A few words from our Chorus Master

Puccini’s last operatic creation Turandot, is a true master piece, what with wonderfully lyrical melodies and colourful, thick orchestration, it also has a huge role for our OLO chorus. This work keeps the choristers busy from start to finish, challenging them in so many ways… they are required to use the full range of their voice – basses sing down to a low E and sopranos sing up to the high C sharp, they need to be able to move quickly (even climb scaffolding) and sing while grovelling on the ground always with an eye on the conductor Andreas Delfs and remembering the dramatic intent given by the instructions from our uber-talented director Brian Deedrick.

Our chorus, I am pleased to say, is creating a wonderfully full sound and has been truly inspired by the direction they have received. All of this is only possible through our member’s dedication to the operatic art form, their desire to do their very best and maintain the discipline required to sing as one voice. These 54 singers came together earlier this spring while we were still in rehearsal for Macbeth and Manon to start building on the musical muscle memory for some 80 minutes of singing. This is a challenging process for myself as chorus master as I am required to assist them in discovering the full potential of their vocal sound which requires vowel harmonization, integral rhythm, excellent diction and of course dynamic variation, along with linguistic challenges.

I am never certain as to how a conductor will proceed regarding dynamics, articulation or tempi, so I drill the singers on a variety of them which makes their lives most interesting…. they are then ready to keep an open and flexible mind with one eye always directed toward the conductor. Now, an added challenge for this particular production is the off stage singing. This requires the chorus to watch the chorus master who is being cued by the conductor via a TV monitor. There are many challenges in this process such as the obvious – being together with the orchestra and soloists on stage, creating the correct balance and maintaining dramatic intent in the vocal production, even while not being seen by our devoted audience. An added challenge is to have the back stage chorus singing at the same time on either side of the stage. I am so very fortunate to have Sara Brooks as our assistant chorus master (who also prepared the children’s chorus) work together on making this process run so smoothly.

I do hope that as many people get a chance to experience our production of Turandot as it is Puccini at his finest, the soloists and orchestra are incredible, the supernumeraries are totally fantastic and the chorus is quite outstanding. I am thrilled that Ty Paterson and the OLO board have been able to offer our audience such an amazing production. The operatic genre is truly the culmination of all art forms and this production will prove to inspire and move those who desire to experience it.

Laurence Ewashko

Chorus Master

Opera Lyra Ottawa

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