We can’t help but Viva L’Opera

Recently I had the great pleasure of attending the Texas Choral Consort’s Summer performance: “Viva L’Opera!” The program featured a wonderfully diverse array of choruses from many beloved operas.

While I expected to recognize a few of the tunes from the more famous operas,  and to enjoy a few I had never heard of before… I did not expect it to be so fun! You can always count on TCC delivering high-quality solo vocalists and well rehearsed synchronicity among the chorus artists, and choral pieces often have the reputation of being somber and contemplative.  But this summer consortium injected a bit of humor into the mix and kept our hearts light in the face of over-the-top tragic opera plot lines. The audience couldn’t help but laugh out loud throughout the performance.

To begin with, a video of “What’s Opera, Doc?” (the old Bugs Bunny cartoon) was played overhead while the chorus members filed in to their assigned places, row by row.

Then KMFA’s host, Dianne Donovan, came to the stage to officially introduce the program.

KMFA’s Dianne Donovan introduces the performance

And then the narrator walked on stage: Ev Lunning, Jr. provided short and hilarious narratives about each set of choruses, complete with props! (Mr. Lunning is a familiar face in Austin’s theatre scene, as well as a famous voice-over talent and TV artist.) He started out with a horned helmet, and later appearances included a bridal veil, a flowing red cape, an arrow through his head, and a large margarita glass!

Even the musicians got into the game…Occasionally, the percussionist would step forward in some sort of relevant outfit,   like a tricorn-type hat, or in one case, a welder’s garb for the Anvil Chorus:

And did I mention how great the singing was? 🙂 Here’s a partial clip of Kirsten Watson and Soon-Chan Kwon singing the lovely Brindisi from La Traviata:

Mezzo Soprano Kathryn Findlen sings a piece from Carmen…  She’s everything you could want in a Carmen!

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