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La Monnaie Chorus

In the course of its 300-year existence, the La Monnaie Chorus has developed its own soul and personality, which has been constantly refined on the initiative of its conductors. Over the past few decades it was led successively by Gunther Wagner, Johannes Mikkelsen, Catherine Alligon, Werner Nitzer, Renato Balsadonna and Piers Maxim, Martino Faggiani, and since 2012 by Emanuelle Trenque.

In the first place, the chorus plays a vital part in the opera productions at La Monnaie. The demands of contemporary opera are exceptionally high in terms of both voice and acting, whether the singer lends their voice to anonymous crowds of people or to well-defined and recognisable individuals. The La Monnaie Chorus has proven that it is able to meet these twin requirements, in such intense productions as Cendrillon and Don Quichotte (Massenet), Les Huguenots (Meyerbeer), Hamlet (Thomas), Lucrezia Borgia and L’elisir d’amore (Donizetti), Aida (Verdi), Dialogues des Carmélites (Poulenc), Cavalleria rusticana & Pagliacci (Mascagni/Leoncavallo), and also La Gioconda (Ponchielli). This is of course the French and Italian repertoire, with which it has historically had a great affinity. But it has also demonstrated its versatility in such productions as Rusalka (Dvořák), Parsifal (Wagner), Daphne (Strauss), Jenůfa (Janáček), Lohengrin (Wagner), Bluebeard’s Castle (Bartók), and, more recently, world premieres such as Frankenstein (Mark Grey). It has successfully performed not only the great works from the repertoire of virtually all opera cultures, but also such lesser-known works as Fierrabras (Schubert), La vestale (Spontini), Béatrice et Bénédict (Berlioz), Demon (Rubinstein), Rachmaninov’s operas (Troika) and The Golden Cockerel (Rimski-Korsakov), while modern choral parts as in Le Grand Macabre (Ligeti), Œdipe (Enescu) and Sweeney Todd (Sondheim / Wheeler) present them with no problem.

In addition to these great scenic productions, the La Monnaie Chorus also devotes itself to the broader choral and symphonic repertoire. For instance, such concert operas as Roméo & Juliette (Gounod), Guillaume Tell (Rossini), Pénélope (Fauré), and Robert le Diable (Meyerbeer), but also the requiem concerts – Verdi’s Messa da requiem, Britten’s War Requiem, Berlioz’ Grande Messe des morts and Dvořák’s Requiem, for example – are annual highlights.

Although the La Monnaie Chorus is the natural partner of the La Monnaie Symphony Orchestra, it is also often invited to perform in concerts and musical projects with other ensembles. For example, in 2012 it took part in La Muette de Portici (Auber) at the Opéra Comique in Paris.