The Verdi Chorus will open its fall season with the concert, “Tales of Paris,” at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20 and 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 21 at the First United Methodist Church, 1008 11th St., Santa Monica.

Music Director Anne Marie Ketchum notes that the performance will showcase works far different than those featured in the chorus’ acclaimed production of “Wagner and Verdi” last spring, as part of Los Angeles’ Ring Festival.

“With ‘Tales of Paris’ we’re going in completely another direction, “says Ketchum. “All the operas we feature are either set in France, in French, or both. Additionally these works have long been treasured because they are so human and accessible, so romantic. They’re wonderful pieces.”

On the program are excerpts from La Traviata by Guiseppe Verdi, The Tales of Hoffmann by Jacques Offenbach, La Rondine by Giacomo Puccini, Jules Massenet’s Manon and the contemporary opera Ghosts of Versailles by John Corigliano.

The first half of the program will open with The Tales of Hoffmann, the only opera composed by Offenbach, a renowned operetta composer who toured the United States, conducting over 40 concerts, around the time of the Civil War.

“Offenbach died before the opera was completed, and after much new research, thousands of pages of his manuscript came to light,” Ketchum explains. “Along with several Hoffmann ‘favorites,’ which may be familiar to many members of our audience, we’ll present the finale, which is a result of these new findings.”

Also featured are choruses and duets from two operas that tell the “tale” of glittering French courtesans – Violetta Valéry from La Traviata and Manon Lescaut from Manon. Among the highlights audiences will hear are the Drinking Song and the ensemble finale at the end of Act 2 from La Traviata and the Gambling Scene from Act IV of Manon, Ketchum said.

Closing the concert are excerpts from another opera relating the story of a beautiful Parisian woman, Magda de Civry, who finds and loses her true love – La Rondine.

“La Rondine is without question Puccini’s opera that most resembles a musical theater piece,” Ketchum says.

Ketchum said she is equally excited about the soloists joining the Verdi Chorus for this production: soprano Katherine Giaquinto, Grammy-nominated tenor Rodell Rosel, and baritone Roberto Perlas Gomez.

“Each of our soloists has strong ties with Southern California,” says Ketchum. “As the expression goes, they’re local talents who’ve ‘done good.’ We’re thrilled that they have accepted our invitation to perform with us and share their amazing artistry with our audience.”

Tickets are $40 for reserved seating, $30 for general admission, $25 for seniors and $10 for students.

To order tickets for the Verdi Chorus’ fall performances or for more information, (310) 684-3024 or www.verdichorus.org.

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