Voices of Sacramento Chorale
An Opera Montage - August 22, 2014
by Nancy Bramlett
It was an enchanting evening, with 14 women, 8 strong men, a superb pianist, an anvil and other creative percussion instruments. “Now the Time is Ripe for Mating” was a wonderfully festive beginning to an evening of joy.
It was quickly followed by the excitement of Verdi's “Vedi! Le Fosche Notturne Spoglie” ("The Anvil Chorus"), featuring the anvil. Excitement burst forth as the singers extolled going from gloom to the brightest sunshine.
The opening was perfected by Verdi's “Libiamo Ne' Lieti Calici” with a stellar performance by both Stephanie Blackwell and Javier Murillo. Both had incredible tone, artistry and expression.
You can see the entire program here.
This choir is just four years old. The director, Jessie Valerio, who studied at CSUS, did a marvelous job of programming. The choir usually just rehearses and performs in the summer, but it looks like you won't have to wait a whole year to hear them again. The plan is to start up again in February. Definitely also noteworthy was the incredibly talented Dan Pool as accompanist for the evening!
After a perfect opening, a number of impressive soloists continued this enchanting evening.
“Belle Nuit,” traditionally a duet with soprano and mezzo, became a beautiful and mesmerizing soprano and baritone duet. Then we enjoyed a trio with Stephanie Blackwell, Maria Beub, and James Gentry, and two solos by Niels Krop and Javier Murillo, of which “Granada,” performed by Javier Murillo, was an exceptionally appreciated hit with the audience!
A little later, the audience enjoyed the well known “Bess, You is My Woman Now” from Porgy and Bess with Maria Bueb and James Gentry. “Il Rival Salvar Tu Dei” from I Puritani, was especially enjoyable at the end with the singing of victory and honor, thanks to James Gentry and Niels Krop. And Stephanie Blackwell again impressed with “Casta Diva” from Norma.
Other favorite opera choruses were “Brightly the Rosy Morn is Breaking” from William Tell and “Once More with Joy” from Tannheuser. The sextet, “Chi Mi Frena in Tal Memeto” from Lucia Di Lammermoor was absolutely superb with baritone James Gentry, tenor Darron Flagg, tenor Eric Phillips, soprano Maria Bueb, mezzo-soprano Sara Zeigler, and baritone Brian Gayek!
The evening closed with a sing-a-long of “The Lord Bless.” The audience loved the chance to join in the music making!
The choir is not auditioned, but draws incredible talent and seems to bring out the best in all their singers. The best compliment I can give is that I intend to join them this spring. I know it will be fabulous fun!
Nancy Bramlett is a Dramatic Coloratura Soprano from Kansas City, MO. She graduated from Bradley University in Peoria, IL with a Bachelor’s of Music in Vocal Performance. She has most recently studied with Marla Volovna in San Francisco and Zoila Munoz in Davis. Nancy has had the honor of traveling all over the US and to Europe with the Bradley University Chorale. She has sung in several choirs since then, as well as performing in opera and musical theater productions and singing solos for local churches, as well as weddings and memorial services. Nancy has directed choirs; taught voice, piano and Kindermusik; and has been a music director for musical theater. She is currently busy with Classical Music for Christ and as a regular soloist for Cottage Way Christian Church in Sacramento and the Placer County Youth Orchestra. Nancy resides in Rocklin with her husband Scott and three sons: Patrick, Riley and John.