The Seton Hall Chamber Choir performed alongside the Opera New Hampshire on Feb. 10 at The Palace Theater in Manchester, N.H. Together, the two musical groups performed a piece entitled “Rossini’s Barber of Seville.”
Annemarie Ryan, a freshman nursing major and opera singer, described the story behind the song that contributes to its exceptionality.
“The story, in short, is about a Count who comes to serenade a young maiden who is kept confined in the house of an older man, Bartolo, who intends to marry the maiden, Rosina,” Ryan said. “The Count also wants to marry Rosina, and the Figaro, the barber, tries to help the Count in marrying them.”
This was the Seton Hall Chamber Choir’s second time performing in New Hampshire. They also performed with the Opera New Hampshire three years ago and in Queens, N.Y., last year. In this performance, the choir acted as the musicians as well as the guards later on in the show.
Jason Tramm, director of choral activities, explained that the ensemble produced the concert and then invited the SHU Chamber Choir to perform in front of a ticket-paying audience.
Ryan added, “The pairing of us with the opera is nice because it gives the choir a great chance to perform in a professional setting, and the opera gets to fill their chorus role without having to hire professional chorus members.”
Choir Manager Andrew Cates, a junior music, theatre and art design major, said the choir had been preparing and working diligently since the fall. He said they even did a concert version of the opera at the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC), giving the group time to practice the music with a professional opera and get to know the piece.
Regarding the challenges the choir faced in preparation for the event, Cates said: “Opera always presents unique challenges, notably, the language and singing in the opera style.”
Ryan explained that the biggest challenge for her was that the opera was in Italian. However, she said, because some of the lead performers were fluent in many languages, they were able to help one another and even teach the choir proper pronunciations.
Tramm said the performance was a success, based on the positive audience reactions he witnessed, as well as the optimistic feedback received from the performers.
“To get to bring the art form I love so much and to see students thrive in it is just a blessing for me and a joy,” said Tramm.
He added that he hopes that through the performance students can get a general awareness of the art form and how opera performances can affect people.
Daniel D’Amico can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.