CHENNAI: On Friday evening, the Museum Theatre, Egmore, was packed with an audience comprising music lovers, art connoisseurs, and musicians. People from varied backgrounds had gathered to attend The Festival of Opera — a two-day opera performance held on Thursday and Friday. It was an effort to bring opera to the city, Chromatics, a city-based ensemble of 12 young, talented and qualified singers, and two pianists put together a soul-stirring concert.
“It’s called the Festival of Opera because we covered the time period of opera music from baroque to classical to romantic. It is a not-so-popular genre among Chennaiites. For the first time, we have attempted a combination of acting and singing. So, the orchestra was also limited. The musical pieces performed were all popular compositions by international legends. The singers need to be technically equipped to pull it off. It’s a stepping stone for all the aspirants here to make it big in this musical form. I feel proud of them,” said Augustine Paul, choral conductor and teacher, while addressing the audience. The artistic director of the show was Amrita Fredrick.
Chromatics is the brainchild of Augustine who holds a Licentiate with Trinity College. The singers in the band have diplomas from Trinity College, London. Each one is active in the field of music and takes classical music seriously. Chromatics stages concerts of Arias and art songs, showcasing individual voices through Arias from operas, oratorios, lieder and Italian art songs. “We had a different repertoire on Thursday.
The highlight of that evening was The Magic Flute by Mozart — a 30-minute performance. The audience was a mixed bag — ardent opera followers who knew better than we did, and first-timers who encouraged us. The troupe had a combination of voices — sopranos, tenors and basses. Without which we couldn’t have been able to pull off the a capella portion. I’m confident that there will be more numbers in the audience next time,” said Augustine.
In the two-hour performance on Friday, there were six lieder (solo voices with piano as accompaniment), and four operas — Xerxes by Handel, La Cenerentola by Rossini, Carmen by Bizet, and Fidelio by Beethoven. The group performances accompanied by acts kept the audience engaged. Be it the classic costumes, the capella, the facial expressions and the choice of compositions — the whole experience was magical. The audience encouraged the artistes with hoots and cheers.
Six lieder, four operas
The two-hour performance on Friday featured famous opera tunes of Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, Bizet, Rossini, and Verdi. There were six lieder and four operas.