I have assembled a apair of YouTube playlists that will be the focus of my OTF posts in January. Today, I wanted to share a playlist made up entirely of opera choruses.

As a plot device in opera, the chorus is used in many different ways – for one, it is to give a voice to the community at large, as depicted in the opera. For instance, in my opening selection, the Anvil Chorus from Verdi's Il trovatore depicts Spanish Gypsies striking their anvils at dawn and singing the praises of hard work, good wine, and their Gypsy women.

Often times, it is a way for the librettist to provide a break in the action (comic or otherwise). That’s where I would place, for example, Gounod’s Soldier’s Chorus from Faust, or the Children’s Chorus from Bizet’s Carmen.

The Chorus shows up often at the end of an Act, almost as to provide a form of apotheosis to the action – the final scene from Donizetti’s Lucia di Lamermoor is a good example of this. Many of the chorus interventions in opera are simply to accompany lead signers: like in the Toreador song in Carmen, of the Brindidi from Traviata.

Whereas chosuses are brought in at select times, I chose Act II of La Bohème in its entirety, as it is a good example of a choirus that is almost constantly sollicited as part of the libretto.

Peppered into the playlist are some othernotable choruses, and hopefully your favourites are among them. Feel free to add your favourites to this thread.

Enough of me… On to the singiing!


Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901)

  • Vedi! le fosche notturne (“Anvil Chorus”), from Act II of Il Trovatore (1853)

Chor der Deutschen Oper Berlin
Berliner Philharmoniker
Herbert von Karajan, conducting

  • Va pensiero, sull'ali dorate (“Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves”) from Act III of Nabucco (1842)

The Chorus & Orchestra of the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden
Bernard Haitink, cpnducting

  • Libiamo, ne' lieti calici from Act I of La Traviata (1853)

Placido Domingo ,Teresa Stratas
Metropolitan Opera and Chorus
James Levine, cpnducting

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924)

  • Act II of La bohème (1896)

Sergei Gontovyi, Natalia Narozhna, Vladislav Lysak, Elena Starikova, Sergei Dubnitsky, Yury Alexeichuk
Orchestra and choir of the National Donetsk Opera House of Ukraine
Vasyl Vasylenko, conducting

  • Coro a bocca chiusa (“Humming Chorus”) from Act II of Madama Butterfly (1904)

Johann-Strauss Ortchestra & Japanese Choir
André Rieu , conducting

Ruggero LEONCAVALLO (1857-1919)

Don, din, don
(“Bell Chorus”) from Act I of Pagliacci (1892)

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848)

Chi mi frena in tal momento?
and T'allontana, sciagurato from Act II of Lucia di Lammermoor (1835)

Ashley Knight, Joshua Guerrero , Ryan Thorn , Griffith Frank , Gabriel Vamvulescu, Leslie Cook
Angeles Chorale, UCLA Chorale, UCLA Philharmonia
Donald Neuen, conducting

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)

O welche Lust, In freier Luft
(“Prisoners' Chorus”) from Act I of Fidelio, op. 72b

Kurt Wehofschitz, Raymond Wolansky
Philarmonia Chorus and Orchestra
Otto Klemperer, conducting

Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826)

Was gleicht wohl auf Erden
(“Hunter's Chorus”) from Act III of Der Freischütz, Op.77

Slovak Philharmonic Chorus
Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
Johannes Wildner, conducting

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883)

Treulich geführt ziehet dahin
(“Bridal Chorus”) from Act III of Lohengrin, WWV 75

The London Symphony Chorus and Orchestra
(Uncredited conductor)

Charles GOUNOD (1818-1893)

Déposons les armes
(“Soliders' Chorus“) from Act IV of Faust (1859)

Georges BIZET (1838-1875)

  • Avec la garde montante (“Children’s Chorus”) from Act I of Carmen (1873-74)

Opera Burgas
Krassimira Kostova, conducting

  • Votre toast, je peux vous le rendre (“Toreador Song”) from Act II of Carmen

Troy Cook, Daniel Mobbs and Norman Garrett, and members of the Opera Company of Philadelphia Chorus

Playlist URL: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list...7Phxneh10z7ybO

January 11 2013, "I Think You Will Love This Music Too" will feature a new podcast "Brahms Festival, Part 2" at its Pod-O-Matic Channel. Read more January 11 on the ITYWLTMT Blogspot blog.