A profile of the glorious collective voice of The Metropolitan Opera Chorus, which is comprised of 80 fulltime singers.

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NOW A LOOK AT ANOTHER ICONIC INSTITUTION, THIS ONE AT LINCOLN CENTER.

LAST MONTH THE CURTAIN ROSE ON A NEW SEASON AT NEW YORK CITY'S WORLD RENOWNED METROPOLITAN OPERA.

FROM NOW THROUGH SPRING OF 2020 DOZENS OF OPERA'S MOST TALENTED SINGERS WILL GRACE THE MAIN STAGE, UNPARALLELED ARTISTRY.

EACH HAS UNIQUE AND CAPTIVATING STAR POWER.

ONE VOICE LESS HERALDED HEARD IN EVERY PRODUCTION, COLLECTIVE VOICE OF THE CHORUS, COMPRISED OF 80 FULL-TIME SINGERS.

♪♪ THEIR LEADER IS CELEBRATED CHORUS MASTER DONALD COLUMBO.

REHEARSES IN ALTOGETHER, DEVOTING TIME WITH HIS CHORUS, PERFECTING THEIR MUSICAL EXPRESSION OF THE SCORES.

VA, VA, VA, VA.

THIS SEASON MAESTRO COLUMBO LEADS THE CHORUS IN 25 PRODUCTIONS, OVER 200 PERFORMANCES.

THAT'S A BIG CHALLENGE.

HERE'S A LOOK BACK AT RIGOROUS PREPARATIONS TO READY FOR THE MAIN STAGE.

♪♪

CHORUS AT THE MET IS AN INTERESTING COMPONENT OF EVERY OPERA.

WE HAVE TO BE SO FLEXIBLE.

WE TRY TO PRESENT AS ONE CHARACTER IN ANY GIVEN OPERA BUT WE'RE COMPOSED OF 80 DIFFERENT INDIVIDUALS.

MY JOB IS TO CONTROL MUSICAL ASPECT OF THE PRESENTATION.

TRY TO GET THE SOUND TO BE UNIFIED AND COME ACROSS AS A CERTAIN CHARACTER.

HERE WE WORK ON SOUND, DICTION, PHRASING.

WE FIGURE OUT HOW TO CREATE A CHARACTER AS A CHORUS BY OUR MUSICAL EXPRESSION OF THE SCORE.

AND ONCE EVERYONE IN THE CHORUS KNOWS THIS, IT SORTS FREES US.

A NEW CHORUS AT THE MET IS USUALLY FACED WITH A CHALLENGE OF DECIDING, WHOA, I CAN'T MEMORIZE 24 OPERAS IN THE NEXT TWO OR THREE WEEKS.

FIRST YEAR I WAS QUITE SURPRISED TO SEE MY 23 OPERAS I WAS IN FOR THE SEASON ROLLED IN ON A DOLLY TO MY DESK, EVERYONE WISHING ME LUCK.

IT WAS QUITE -- IT GETS EASIER AS YEARS GO ON, YOU DEVELOP A REPERTOIRE.

BUT THREE TO FIVE YEARS TO SETTLE IN.

TRAVIATA, NEED TO REHEARSE IN LONG GESTURES, ENTIRE PHRASE, ENTIRE PIECE, TO GET A SENSE OF THE STRUCTURE AND MUSICAL VALUE OF THE PARTICULAR SEGMENT.

♪♪

BASS.

LEAN.

♪♪

IN THE CONTRA TAPA AT END OF THE SCENE, ALL ABOUT SINGING SOFTLY BUT TELLING HER TO TAKE HEART, WE'RE HEAR FOR YOU.

CAN'T DO IT SINGING LOUDLY BUT SINGING INTENSELY, WITH PURPOSE AND DIRECTION TO THE TONE.

♪♪ ♪♪

REMEMBER WITH THIS, YOU'RE INTRODUCING TRAVIATA TO PEOPLE.

WE DON'T HAVE INDIVIDUAL LINES, WE HAVE ONE COMMUNAL EXPRESSION.

♪♪ YOU REALLY HAVE TO GO BAR BY BAR, ALMOST NOTE BY NOTE TO MAKE SURE THE ACCURACY IS THERE BEFORE YOU CAN EVEN BEGIN TO RUN THE SEGMENT.

THERE'S ONE SECTION WE WERE REHEARSING, AND IT BASICALLY LASTS ABOUT 30 SECONDS.

IT TAKES I WOULD SAY AT LEAST AN HOUR ON SINGING THAT LITTLE SEGMENT TO GET COMFORTABLE AND SECURE.

VOTZAK, GOING TO PUT LAST PIECE TOGETHER, LAST LITTLE SEGMENT.

ONE, TWO, OFF.

♪♪

ALTOS, ALTOS, ALTOS!

BASSES, CAN YOU COME IN STRONGER ON D NATURAL?

ONCE MORE PLEASE.

IT'S GOING TO BE A BIT OF A CHALLENGE.

IT'S REALLY ANGULAR MUSIC.

NOT ALWAYS PRETTY.

LOT OF GERMAN TEXT THAT'S HARD TO CHEW ON SOMETIMES.

BUT IT'S GOING TO BE A NEAT PRODUCTION, I KNOW ALREADY.

IT'S BEEN AN INTERESTING JOURNEY COMING FROM THE BACKGROUND AS A SOLOIST, LEARNING TO INCORPORATE MY VOICE MORE AND BLEND MORE AND JUST FIND MY WAY AS A CHORESTER.

PUTTING IN AN EXTRA.

THERE IT IS.

I FEEL SO -- DRIVING ME CRAZY.

NO.

NOT GOING TO DO THIS IF -- NOT THE SPEED.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

♪♪

IT MAY SEEM LIKE WE'RE GATHERED TOGETHER IN GROUP HUDDLE IN THIS HALL, BUT THEN WE PLAY THE GAME.

IF HUDDLE IS INTENSE, USUALLY THE RESULTS IN THE GAME ARE POWERFUL.

♪♪

I CAN'T THINK OF A BETTER SCENE TO START THE OPERA SEASON WITH THAN DOING THE WITCHES OF MACBETH WITH YOU.

SOMETIMES DIRECTORS COME IN, GOT 80 PEOPLE, NEED TO MOVE THEM AS BLOCK, KEEP THE SOPRANOS AND TENORS TOGETHER, THAT'S NOT IT AT ALL.

CAN FUNCTION AS A GROUP.

GREAT TO WORK WITH PEOPLE LIKE GEENA WHO KNOWS US AS INDIVIDUALS.

THREE WITCHES IN 'MACBETH,' REALLY IMPORTANT TO KEEP YOUR GROUP SEPARATE HERE.

A DEFINED GROUP.

YOUR GROUP WILL BE ABLE TO COME MORE FROM AN ANGLE AND YOUR GROUP COME MORE FROM AN ANGLE.

'MACBETH,' THE PLAY, THREE INDIVIDUALS, BUT INDIVIDUALS WE HAVE ARE MADE OF 14 OR 15 WOMEN.

TO GET 15 WOMEN TO ARTICULATE AN EARTHSHATTERING PROPHECY TO MACBETH IN UNIFIED FASHION TAKES A LOT OF WORK.

AND IT'S FIRST SCENE OF THE OPERA, GETTING GOING VOCALLY FOR THE EVENING.

WITCHES AT BEGINNING HAVE TO BE TURNED ON IMMEDIATELY WHEN THEY MAKE THAT FIRST DESCENT FROM THE TOP OF THE FOREST, RUNNING DOWN TO THE FRONT OF THE STAGE.

♪♪

WE'RE AN ENSEMBLE.

IT'S GETTING OUR SOUND REFINED.

SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO STEP BACK FROM TRYING TO BE A SOLOIST, BE WITH THE GROUP.

MET'S CHORUS IS ONE OF THE GREATEST IN THE WORLD, THE CHORUS I KIND OF GREW UP WITH.

ONE OF THE BIGGEST ROLES I'VE EVER SUNG, SUPPORTIVE EMOTIONALLY, AND LITERALLY SUPPORTING ME, HELP ME UP ON TABLES, GET DOWN, HOLD MY HAND, COMFORTABLE WITH THEM AND GRATEFUL THEY'RE HERE WITH ME.

♪♪

WE WILL PROBABLY RUN THE ENTIRE SCENE ONCE JUST SO EVERYBODY GETS A SENSE OF THE FLOW OF THE SCENE.

THEN PROBABLY STOP, GO BACK AND DO AS MUCH NIT-PICKING AS WE HAVE TIME FOR.

JUST RELEASE LONG NOTES.

I LOVE THE NIT-PICKING PART.

SHOULD BE A LOT OF FUN, SHOULD BE NOISY, SHOULD BE CHAOTIC, STILL STRUCTURED MUSICALLY.

THAT'S ALWAYS THE DIFFICULTY WITH THESE PARTY SCENES.

THEY HAVE TO SOUND LIKE EVERYBODY IS HAVING A GRAND OLD TIME AND EVERYTHING IS VERY SPONTANEOUS, BUT IT REALLY ISN'T, IT'S ALL VERY CONTROLLED AND VERY STRUCTURED MUSICALLY.

I THINK IF YOU WERE COMING TO THE MET AND WANTED TO SEE WHAT CHORUS IS ABOUT, COME TO BUTTERFLY, 'MADAME BUTTERFLY' AND WATCH THE ENTRANCE WHERE ENTIRE GROUP OF GEISHAS APPEAR MAGICALLY FROM BOTTOM OF THE STAGE AND ALL APPEAR AT TOP OF THE HILL AS BUTTERFLY IS MAKING HER ENTRANCE.

SIMPLE MOMENT WHERE EVERYTHING JUST SEEMS TO BE IN PLACE.

JUST HAPPENS.

AND YOU SEE SIMPLICITY.

IT'S SO BEAUTIFUL HERE AT THE MET.