Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Angels of Faust

This season, The Atlanta Opera celebrates Chorus Master Walter Huff’s 25th anniversary with the company. The opera chorus for our latest production of Charles Gounod’s Faust features 46 local singers, carefully selected and rehearsed by Maestro Huff. We asked a few of them to describe their experiences onstage with TAO.
Alto Laurie Tossing
Alto Laurie Tossing made her Atlanta Opera debut in 2002 for our production of La rondine. She’s performed in almost thirty operas with the company and described her experience in 2007's Turandot as a career highlight: “It was our first show at CEPAC, and in the final scene there were about 80 people on stage. I was standing at the top of those huge stairs, right in center stage, so I could see everything--the stage, the pit, and that spectacular new space that is such a joy in which to sing. We were singing the exquisite reprise of ‘Nessun dorma’ in the finale, and there were two women right in the front row, clutching each other and literally jumping up and down in their seats with excitement. I was so overwhelmed by it all, that the moment we stopped singing, I burst into tears.”

Big moments like these are what make opera come alive. Here at the Atlanta Opera, we couldn’t make them happen without Maestro Huff. As soprano Christina Howell puts it, “Using voices to tell stories is what opera is all about. By expecting precision, artistry and vocal storytelling, Maestro Huff allows the Atlanta Opera Chorus to function simultaneously both as one large musical unit and as individual voices and characters.”
Soprano Allegra Whitney

Greg Sterchie,
who has been singing in our opera chorus since 1990, agrees. "Working with Maestro Huff is a world-class experience." When asked about his experience he noted, “I can’t tell you how many times principal singers who work all over the country and in Europe comment that the Atlanta Opera Chorus is the finest they’ve ever heard.” Adds soprano Allegra Whitney, "It's opera chorus at a whole new level."

It takes a lot of attention to detail to get such great results. For example, in the current production of Faust, an off-stage chorus of angels provides the last vocal moment. It’s a tricky spot musically, but the Maestro had some well-timed advice for his chorus. “Angels just don’t come in early.”

Come hear our chorus of angels - our production of Faust opens this Saturday, March 8!
Buy your tickets now!

Be sure to check back this week, as well as check our Facebook page for more profiles of Atlanta Opera choristers.

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