Yale Philharmonia and Yale Opera will give a joint concert Friday at Woolsey Hall, performing music composed by Verdi, Donizetti, Mozart, Massenet, Rossini, Bizet and Gounod. 

The program, which will open and conclude with Verdi’s music, consists of a collection of 14 pieces. The concert will be directed by Gerald Martin Moore, the director of Yale Opera, and will feature Louis Lohraseb MUS ’15, an assistant conductor at the Los Angeles Opera whose performances have garnered praise from Opera News and The Wall Street Journal. 

“It’s a short time frame of rehearsal for such an ambitious concert, but we do have wonderfully prepared musical singers and a great conductor, so that’s encouraging,” Moore said.

Friday’s performance will be a “gala concert,” where singers present excerpts from various operas to create a full evening of music. For Moore, the program gives opera students the chance to “shine” the orchestra, since each singer gets something to specifically showcase their vocal strengths. According to Lohraseb, the majority of the pieces were curated by Moore, and they span a variety of the “most glorious music ever written”— from “fantastic” French opera pieces to Massenet’s “Thaïs” to Gounod’s “Romeo and Juliet,” which presents the couple’s famous bedroom scene. 

“They range from pieces that almost anyone who enjoys opera knows to pieces that many people will be hearing perhaps for the first time, but will fall in love with immediately,” Lohraseb said. “It’s a great selection of pieces, and I believe that the flow of the concert is very interesting and people will enjoy it very much.”

Per Yale’s COVID-19 safety policies, in-person audiences will be limited to current School of Music and Institute of Sacred Music students, faculty and staff. The opera will be live-streamed on the School of Music’s website. 

According to Moore, masks make singing “extremely” challenging; however it is still “heartening” to have all the singers in the same space for this concert, which marks the first collaboration between Yale Opera and Yale Philharmonia since the start of the pandemic. 

“I think [the concert] is kind of a celebration of opera in a way,”  Elana Bell MUS ’23 said. “There are a lot of really fun excerpts from very different shows, and I think that [the conductors] tried to show off the amazing talent that we have in Yale Opera.”

According to Lohraseb, an opera singer is trained to produce sounds which fill an entire hall acoustically without any help from a device like a microphone. However, when singers wear a mask, it takes away some of the overtones and other characteristics of a voice which demonstrate its unique quality. 

Still, Lohraseb emphasized that recording engineers at Yale are “fantastic,” and the team is figuring out a way to balance the voices and present them as true as possible to what they sound like without a face covering. 

“We end the concert with “Falstaff,” which is, I think, a great combination of exactly what we are trying to present in this concert: great singing, intellectually stimulating music that is, at the same time, really entertaining to listen to,” Lohraseb said. 

Woolsey Hall is located at 500 College St.

Gamze covers music news for the Arts desk and writes for the WKND. She is a sophomore in Pauli Murray majoring in psychology and humanities.