Duke Opera Theater and Duke Chorale videos highlight creative approach to vocal performances

Wednesday, April 28, 2021
Duke Opera Theater and the Duke Chorale have not let the constraints of the Covid-19 pandemic keep them from creating exciting projects this spring.

Two videos premiering this weekend highlight the vocal groups' commitment to creating new art in challenging times.

Duke Opera Theater: Flute & Figaro al Fresco

Friday, April 30
7:30 pm EDT, Online at https://sites.duke.edu/bestofbiddle/

"Flute & Figaro al Fresco" features staged scenes from Mozart's Magic Flute and The Marriage of Figaro filmed outside the Biddle Music Building on Duke's East Campus. Conceived by director David Heid and featuring pianist Daniel Seyfried, this homage to silent films is a creative, theatrical and comic response to the limitations placed on performances by the Covid-19 pandemic. The soundtrack, sung in English, was recorded one voice at a time in Baldwin Auditorium with the filming and editing of the video done by Rick Nelson, with additional footage shot by Ryan Harrison. This unique 35 minute film is fast-paced and engaging, demonstrating the creativity and resilience of Duke student vocalists and breaking new ground for creative opera presentations in the future. This video release includes a behind the scenes chat with Opera Theater director David Heid and pianist Dan Seyfried following the film.

David Heid discusses keeping the singers safe during filming in an interview with the Duke Chronicle online.
Video trailer #1: The Magic Flute
Video trailer #2: The Marriage of Figaro

Duke Chorale & Choral Society of Durham

Directed by Rodney Wynkoop, “I Should Be Glad" features the world premiere of Michael Bussewitz-Quarm's Where We Find Ourselves, inspired by the photographs of Hugh Mangum.

Sunday, May 2
4 pm EDT, Online at https://choral-society.org/may-concert/
Free, donations accepted

Michael Bussewitz-Quarm's Where We Find Ourselves is a 5-movement work commissioned by a consortium of choirs, including the Choral Society of Durham and the Duke University Chorale. It is a reflection on recently discovered photographs made by Hugh Mangum in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Durham and other cities in the Southeast. These photos, of both white and Black people from the community, have now been published in a book by Duke University faculty members Margaret Sartor and Alex Harris, Where We Find Ourselves: The Photographs of Hugh Mangum, 1897–1922 (University of North Carolina Press).

Mangum’s photographs, which are part of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Duke University, were on display at the Nasher Museum of Art in 2019. It was there that Michael Bussewitz-Quarm encountered them when she was in Durham to hear the Duke Chorale rehearse her composition, “Nigra sum.”

The Choral Society of Durham has a long history of commissioning works from outstanding contemporary composers as well as performing the great choral repertoire of the past. 

The Duke University Chorale is the primary choral group of the Department of Music at Duke. The Chorale’s repertoire features both sacred and secular music from many cultures and traditions. The group frequently collaborates with the Choral Society of Durham, performing major works with orchestra.