49 Songs, 2 Hours 45 Minutes

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About Frankfurt Opera and Museum Orchestra, Frankfurt Opera Chorus & Sebastian Weigle

The Frankfurt Opera Chorus (Chor des Oper Frankfurt) is one of the largest and most respected in the world of German opera, integral to the operatic productions of the company of which it is part. The chorus has been active in one capacity or another since the late 18th century, when an established orchestra began performing in Frankfurt's municipal opera house. In 1808 the chorus and orchestra became linked, like other German operatic ensembles of the period, to an art museum, in this case the Frankfurter Museum founded by a group of culturally inclined prominent citizens. Among the ensemble's conductors, beginning in 1808, was Louis Spohr, and a string of other top German musicians, including Willem Mengelberg, Clemens Krauss, and Hermann Scherchen have held the baton; guest conductors have included Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss. In addition to joining operatic productions, the Frankfurt Opera Chorus has continued to perform at the Museum Concerts that have been part of the organization's mission for two centuries (the orchestra's full name remains the Frankfurter Opern und Museumsorchester). The size of the chorus was reduced in 1993 when the Frankfurt Opera moved to the so-called stagione system, whereby operas were individually cast for short runs. The company later returned to a repertory system, necessitating a standing group of musicians and singers familiar with a rotating body of works, and the size of the group increased once again so that extra members would only rarely have to be added for specific works. The Frankfurt Opera's productions regularly draw on members of the chorus for solo roles, and chorus members undergo rigorous training to enable them to take such roles. The Chorus, truly international in scope, includes members from Albania, Serbia, Spain, Austria, France Italy, Switzerland, Chile, Ukraine, Lithuania, Switzerland, the U.S., Russia, China, Korea, and Japan, as well as Germany, and the orchestra operates its own associated children's choir. In association with the Opera, the Chorus has amassed a large catalog of recordings, including, in 2018, a new performance of Friedrich von Flotow's opera Martha, released on the Oehms label. Since the 2014-2015 season, the opera's Chorus Master has been Tilman Michael. ~ James Manheim

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