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All 80 singers were there last night for the first combined chorus rehearsal of San Diego Opera’s Samson et Dalila. What a sound!

The chorus begins the show as oppressed Hebrews and finishes the show as depraved and ultimately squashed Philistines.

In between is some of the most glorious chorus music ever included in an opera.

The opening choral phrase, on the word “Dieu”, made the hair on my arms stand up. The sound of 80 accomplished singers together in a chorus is tremendous. There is no where else in San Diego to hear a chorus like this, until Aida later this season, again at SDO.

When I say there are 80 accomplished singers in the chorus, I am not overstating the facts.

There are singers with master’s degrees in vocal performance all over the place and a few doctorates to boot.

There are several music directors from churches and other choral groups along with voice teachers and vocal coaches.

There are singers who have performed with Chicago Lyric Opera, The Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Los Angeles Opera, and San Francisco Opera.

Some of the singers are young and still sharpening their teeth with an eye on a solo career. Others have had a taste of the solo life and prefer the calmer waters of the chorus.

There are community choral groups who have 80 or more singers. There might be student choirs with 80 or more singers.

However, the composition of the singers in these groups isn’t at the same level as the chorus for Samson.

Samson et Dalila opens at the Civic Theater in February.

Opening chorus section of Samson from Covent Garden.


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