Sophie

Patterson, tenor Manfred Anaya, and baritone William

Vallandigham. Each receives a scholarship to provide funds

with which they can broaden their music studies in many


Apprentices who successfully complete the program are

invited back to sing with the Chorus for subsequent sessions.

Further demonstrating the organization’s mission to provide

performance opportunities to young professional singers, 16

highly promising singers are hired as section leaders and

rehearsal coaches.

Also known as the Walter Fox Singers, named in memory of a

long-time Chorus and Board member, these singers assist the

Artistic Director, provide direction for their sections in

rehearsals, and have opportunities to perform as featured

singers in performances.

They also perform on occasion independently of the full

Chorus, serving as a showcase for the singers and as

ambassadors for the Verdi Chorus.

Performances of special arias and ensembles have been

presented at venues in Southern California including the

Annenberg Beach House, Broad Stage, Huntington Library,

and Nixon Library.

Priority seating is available for $40, general admission is $30,

seniors are $25, and students aged 25 and under with a valid

ID are $10.

Tickets are available for purchase through the link on their


s homepage at or by calling

(800) 838-3006. Concerts are at 7:30 pm on Saturday, April

29 and 2 pm on Sunday, April 30.


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