Founded in 2011, the Chicago-based American Chamber Opera features an ensemble committed to singing full-length oratorios in English. Its productions resemble concerts more than traditional opera performances: the music takes center stage as the singers belt and emote in settings that evoke the world of the story with just a few well-placed details.
Hailed by the Chicago Tribune for their “pure tone, clear vowels, and firm blend,” the singers of the Bella Voce chamber choir wrap silken vocal cords around composer George Frideric Handel’s masterful oratorio during a performance of Baroque classicism. The choral ensemble takes on this cornerstone of the Western musical canon with historically accurate gusto, enlisting the string-and-brass accompaniment of period-instrument ensemble The Callipygian Players to recreate Handel’s work as the composer himself may have experienced it. Artistic director Andrew Lewis swings his conductor’s wand with aplomb, casting necromantic spells that raise his predecessor’s spirit from the dead to terrify the chorus into hitting higher notes.