Fancy joining an opera chorus?

Published: 25 June 2020
Reporter: Peter Lathan

The Chorus of Opera North in "Kiss Me, Kate" Credit: Tristram Kenton

Opera North is inviting everyone to join its new chorus to sing choruses from Bizet’s Carmen, Smetana’s The Bartered Bride and the “Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves” from Verdi’s Nabucco.

Starting in July, From Couch to Chorus will comprise four weekly sessions over Zoom with participants being taught operatic excerpts by a professional choral director, with input from members of the Chorus of Opera North. Each hourlong session will be specifically prepared for soprano, alto, tenor and bass voices. No previous experience or ability to read music is required and help will be given for those who are not sure which session to join. In the final workshop, singers from all vocal parts will join together online to perform a full virtual chorus.

A variety of resources will be used to help people master the basics of opera quickly and easily, whether they have previously sung with a group or not, and a Zoom recording will be sent to the participants after each workshop. Open to all, the sessions will work on a “pay-as-you-feel” basis.

To participate people will need to sign up online, where there is also an option to contact Opera North’s Lifelong Learning team for help in determining voice type. The sessions will be held on Mondays and Tuesdays over four weeks from Monday 20 July to Tuesday 11 August with the online performance on Wednesday 12 August.

“With this project, we aim to give everyone a taste of what it’s like to be a member of an operatic chorus, learning exciting repertoire and developing singing skills as part of a group,” said Jacqui Cameron, Education Director at Opera North. ”In these times of social distancing, we’re not able to hold the sessions face-to-face, but we know from experience that participants still find it uplifting to be part of a virtual choir.

“Holding From Couch to Chorus online will give people a chance to sing with friends who live in other areas and who they may not be able to see at the moment—and to make new ones from across the country and further afield.”