Opera’s Chorus Quest
Opera’s Chorus Quest
The Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus in The NBR New Zealand Opera’s two recent productions of La Traviata (2005) and Rigoletto (2004).
Photos: Dean Treml.
ISSUED BY THE NBR NEW ZEALAND OPERA
9 October 2006
OPERA’S CHORUS QUEST
The search is on for operatic slaves, villagers, witches and nobles! The NBR New Zealand Opera is looking to boost the number of singers in the Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus for the 2007 opera season, and is holding auditions during early November in Auckland and Wellington to recruit new talent to the ranks.
“Our 2007 mainstage operas and concert events require a particularly large chorus, so we are looking to bring on board singers who have the versatility to perform both on the opera stage and the concert platform,” says The NBR New Zealand Opera’s chorus manager, Glenn Meade.
The Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus currently has 120 singers spread across Auckland and Wellington, where the opera company performs its mainstage opera seasons at the Aotea Centre, The Edge and Westpac St James Theatre.
“The Chorus is the backbone of any professional opera company and one reason why opera is such an appealing art form is partly attributable to the Chorus,” says Mrs Meade.
“Individually, chorus members are not the stars of the show, but collectively they provide some of the most memorable moments in any opera production. Massed voices singing in rousing harmony can raise the hairs on the back of your neck. They often perform some of the world’s most well-known and best loved melodies, and get to wear some very sumptuous, if not unusual, costumes. In any given opera chorus roles can vary from slaves to nobles, assassins to priests – it’s all part of an evening’s work!”
Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus members are remunerated for the challenging and creative work required in putting together a professional opera production, which involves attendance at music and production rehearsals and performances, usually in the evenings or weekends. Perks of the job include the opportunity to share the opera stage with international stars, under the leadership and direction of some of the world’s leading opera directors and conductors; and the benefits of performing alongside other experienced chorus members. Each year the Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus also perform a number of significant concert events and although the repertoire is largely operatic, it can include major choral or opera works performed as concert versions.
Mrs Meade says that chorus members are drawn from all walks of life with their “day” jobs ranging from electricians and painters to crisis nurses and dentists, policemen, firemen and lawyers, teachers and students.
“What they all share is a love of singing and performing with a professional opera company, and they are such a committed and colourful group of people there’s a terrific social environment too!”
Auditions for the 2007 chorus will be held in Wellington on 3-4 November and in Auckland on 5-6 November. To be considered, applicants are required to have undergone voice training although not necessarily operatic, and to preferably be currently studying with a singing teacher. Some stage experience is beneficial but not imperative. The short audition for The NBR New Zealand Opera music staff requires the candidate to sing a short aria –preferably in a foreign language so the panel can assess language ability – and then to undergo a musicianship test involving sight-singing, ear tests and scales. Further details can be obtained by contacting Glenn Meade at The NBR New Zealand Opera.