This Saturday and Sunday, The Verdi Refrain might be culminating their thirty ninth season with their Fall Live performance, “A Verdi Puccini Fest” in Santa Monica.
“This program consists of a few of the most enjoyable moments from two of the best operatic composers who ever lived,” mentioned Music Director and Founding Inventive Director Anne Marie Ketchum, conductor of the Verdi Refrain since its starting in 1983. Ketchum continued in a press launch, “This system I’ve created for this live performance is a smorgasbord of the various operas from these two prolific composers, and it has been such nice enjoyable to select from the various dramatic works they each supply.”
One of many refrain members, Dr. Franklin Strauss, spoke with the Journal concerning the significance that music has performed in his life, as a physician and as part of the Los Angeles Jewish Group. Strauss retired eight years in the past after about 45 years practising nephrology out of Cedar Sinai Medical Heart with a instructing affiliation with UCLA Medical Faculty. However even in retirement from drugs, Strauss continues to be fairly lively in performing his different love: opera.
“I retired from drugs in about 2014, and so I’m now dwelling the life, dwelling the dream because the younger people say,” Strauss advised the Journal.
Strauss first obtained into opera whereas in faculty at Columbia College in New York. It was the Fifties, and he was working a part-time mail-sorting and workplace assistant job for a finance skilled out of his condo on Park Avenue. Whereas there, Strauss’s employer could be enjoying opera information from his floor-to-ceiling assortment. Strauss obtained hooked.
Again at college, Strauss met his spouse, a violinist after which a fellow member of the Columbia College Orchestra.
They married and moved from New York to California the place their household turned members of College Synagogue in Los Angeles.
“And because the years glided by, the realm of music that I actually liked probably the most was the opera that began School years,” Strauss mentioned. “And so opera was at all times a really, crucial a part of my life.”
As members of College Synagogue, they took an curiosity in presumably becoming a member of the volunteer refrain.
“Since we’re each musicians—novice musicians—though neither one among us had any singing coaching in our background, we thought we might volunteer for the refrain and see how that went,” Strauss mentioned. “And naturally it was loads of enjoyable. It was very, very rewarding studying music, studying learn how to additional our Hebrew training considerably, after which incorporating that as a part of a household exercise, a household Jewish exercise. So I felt very snug doing that. We have been very warmly welcomed.”
Strauss was nonetheless practising drugs at Cedars Sinai and was additionally doing medical investigations, reaching the highest college rank as Medical Professor of Drugs at UCLA Medical Faculty. However he nonetheless discovered time to sing in Shabbat providers and the Excessive Holidays. The 2 of them additionally have been within the Palisade Symphony for a number of years. And generally they’d put collectively a string quartet and do live shows of their front room.
He credit College Synagogue Cantor Jay Frailich for feeding his thirst for music. Cantor Frailich retired after 40 years in 2014.
“And we have been very a lot taken by the cantor at the moment, who was an exquisite musician and an exquisite human being, after all, who was very enthusiastic about not doing the identical previous service each Friday or Saturday,” Strauss mentioned. “And he wished to vary issues up slightly bit. He utilized extra trendy Jewish composers slightly than simply the usual previous issues that we used to listen to for many years and a long time. And so it actually was an exquisite alternative to work with a musician and a extremely good synagogue refrain. And it additionally helped us to contain ourselves extra within the actions of the synagogue and in our Jewish life.”
After which sooner or later in 2000, one other member of the choir advised Strauss concerning the Verdi Refrain and invited him to go to one among their live shows.
“That was a key occasion in my life as a result of I liked opera all these years, and right here I’m going to a efficiency of a group refrain that’s singing my favourite sort of music,” Strauss mentioned. “Once I went to this live performance I heard this group refrain with an exquisite music director and great skilled soloists. I mentioned, ‘How do I enroll? The place do I audition?’ I auditioned a month later and growth!”
Strauss would switch from the synagogue to the Verdi Refrain, the place he has been ever since.
“The Verdi Refrain Might be distinctive in our a part of the USA, if not definitely in California or a wider geographical space. We’re looking for different choruses that do what we do. We’re the one refrain that may be a group versus an expert refrain that simply sings the music of opera. All the opposite choruses—and there are various choruses in Los Angeles, the various programs all over the place—however all of them sing all types of various music. They might even embody an operatic refrain from time to time. However there’s no refrain that simply focuses on the music of the opera refrain.”
The live shows on November 12 and 13 will function choices from 4 Verdi operas – “I Lombardi,” “Don Carlo,” “Rigoletto,” and “La Traviata.” It would additionally function sequences from Puccini’s “Turandot, “La Bohème,” “Suor Angelica,” “Tosca,” “La Fanciulla del West” and “La rondine.”
Strauss shouldn’t be solely on the board of the Verdi Refrain, however his spouse can be a member, having joined about eight or 9 years in the past.
“It’s an exquisite factor for us to do as people, it’s additionally an exquisite factor for us to do as a married couple,” Strauss mentioned. “It’s an exquisite anti-aging treatment. What it does for me is it takes me fully outta my regular everyday life expertise, and I’m going to a distinct planet whereas I’m making music. I actually do. It’s a distinct private expertise, you realize, overlook about all of the stuff that’s occurring, Household, job, work, stress, cash, automobiles, all the pieces. Simply overlook about that stuff. You go to someplace fully completely different and also you simply fully open up into a distinct realm of being for me, me. So it’s an exquisite, I received’t say escape, nevertheless it’s an exquisite strategy to put issues apart and get artistic and have a type of enjoyment in contrast to some other.”
The Verdi Refrain Fall 2022 Live performance “A Verdi Puccini Fest” will happen on the First Presbyterian Church in Santa Monica, 1220 2nd Road, Santa Monica, CA 90401 on Saturday, November 12 at 7:30 pm; Sunday, November 13 at 4:00 pm. For tickets, go to www.verdichorus.org