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The chorus performing alongside Captain Ahab and the other opera stars in this weekend’s “Moby-Dick” at San Diego Opera will be portraying the crew of the doomed Pequod whaling ship.

“Something that’s a bit unusual for opera is that this chorus is made up entirely of men,” said San Diego Opera education director Nic Reveles, “which makes for a powerful, sometimes overwhelming, sound.”

This week San Diego Opera is showing little video glimpses of the backstage effort to make this opera possible. We’ve been following them as Opening Night nears. Here’s the latest video peek — the chorus for “Moby-Dick” in rehearsal:

The testosterone quota means Rita Cantos Cartwright, the opera chorister who’s appeared in more than 70 operas here, won’t be singing this time. In our profile of Cartwright last year, Valerie Scher explained a bit more about the role of the chorus:

An opera chorus is often under-appreciated. Yet what it provides is essential. Through singing and acting, the chorus can incite, explain and enhance the action while adding harmonic underpinning to the lead singers and orchestra. It’s part of the soul of opera, resonating from its very core. And the sound of a large chorus that’s packed into a rehearsal room is overwhelming.

And in our backstage series at “Faust” last year, we learned the chorus can take quite a few forms:

The roles and sizes of the choruses in different operas vary wildly — from telling stories to acting as characters to standing in as living set pieces. Townfolk. Rowdy friends. Soldiers or scoundrels.

Want to see more behind the scenes at “Moby-Dick”?

Yesterday we looked at the orchestra and the a change in conductor for the performances, and on Monday the company showed us the rigging for a singer to fly.

I’m Kelly Bennett, the arts editor for VOSD. You can reach me directly at or 619.325.0531.

And follow Behind the Scene on Facebook.

Kelly Bennett

Kelly Bennett is a former staff writer for Voice of San Diego.

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