WHITTIER – Chorale Bel Canoto, a community masterworks chorale based in Whittier and led by Stephen Gothold, presents its 33rd season finale on May 16 at First United Methodist Church Pasadena. The concert program will particularly delight fans of theaterical choral works. The opening work is a madrigal fable by Gian-Carlo Menotti, “The Unicorn, the Gorgon, and the Manticore.” Modelled on sixteenth century madrigal comedy and starring creatures out of a medieval bestiary, the work is challenging, both musically and philosophically.
Menotti tells the story of a reclusive poet who lives in a castle. and is seen by the townspeople walking a different creature each Sunday. They covet and obtain the creatures themselves, only to abandon each for the next. Menotti explores themes of social conformity and laments how easily the unfashionable is discarded.
Scored for a chorus of two dozen voices and chamber ensemble, it was also choreographed for dancers. An esnemble of Chorale Bel Canto is joined by costume dancers from Artists Plus Productions who will act the story as it is sung and played.
Menotti, only recently deceased in 2007 at age 96, strongly identified with the poet in his tale and had the closing madrigal sung at his funeral, and at the funeral of his lover, the composer Samuel Barber.
The second half of the program features great opera choruses by Verdi, Bizet, Mozart, Donizetti and Leoncavallo. The 70-voice Chorale Bel Canto will be joined by soloists from Redlands Operate Theatre. Listeners will thrill to the familiar strains of the Anvil Chorus from Il Trovatore, the Habanera from Bizet’s Carmen, the Bell Chorus from Pagliacci, and more.
Tickets to the performance are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors ages 55 and older, and $10 for students.
Visit choralebelcanto.org or call (888) 460-9222.
Published: May 7, 2015 - Volume 14 - Issue 04