Meet Opera Philadelphia’s First Female Chorus Master

Opera Philadelphia to Perform at Rajant World Music Benefit Nov. 8

by Melissa Jacobs

Sponsored Content

Can opera be a form of social activism? It can if Elizabeth Braden is conducting. Braden, the first female conductor and chorus master of Opera Philadelphia, believes that music can also be healing and unifying. She’s turned poetry by Black Americans into operas, and organized LGBTQ-themed operas. “As performers, we often cross genres and cultures,” Braden said. “We have something to say and we want to share it.”

Opera Philadelphia

Braden is sharing it in force. This fall marks Opera Philadelphia’s first full season of in-performances since the pandemic started. And, Braden and six members of Opera Philadelphia will make a special appearance at the Rajant World Music Benefit for UNICEF at City Winery in Philadelphia. The group will perform Stephen Sondheim’s “Send In The Clowns,” the so-called “cigarette chorus” from “Carmen” and two poems set to music: Langston Hughes’ “Dreams” and “For The Beauty Of The Earth” by Folliott S. Pierpoint.

Rajant’s special concert features performers from a wide variety of musical genres, including rock and R&B. “I love all forms of music,” Braden said. “When it comes to instruments and voices, there is more that unites us than divides us.”

A graduate of West Chester University, Braden won the Opera Philadelphia job in 2004 after spending nearly 20 years as the musical director of Wallingford Presbyterian Church. Choral music was Braden’s passion for most of her life; she listened to opera only when forced to do so. “When I was a child, a friend’s dad used to play opera – loudly – and we hated it,” Braden said with a laugh.

But Braden knows that she was lucky to have a culturally rich childhood in her hometown of Easton, PA. Many children around the world grapple with hunger, disease and the devastation caused by war. “It hurts my heart to think about it,” Braden said. “So when we were asked to participate in a concert that raises funds for UNICEF USA, it was a definite yes.”

Donn T

UNICEF helps children in every part of the globe, including Ukraine. Currently, UNICEF estimates that 5.2 million Ukrainian children are in immediate need of food, shelter and clothing. UNICEF’s emergency response teams are working tirelessly to help those children. “As artists, this is something we can do to bring attention to UNICEF,” Braden said. “It’s a wonderful way to use our voices to further UNICEF’s great mission.”

Interested in Rajant’s World Music Benefit? Read about the upcoming performance from Donn T and how Rajant CEO Bob Schena created this very special concert.

Love this story? Share it!

Top Stories

West Chester’s Brian Zepka Is A Literary Rising Star

Zepka’s Queer Sci-Fi Novel Optioned by Disney+ Brian Zepka Appears At Barnes & Noble Devon on June 10 by Melissa Jacobs It wasn’t until he went to Brazil that Brian Zepka really understood the impact of his book. He was there to appear at an international book festival and celebrate the Portuguese publication of his…

Radnor Hunt: Looks We Love

Best Dressed (And Hatted) From Radnor Hunt 2023 by Diane Oliva, style editor Radnor Hunt 2023 was a wonderful day, as always, and we saw many first-timers attending. Which outfits did we love? Here are my top picks. L-R: Sama Fanaselle, Evie Romanova and Katie Molloy; Kathleen Kenneally, winner of the 2023 hat contest L-R:…

Radnor Hunt: What To Wear

Rain or shine, Derby or equestrian style, here’s what to wear to Radnor Hunt. by Diane Oliva, style editor Ready for Radnor Hunt Races? While it is one of the most fashionably fun days of the year, planning your outfit can be difficult because the weather is so unpredictable. Last year, the sun baked us…

One response to “Meet Opera Philadelphia’s First Female Chorus Master”

Leave a Reply