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SSA or SSAA: Opera Choruses

Here's my original inquiry with the responses I received below. I apologize
but I can't edit right now so there are duplications.

Thanks to all for your input.

Eduardo Azzati


"Dear listers,

I'm relying on your collective wisdom for suggestions for SA, SSA and SSAA
opera choruses for a women's chorus, not children. I'd appreciate chorus
title and title of the opera where the chorus comes from."


John Rutter has edited a wonderful group of 3...sold by Oxford
Three Opera Choruses for Treble voices.
it has The Witches Chorus from Verdi's Macbeth
as well as one each by Wagner and Tchaikovsky

Also, O Pastorelle Addio, by Umberto Giordano is wonderful!!!
very charming. It is on G. Schirmer I think.

Look at Carmen (Chorus of the Cigarette Girls), Hansel & Gretl (the duet,
"When at Night I go to Sleep) - The leads are always portrayed by women;
also look at Gibert and Sullivan's "Three Litle Maids from School" from the
Mikado; the duet from Lakme by Delibes.

1. Bridesmaids Chorus from Act III of Der Freischutz
2. "Pastorelle" from Act I of Andrea Chenier
3. Act II, scene i, opening chorus from Aida with Mezzo-soprano soloist
4. Act I from Carmen, chorus of cigarette girls
5. Opening chorus from Luisa Miller, soprano + chorus
6. Act II, opening chorus for women from Der Fliegende Hollander
7. 2 different Choruses of Witches in Act I, sc. i of Verdi's Macbeth

Check out the book: The chorus in opera : a guide to the repertory / by
David P. DeVenney and Craig R. Johnson. It has great info about opera

Check Boosey & Hawkes Choral Music Experience Opera Chorus series.
Quite a few octavos of opera choruses!

Have you considered turning some opera duets between soprano and mezzo
into a chorus for your women's choir?

I'm thinking of "Sous Le Dome Epais" (a/k/a the "Flower Duet" from the
opera Lakme by Leo Delibes. This duet is tender, beautiful and
memorable. I can easily hear a chorus performing this duetand the
audience would love it.

Another idea is to take the Humming Chorus from "Madama Butterfly". This
really is a chorus for SAT. But if you have some low altos that could
sing the tenor line, it might work.

1. From Act I of Bizet's "Carmen", "Dans l'air, nous suivons des yeux"
(a/k/a the "Chorus of the Cigarette Girls")

2. From Act I of Verdi's "MacBeth", "Che faceste?"
(a/k/a Chorus of the Witches)
3. From Act III of Verdi's "MacBeth", "Tre volte miagola la gatta"
(a/k/a The Witches' Spell and Chorus)

4. From Wagner's "Der fliegende Hollaender", "Spin, spin, fair maiden"
(a/k/a "Spinnerlied" and the "Spinning Chorus")

5. From Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin", the "Chorus of Peasant Girls"

6. From Act III of Janecek's "Jenufa", the "Wedding Song"

I believe there is a "cigarette" Chorus from Act I of "Carmen" by Bizet.
Also, the "Humming Chorus" from the end of Act II of Madama Butterfly by
Puccini can be sung by women only.

There is "Suor Angelica" (Sister Angelica") by Puccini, which is for women
only. There might be one or two choruses from that opera suitable for your

Have you looked at Eugene Onegin's Chorus of Peasant Girls? (Tchaikovsky)
Maybe the Witches Chorus from Verdi's Macbeth? There's a short chorus from
Wagner's Flying Dutchmen that is only women I think. Puccini's Suour
Angelica and Poulenc's Dialogues both have several choruses of nuns,
although I don't know which ones are the best for your program. If you're
willing to venture into operetta, Gilbert + Sullivan have lots of fun
women's choruses... at least one in every show they wrote.

"Gone is the winter," chorus of Indian maidens welcoming their
warriors home and welcoming the springtime, from _Narcissa_, by Mary
Carr Moore

"Comes a Train of Little Ladies" and "Three Little Maids" from _The
Mikado_, by Gilbert and Sullivan

"Dyevitskyi, krasavitsky," chorus of peasant girls from _Eugene
Onegin_, by Tchaikovsky

"Summ' und brumm'," Spinning-Chorus from _Der fliegende Hollander_,
by Richard Wagner

Three choruses from _Macbeth_, by Giuseppe Verdi:
"Cha faceste? Dite su!...Le sorelle vagabonde"
"Tre volte miagola...Bolli! bolli!"

"Preghiera," from _Maometto Secondo_, by Gioachino Rossini has a
major soprano solo; we featured a guest diva.

Butterfly's entrance chorus.
The is a lovely Garden Scene with Desdomona from Otello
A women's chorus in the party scene of La Traviata

I've done the Act I wedding prep music ("Quanto cielo, quanto mar"
etc.) from Puccini's Madame Butterfly several times. You need a
Butterfly soloist too. It is very effective as an excerpt. Then I cut
immediately to the Humming Chorus.

Also, there is a fine "operatic sequence" for women's voices only and a
couple of female soloists by Malcolm Williamson entitled The Brilliant
and the Dark. You can rent scores through Boosey and Hawkes. It lasts
about an hour as I recall. It can be performed nicely with two pianos.

"Noi siamo zingarelle" from La Traviata (G.Verdi) SSA
"O qual perenne gaudio" from "Il Corsaro" (G.Verdi) SSA
"Ah se l'error t'ingombra" (nun's chorus) from Il Trovatore (G.Verdi) SSAA
There is also the very beautiful "Gran Nume che voli" from Nabucco (G.Verdi)
which is part of the "Arredi festivi", the priestesses' choir, SSA , rather
short but not easy.

John Rutter did a set of opera choruses for women, the best of which is
"The Witches Chorus" from Verdi's Macbeth.

I have personally done a reduction from full score of the Three Ladies
scene from Mozart's Macbeth.

I also have a version of a waltz for SA from Gounod's "Faust"

I know that those aren't "choruses", but they really work well for
choral setting.

Also, there are a number of excellent things in The Mikado and Pirates
of Penzance by Gilbert and Sullivan.

Witches Chorus from MacBeth (Verdi) is great. SSA I think.

There's a wonderful, but short, chorus for SSAA along with a lovely soprano
solo at the end of Monteverdi's Il ballo delle ingrate. I can't find the
title of the chorus, but in English it's Have compassion on us.

Humming Chorus from Butterfly
Cigarette Girls from Carmen
Poor Wandering One from Pirates of Penzance