Great Opera Choruses

Sunday, 4:00 p.m.
November 20, 2016
Keefe Tech High School
750 Winter Street
Framingham, MA

Music that singers love to sing
and audiences love to hear.
Sung in English, with full orchestra,
and soprano soloist Susan Consoli.

Concert Program

Mozart: Overture to Die Zauberflöte

Handel: Chorus of Enchanted Islanders
(from Alcina)

Rossini: Villagers’ Chorus
(from Guillaume Tell)

Leoncavallo: Bell Chorus
(from Pagliacci)

Handel: Felicissima quest’alma 
(from Apollo e Dafne)

Beethoven: Prisoners’ Chorus
(from Fidelio) — tenors/basses

Mozart: Voyagers' Chorus
(from Idomeneo)

Bizet: March of the Toreadors
(from Carmen)


Mascagni: Easter Hymn
(from Cavalleria Rusticana)

Tchaikovsky: Chorus of Peasant Girls
(from Eugene Onegin) — sopranos/altos

Verdi: Anvil Chorus
(from Il Trovatore)

Verdi: Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves
(from Nabucco)

Verdi: Triumphal Scene
(from Aïda)

Directions and Parking

Click "More options" in the following map for directions. Parking is available either at the east end of the school near the school buses (enter east door) or close to Winter Street (enter center door). Use the east door for the easiest and closest access to the concert auditorium.

Program Notes

Handel: Alcina, Chorus of Enchanted Islanders
First performance: April 16, 1735, London (Covent Garden)

This is one of three operas Handel wrote in the 1730s on librettos deriving from Ariosto's Orland furioso. Alcina is an enchantress who entices heroes into her domain to become her lovers, transforming them into rocks, streams, trees or wild beasts. The chorus comes at the beginning of the opera and is sung by her captives after her palace has dramatically appeared from the middle of a mountain.

Rossini: Guillaume Tell, Villagers’ Chorus
First performance: August 3, 1829 Paris (Opéra)

The opera is set in Switzerland in the thirteenth century and is based on a famous play by Schiller. The Swiss are smarting under the rule of the Austrian governor Gesler; eventually he is shot by William Tell with the second of two arrows (the first of which has shot the famous apple from his son’s head) and the Swiss gain their freedom. “Quel jour serein” opens the opera and sets the scene.

Leoncavallo: Pagliacci, Bell Chorus
First performance: May 21, 1892 Milan (Teatro dal Verme), conducted by Toscanini

The opera is set in Calabria in the 1860s and involves interplay between the dramatic activity of a group of commedia dell’arte players and their real emotions, played out before a village audience. The Bell chorus is an interlude sung by villagers as the church bells announce Vespers.

Beethoven: Fidelio, Prisoners’ Chorus
First performance: November 20, 1805 Vienna (Theater an der Wien) with the title Leonore, extensively revised 1806 and 1814

The opera is set in the eighteenth century, in a fortress near Seville. Beethoven’s version of what the libretto author claimed was a true story has come to symbolize not only the desire for and achievement of freedom from tyranny but also the power of conjugal love. Florestan is secretly imprisoned by the wicked Pizarro. Florestan’s wife Leonora disguises herself as a man (under the name Fidelio) and gets a job as assistant to the chief gaoler (Rocco). Pizarro fears an inspection of the prison from Don Fernando, a senior member of the government, so decides to kill Florestan, but the trumpet-call announcing Fernando’s arrival comes just as Leonora reveals her identity and dares Pizarro to kill her as well. All ends happily, except for Pizarro. The chorus of prisoners occurs towards the end of the first of the two acts; at Leonora’s request, the prisoners are allowed into the courtyard in honour of the king's birthday. Their delight in their temporary freedom is a foretaste of the general rejoicing at the end of the opera.

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