Operatic chorus sings Verdi’s thunderous ‘Anvil Chorus’, raising the Royal Albert Hall roof

22 June 2023, 17:08 | Updated: 22 June 2023, 20:17

Verdi’s mighty Anvil Chorus raises the Royal Albert Hall roof | Classic FM

By Kyle Macdonald

Rambunctious choir: check. Blacksmith tools: check. Now, just sit back and enjoy the epic sound of opera’s great percussive chorus.

Now, here’s a thumping moment of opera, when hammer-on-metal blows are matched by a roaring choir in full voice.

It happened at the Royal Albert Hall earlier in the year, with the orchestra and chorus of English National Opera conducted by Paul Daniel.

The chorus is from Verdi’s 1853 opera Il trovatore. The music depicts Spanish workers striking their anvils at dawn and singing boisterously of hard work, good wine, and women.

It’s an intoxicating, rousing setting, full of hymn-like melody and thrilling percussion, much loved by listeners over the centuries.

They absolutely nailed it, with a sound that thrilled the 5,000-strong audience and could have raised that iconic roof. Watch it all above.

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Interestingly, the ‘Anvil Chorus’ is not the only time the sound of the blacksmith’s tool being stuck has been used in classical music.

Wagner uses one in Das Rheingold of his Ring Cycle, as the enslaved Nibelung mine and craft the fateful ring. And also, perhaps unsurprisingly, it is found in Gustav Holst’s Song of the Blacksmith both quite literal, musical hits.