In September the Metropolitan Opera Chorus opened Otello, Turandot, Il Trovatore, and Anna Bolena in the first week of a very busy season. The 2016-17 season promises to be amazing with new productions of Tristan und Isolde, Guillaume Tell, and Rusalka, to name a few.
Honoring four decades of musical and artistic excellence
Since being appointed Music Director in 1976, Maestro James Levine has built the Metropolitan Opera into the world’s premier performing arts institution. He has guided the artistic standards of the Orchestra and Chorus, and helped forge a path toward greatness for every artist and artisan in the house. That standard of excellence continues for the company, even now, as he transitions to Music Director Emeritus.
The Chorus looks forward to Maestro Levine’s continued guidance in the coming seasons. We anticipate his leadership, in addition to that of our Chorus Master Donald Palumbo, will further enrich the art form.
Maestro Levine has inspired each of us to be better musical artists. The Chorus holds him in the highest esteem and admiration, and wishes him fulfillment in his new position while we continue to work together to uphold and elevate our artistic achievements.
The Chorus says farewell to 2 retiring colleagues
Ellen Lang retires after 20 years
Soprano Ellen Lang is retiring after 20 years in the Chorus. She will be missed, and before her final season closes, she shared some thoughts on what she has learned in 20 years of professional singing.
"You know, although my family was the best, (as far as I was concerned), they didn’t celebrate birthdays much past the age of 12, nor anniversaries, though we did have Christmas and Easter festivities. So, here’s some of what I’ve learned from the Ladies Chorus of the Metropolitan Opera - my OTHER family - during my time here:
1. Celebrate all joyful events, no matter how small.
2. Do it as lavishly as possible and with joy.
3. Help your colleagues remember their words.
4. Make somebody laugh, if you can.
5. Don’t wait 20 years to make a friend. It can happen quicker!
6. Sing Happy Birthday (preferably in a middle, not high, pitch) which makes people feel special, which is very nice.
You are, without doubt, the most talented, generous, capable group of women I know. You are singers of amazing ability. You are artists with paint, with wool, with photography, with writing and calligraphy, with food and decorating. You are creative, problem-solving administrators, representatives, negotiators. Some of you even have children you raise with care and love in all the free time this job gives you (!)...thank you again for the love you showed me last night [Chorus held a toast]. Your shining faces said it all…It will never be forgotten."
What's it like to be a Met Chorister?
Follow Metropolitan Opera Chorister, Liz Brooks, to see what a typical day for a full-time opera chorister looks like
The final installments of A Day in the Life of Liz Brooks, Part 11
The season still has a few weeks left, but some choristers, like Liz, are in nearly every remaining performance. It can take a grueling toll on the voice, the body, and avoiding burnout is key.
A Day in the Life...Part 12
Liz explains the schedule - hers especially is quite hectic as she describes what she has coming up: 7 shows per week for 7 weeks.
Tonight she is prepping for Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci. Liz explains the dark drama and her austere appearance.
A Day in the Life...Part 13
After a short intermission, Liz is back for Pagliacci. That makes 4 different operas for Liz in one day.
A Day in the Life...Conclusion
In Part 14, her final chapter, Liz discusses that there are some days when she doesn't see her husband because of their different schedules. Even though today was a long one, she is happy, positive, and grateful to friends and family who have supported her throughout the years. Liz gives a special shout out to her teacher, Mark Oswald, and to all of the teachers who inspire their students to aim high.
To see the first 10 installments, click here.
Gregory Lorenz steps down after 25 seasons
Interviewed by Brandon Mayberry
How long have you been a chorister at the Met? I started as an extra chorister in '91, in '94 I was full time. So, 22 years full time, 25 total. How did you come to join the Met Chorus? Back then, in '91, the audition process was a little different. There was a call for AGMA members to audition. I had an opera aria prepared, unusual, as most of the singing I did up to then had been recitals, oratorio and choral. When I got to the Met. I was greeted by a line of auditioners that snaked from the doors of List Hall all the way up the stairs and almost to the bar in the lobby (the bar was closed :-( ). I sat and stood on the line until 5PM when we were informed (just like Dorothy was by the Wizard) to return the next day. The wait wasn't long on the second day. I sang my aria, I didn't fall down, and several days later received a call from Greg Buchalter that I'd been accepted in the extra chorus. Needless to say there were many more Met auditions over the next three years. I had to learn more than a few arias! And in Summer of '94 I received a call from then Chorus Master, Raymond Hughes, and the rest is history (ancient).
How have you been able to maintain a balanced home life with a job that requires so much of your time? The short answer is: I'm not terribly balanced to begin with. The honest answer is that Carrie (la mia sposa) and I have had to work very closely, communicating with each other coordinating schedules and logistics and budgets on a sometimes hourly basis. I couldn't have done it alone.
What’s your favorite thing about the job? The MUSIC.
Tell us about what types of solo roles you've performed at the Met as a chorister and what having that opportunity has meant to you? Gee. There were a few. A lot of 'Parpignols' and 'Leopolds'. Parpignol was intense as I wanted to get as much joy as possible into that 'call' and presence, so that it would follow that the kids wanted to buy my toys. Leopold being a mute role, didn't require much warming up, but was great as you got to develop a character from pretty much the beginning to pretty much the end of the show. Didn't hurt at all that the show happened to be Der Rosenkavalier! Ever since Maestro Palumbo arrived, people have raved about the Chorus. Do you feel a sense of pride about how well things have gone for you in recent seasons? Pride yes, but more a feeling of accomplishment. We as humans often have a sense of our potential but not always the personal means to bring it about. It takes a special person, like Maestro, to envision and craft that potential. What are you planning to stay busy in your retirement? I'll still do some singing, hopefully some art songs, again. Some of that will be for an organization called 'Sing for Hope', where you perform in hospitals, nursing homes, schools etc. And I'll teach voice. Knowing what a culinary guru you've become over the years, what would be your fantasy meal if you had to choose a 'last supper?' You know, I can't say specific items, but I would like the food fresh, in season, full of color,aroma and flavor. And it must be made and shared with friends and family and be proceeded by a 'Plymouth' Martini, up, olives, please.