What makes a chorus tick

What makes a chorus tick

Just this Friday I completed a near-3000-word article about the Canadian Opera Company Chorus that will come out in the Spring issue of Opera Canada. For it, I interviewed eight singers, one stage director and Sandra Horst, the COC chorus master. It was a hugely interesting assignment. The article follows the making of the season from the perspective of the chorus:

– the chorus master receives the program two years in advance

– runs the annual audition six months in advance of the start of the season, selects the singers

– singers working on their scores in advance of the rehearsals

– choral rehearsals with the chorus master only

– rehearsals with the director and the conductor

– music direction continues after the performances start (the chorus gets 15-min notes from the chorus master before every performance)

– how the choristers work with various stage directors; what productions stand out for them

– the choristers’ other life (some have full-time jobs in unrelated professions, others teach privately or within the school system, freelance as instrumentalists, or are working towards building a solo career).

The article will soon go through the copy-editing stage, so I can’t share more at this point, but I sure plan to once we’re close to publication. And I can’t wait to see what the design wizards of Opera Canada will do with the spread for this one.

Meanwhile, my thanks go to: bass Ken Baker, baritone (and violinist) Michael Sproule, tenor James Leatch, mezzos Lilian Kilianski, Erica Iris Huang and Karen Olinyk, sopranos Ingrid Martin and Alexandra Lennox-Pomeroy, director Samantha Seymour and natch the chorus master Sandra Horst. The singers are currently working on the three (to them completely new) scores, Hercules, Roberto Devereux and Don Quixote, all to be sung this spring.

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