There was a lighthearted feeling in the Orpheum Theatre on Saturday night as the audience, Galesburg residents and students alike, prepared themselves for “A Night at the Opera,” the Galesburg Community Chorus’s final concert of the season. Four nationally renowned opera soloists, including Associate in Applied Music at Knox Gregory G.D. Lewis, joined the Chorus to perform famous operatic works from the likes of Verdi, Purcell, Puccini and Gilbert and Sullivan under the direction of Knox College’s lecturer in Music Tim Pahel.
The Chorus sang ten pieces over the course of an hour. Each piece was introduced by a narrator, Linda Hinrichs, who wore a different costume for each piece and gave a brief synopsis of the story and the characters. Her narration was filled with small quips and asides that were met with laughter and applause from the older members of the audience.
The Chorus and one or more soloists performed each piece, and Amber Clark accompanied on the piano. The audience was particularly taken by three pieces from Carmen by Bizet, including the iconic Habanera, as well as the Cavalleria Rusticana by Mascagni, a song about the glories of life in the Italian countryside and the joys of wine. In the second half of the evening, the Finale of The Mikado by Gilbert and Sullivan stole the show, featuring all four visiting soloists as well as soloists from the Chorus.
The visiting soloists were Christine Steyer, soprano, Clara Osowski, mezzo-soprano, Franco Martorana, tenor, and Lewis, baritone. Steyer and Martorana were particularly popular with the audience, drawing them into their solos and digging into the drama of the pieces with the competent backing of the chorus and their fellow soloists. Both Steyer and Martorana performed encores; Martorana dedicated his to his wife who is fighting cancer. He teared up as he sang and finished to rousing applause.
All of the music was competently performed by the Chorus and everyone performing seemed to truly enjoy the music, and consequently, the audience enjoyed the show as well.