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By Steven Lieberman
Observer Reporter 

Verdi Chorus To Begin 35th Season


November 9, 2017

The Verdi Chorus start off their 35th anniversary season with their Fall 2017 concerts entitled “Love’s Passions and Potions” at the acoustically-sound First United Methodist Church in Santa Monica on November 18 and 19.

A jewel of the opera scene, they are the only choral group in Southern California that focuses primarily on the dramatic and diverse music for opera chorus.

Their Founding Artistic Director/Conductor Anne Marie Ketchum and Julliard-trained piano accompanist Laraine Ann Madden have fashioned a program with choral numbers and arias that will feature selections from Verdi’s Giovanna d’Arco and Un Ballo in Maschera, Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor andThe Elixir of Love, Massenet’s Manon, as well as selections from Romberg’s The Student Prince and The New Moon and Herbert’s Naughty Marietta.

Three gifted internationally-known soloists will be appearing: Greek-American soprano Jamie Chamberlin (praised for her “shimmering tones” and “star- struck vulnerability” by Opera News), tenor Nathan Granner (one of the original The American Tenors on Sony Classical), and baritone Ben Lowe, who will be making his New York debut this season at BAM, performing in Matthew Aucoin’s opera Crossing.

“I am so excited to launch the 35th season of The Verdi Chorus with this lush and melodic program," Ketchum said. "I am particularly pleased to have three exciting soloists. The chemistry in the duet between Jamie Chamberlin and Nathan Granner is electrifying…maybe because they are a couple off stage as well as on! And Ben Lowe’s rich baritone voice will charm all who hear him. The operas represented are full of beautiful melody and intriguing drama, not to mention some vocal fireworks too. Add to that the Walter Fox Singers and the wonderful duets and arias from our incredible guest soloists, and we will have a concert that will not only delight opera aficionados, but hopefully convert new listeners and audience members to this wonderful art form.”

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 tenors Richard Castillo and Justin Fatu Su’esu’e, and bass Alex Norwick. Each receives a scholarship to provide funds with which they can broaden their music studies. 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, fourteen 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, The Broad Stage, the Huntington Library, and the 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 website’s homepage at or by calling (800) 838-3006. Concerts are at 7:30 pm on Saturday, November 18th and 2 pm on Sunday, November 19.


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