The Verdi Chorus to Perform LOVE'S PASSIONS AND POTIONS This Fall

The Verdi Chorus to Perform LOVE'S PASSIONS AND POTIONS This Fall

The Verdi Chorus will present its Fall 2017 concert "Love's Passions and Potions" for two performances only at the First United Methodist Church in Santa Monica on November 18th and 19th led by Founding Artistic Director Anne Marie Ketchum.

As the only choral group in Southern California that focuses primarily on the dramatic and diverse music for opera chorus, their program will feature selections from Verdi's Giovanna d'Arco and Un Ballo in Maschera, Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor and The 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.

The program will feature three guest soloists: 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.

Founding Artistic Director Anne Marie Ketchum says, " I am so excited to launch the 35th season of The Verdi Chorus with this lush and melodic program. 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."

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. 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. The Walter Fox Singers 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.

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.

Performance times are Saturday, November 18th at 7:30 pm, and Sunday, November 19th at 2 pm at the First United Methodist Church in Santa Monica, located at 1008 11th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90403.

Tickets are available for purchase at www.verdichorus.org or by calling (800) 838-3006. 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.

Music Director and Founding Artistic Director Anne Marie Ketchum has been the conductor of the Verdi Chorus since its inception in 1983. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Choral Conducting and a Master's degree in Voice Performance from California State University, Northridge, where she studied choral conducting with John Alexander and served as his assistant conductor. As a singer, she has appeared internationally and is well known for her performances of contemporary art music, vocal chamber music, solo recitals, and opera. She has made several recordings of contemporary music. Among her more recent activities Ms. Ketchum was the Stage Director for the Metropolitan Opera National Council - Western Region Showcase Concerts in Palm Springs for five years. She helped create This and My Heart: A Portrait of Emily Dickinson in Text and Song, a concert/theater piece which she co-wrote and performed with actress Linda Kelsey and pianist Victoria Kirsch. This was presented as part of Grand Performances in Los Angeles and made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Cultural Affairs Department of Los Angeles. In February of 2012, she premiered a piece in New York by Aurelio de la Vega entitled Recordatio for soprano and ten instruments, which was written for her.

Accompanist Laraine Ann Madden has garnered acclaim as one of the most sensitive and experienced collaborating artists in the Los Angeles area. Trained in the Bay Area, she made her solo debut with the Oakland Symphony at age 13 performing Mozart's Piano Concerto in A Major, K. 488. Ms. Madden studied Accompanying at the University of Southern California with its pioneer teacher, Gwendolyn Koldofsky and has accompanied in the master classes of Martin Katz, Geoffrey Parsons, Giorgio Tozzi, Martial Singher, Joan Dornemann and Peter Pears. She has served as "repetiteur" accompanist under conductors Simon Rattle, Christoph Perrick and Richard Buckley, and has appeared in concert with singers associated with New York City Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, and Los Angeles Opera including Alan Titus, Rod Gilfry, Erie Mills, Young Mi Kim and Ealynn Voss. Recent engagements include performing on the Jacaranda Concert Series and with the Walter Fox Singers at the Annenberg Beach House in Santa Monica, the Huntington Library in Pasadena, and the Richard Nixon Library for the Marshall B. Ketchum University Shared Visions Gala. This is her eighteenth year as collaborator with the Verdi Chorus.

ABOUT THE SOLOISTS:

Jamie Chamberlin Soprano

Praised for her "shimmering tones" and "star- struck vulnerability" by Opera News, Greek-American soprano Jamie Chamberlin has been recognized for her versatility as both a singer and actress. Recently, ArtsInLA hailed her role debut as Cunegonde in Long Beach Opera?s Candide as "jaw-dropping." In 2015, Jamie's portrayal of Marilyn Monroe in the US premiere of Gavin Bryars? Marilyn Forever, for which she was hand-picked by LBO's innovative director Andreas Mitisek, firmly established her as one of the leading collaborative artists in new opera. In 2017, Jamie portrays Walt Disney's personal nurse, Hazel George, in the US premiere of Glass? The Perfect American at Chicago Opera Theater and Long Beach Opera, followed by a role debut as Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor with Pacific Opera Project, and The Foreign Woman in The Consul, starring Patricia Racette at LBO. Engagements in 2018 include Mahler's Fourth Symphony and Poulenc's Gloria with the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra and a return to LBO as Dora in The Invention of Morel (a new opera by Stewart Copeland of the legendary rock band The Police), and Isolde in Frank Martin's The Love Potion (a re-telling of the Tristan Legend).

A gifted interpreter of new music from the very start, Chamberlin made her professional debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where she sang the soprano solo in the world premiere of Esa-Pekka Salonen?s Wing on Wing during the inaugural season of the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Recently, Chamberlin created the powerhouse role of Elyn Saks in the world premiere of Kenneth Wells? The Center Cannot Hold (based on Saks? memoir of the same title), a co-production with UCLA and Pacific Opera Project which has garnered national attention for its impact in both the art and mental health communities. Jamie is an alumna of the prestigious Merola Opera Program at San Francisco Opera, where her portrayal of troubled poetess Anne Sexton in Conrad Susa?s Transformations was called "spellbinding" by the San Francisco Chronicle.

As a Delos recording artist, Chamberlin?s "fresh-sounding, expressive soprano" (Opera News) has been praised for her work on Terrain of the Heart: Song Cycles of Mark Abel (2014). Jamie also created the role of Lisa on the world premiere Delos recording of Abel?s 2016 Chamber Opera, Home is a Harbor. Her one of a kind sound can also be heard during the epic water ballet scene in the 2016 Coen Brothers film Hail, Caesar!

A frequent artist with Los Angeles Opera, Jamie made her solo debut singing the High Priestess in Aïda and the Cretan Woman in Idomeneo with Plácido Domingo. Jamie is a regular soloist and teaching artist in the Education and Community Programs Department at LA Opera. She has performed and taught in Music Outreach and Education programs with the LA Philharmonic, Orange County Opera, Pasadena Symphony, and Opera Santa Barbara, and in her own one-woman children's outreach show, I Heart Opera.

NATHAN GRANNER Tenor

One of the original The American Tenors (Sony Classical), Nathan Granner is known for his "vibrant and flexible" voice (The Boston Globe) and for possessing "utter control of a ravishing mixed head sound" (Opera News). Using his voice in a variety of artistic and expressive styles, ranging from opera to Broadway, jazz to world music, and classical-crossover performances, Granner is the prototypical tenor who can perform across all genres.

During the 2017-18 season, Mr. Granner is heard as Curly in Oklahoma with Charlottesville Opera (formerly Ashlawn Opera), Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor with Pacific Opera Project, and both the Magician in Menotti's The Consul and reprising Dr. Morel in The Invention of Dr. Morel (following its 2017 world-premiere) with Long Beach Opera. Engagements during the 2016-17 season included principal bows with Spoleto Festival USA, Chicago Opera Theater and Opera San Luis Obispo, as well as singing on Artsploitation Film's Counter-Clockwise.

Mr. Granner has performed as Nemorino in L'elisir d'amore, Ferrando in Cosí fan tutte, and Rodolfo in La bohème in performances with Lyric Opera Kansas City, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Tulsa Opera, Wolf Trap, and Glimmerglass Operas, as well as playing Payador in Astor Piazzolla's Maria de Buenos Aires throughout Poland. An avid supporter of new music, he has created seven new opera roles in three years, including portraying Kanye West in composer Hunter S. Long's short opera Fair Looks and True Obedience.

He is a founding member of The American Tenors, whose Sony Masterworks album reached the top five in the classical crossover charts. His varied touring schedule includes engagements with classical guitarist Beau Bledsoe, with composers Jeffrey Rukaman and Bradley Cox constructing post-modern classical and jazz shows for avant-garde audiences, with producer David Foster, and alongside fellow tenor Ben Gulley.

BEN LOWE Baritone

Ben Lowe received his Masters of Music at UCLA studying voice under Vladimir Chernov and opera with Peter Kazaras. MR. Lowe is a graduate of Cal State Dominguez Hills where he received his BA in music. He has been a featured soloist across Southern California in concerts and operas. While at UCLA, MR. Lowe performed in many roles throughout his time as a student. Lowe has also been a part of the workshop that performed and recorded a new opera by Jonathan Sheffer, Blood on the Dining Room Floor; an opera by Mitch Glickman, The Princess of Javasu; and The Dove and the Nightingale by Roger Bourland. He was the baritone soloist in Fauré's Requiem with the Angeles Chorale on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 at the Los Angeles Cathedral and made his Disney Hall debut singing the baritone solo in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

Lowe has sung recitals for the Opera Guild of Southern California and the Opera Associates and for many other music organizations. He is a featured soloist with the California Philharmonic and the Golden State Pops Orchestra. MR. Lowe's concert work has involved Handel's Messiah, the Brahms German Requiem, Mozart's Mass in C Minor and Requiem, Orff's Carmina Burana, Dvorak's Stabat Mater, and singing the bass solo in the Verdi Requiem in Royce Hall.

MR. Lowe was part of UCLA's West Coast premieres of John Musto's Bastianello and William Bolcom's Lucrezia. MR. Lowe also performed the role of Escamillo in UCLA's production of The Tragedy of Carmen, his final performance as a graduate student. MR. Lowe spent the last two summers working with Marilyn Horne at the Music Academy of the West where he performed the role of Bonobo in Mathew Aucoin's Second Nature. While attending Music Academy of the West, MR. Lowe was selected as the winner of the 2016 Marilyn Horne Song Competition. MR. Lowe went on a four city recital tour representing the Music Academy of the West. This last summer MR. Lowe returned to Music Academy of the West as a 2017 Fellow and performed the role of Dulcamara in The Elixir of Love. He will also be making his New York City debut at BAM, performing in Matthew Aucoin's opera Crossing.

ABOUT THE VERDI CHORUS

The Verdi Chorus is a Southern California nonprofit organization dedicated to presenting opera choruses in concert and to providing career development opportunities for young professional singers. As the only choral group in Southern California that focuses primarily on the dramatic and diverse music of the opera chorus, the Verdi Chorus gives talented amateur singers the unique opportunity to sing side-by-side with professional singers in rehearsals leading up to performances held to the highest artistic standards. Under the direction of its remarkable Artistic Director Anne Marie Ketchum, each rehearsal is like a vocal master class.

The Verdi Chorus was founded in 1983 at the Verdi Restaurant in Santa Monica. When the restaurant closed in 1991, the Verdi Chorus continued. In 1999, the chorus incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Under the continuous direction of Founding Artistic Director Anne Marie Ketchum, the chorus presents four concerts each year as well as other collaborative events. Its repertoire includes over 300 choruses from 81 operas in seven languages.

For more information visit www.verdichorus.org.



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