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Spain and Beyond

When Anne Marie Ketchum, Artistic Director of the Verdi Chorus, began to work on the program for “Spain and Beyond†– which the Chorus will present on Saturday, November 19 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, November 20 at 4 p.m. at First United Church in Santa Monica – the most difficult part of her task was deciding exactly which opera choruses and arias to include.

To help her pare down her choices, Ketchum opted to devote the first half of the concert to works by Guiseppe Verdi, since the Chorus was christened 28 years ago, when it was founded, in his honor. On the program are choruses and arias from the operas Don Carlo, La Forza del Destino and Ernani. Soprano Susana Diaz, mezzo-soprano Peabody Southwell, tenor John Atkins and baritone Roberto Perlas Gomez will join the Chorus as guest soloists.

Audience members who have heard Atkins perform with the Chorus in the past, however, may be slightly confused. “When I last performed with the Verdi Chorus, it was as a baritone,†Atkins explains. “So I am excited to be returning and singing as a tenor. In particular, the duet from Don Carlo is one I actually performed as a baritone. To be learning and singing that tenor part now will be especially interesting.â€

The second half of the concert will open with excerpts from an opera which Ketchum describes as “about as Spanish as it gets†– Enrique Granados’ Goyescas, inspired by the Spanish Romantic painter Francisco Goya. Sections from Luisa Fernanda by Federico Torroba and El Nino Judio by Pablo Luna will follow. Both are examples of Zarzuela, or what Ketchum calls “operetta or musical theatre, Spanish style.â€

For the final part of the program, the audience will travel to Seville, Spain, when the Verdi Chorus presents excerpts from the third most performed opera worldwide, according to Operabase – Georges Bizet’s Carmen. Mezzo-soprano Peabody Southwell will join the Chorus to portray the fiery, free-spirited gypsy after whom the opera is named.

Tickets for “Spain and Beyond†are available for $40 (Reserved Section), $30 (General Seating), $25 (Seniors) and $10 (Students). To purchase tickets, visit the Verdi Chorus’ website, at www.verdichorus.org or call 800.838.3006. VISA and Master Card are accepted.

The First United Methodist Church is located at 1008 11th Street in Santa Monica, 90403.

To learn more about the Verdi Chorus’ mission, history, members, leaders, soloists, and repertoire, visit www.verdichorus.org.

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