Explore the range of voices you can hear in an opera chorus and have a go at singing like an opera singer!

What does 'chorus' mean?

In music, the word ‘chorus’ can have different meanings:

A chorus can be the part of a song that is repeated after a verse. Here is video explaining all the different sections we can find in a song.

  • Can you find out what the three sections of a song are called?

  • Pick your favourite song and have a listen. Can you tell where the chorus is? Can you sing along to it?

A chorus can also refer to a group of singers who sing together, like the Chorus of Opera North. Here they are singing together in the opera The Greek Passion by Czech composer Bohuslav Martinů.

  • Have a listen to the ‘Kyrie’ from Act II.

Finally, a chorus can also be a piece of music sang by a group of performers. Here is a video of a group of opera singers from Opera North performing a chorus from the opera Aida at shopping centre Trinity Leeds.

The opera chorus

Meet Lorna and Claire who will tell you more about the opera chorus and their work singing with the Chorus of Opera North.

  • How many different voice types do you think there are in an opera chorus?

  • Can you name them?

  • Do you know what the role of the chorus is in an opera?

  • How many singers sing in an opera chorus?

There are four main voice types in an opera chorus. Going from the highest to the lowest: soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor and bass.

  • Can you spot all the different voices singing in harmony in this video of ‘Habanera’ from the opera Carmen? See if you can spot Lorna and Claire too and guess what part they might sing…

  • Do you recognise the song? You might have heard it before.

Have a go!

Now it’s your turn! Marie Claire is going to teach you the ‘Can Can’ chorus from Orpheus and the Underworld by Jacques Offenbach. The original opera was written in French but she has adapted the song with silly English words so you can have a lot of fun with it!

We would love to see how you get on so feel free to share videos with us on social media using #ONLittleSchool.


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