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OPERA San Antonio Blog

The Impact of a Dramatic Ensemble

In no other art form can an audience experience the impact of voices raised in dramatic ensemble, often expressing widely differing intents or emotions, which results in such a glorious assault on the senses. From the wrenching pathos of Va, pensiero, the great chorus from Verdi’s NABUCCO, to the rousing Soldiers’ Chorus from FAUST, the Christmas Eve celebrations in Puccini’s BOHEME, or to the monumental Coronation Scene of BORIS GODUNOV, these choruses and so many others offer an incomparable vocal impact on the audience. The vitality of these combined voices, whether portraying one “character” or as individuals within a group, bring to life the community of a drama.

FAUST gives the chorus an especially wide variety of characters to play, and the range of music with which to portray it: the lilt of the peasants’ song at dawn as they return to their fields; the exuberant cacophony of a county fair, where the voices of soldiers, students, matrons and young flirtatious girls each extol their various interests; the gentle waltz which grows ever more enthusiastic as it reaches its conclusion; a devilish drinking song; the stern reproach of unseen demons, and the harmonious forgiveness of the angels; the martial strains accompanying the military men who return home from war in what is one of the most well-known opera choruses, the Soldiers’ Chorus – the choral ensemble gives vital life and exciting voice to the people of the village where the opera unfolds.

Dottie Randall, Chorus Master

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