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Opera coaches fit diverse areas of expertise under one job title

Behind the musical visions brought into being by Chautauqua Opera Company’s 26 Young Artists is a staff of six devoted coaches who work tirelessly to ensure that each singer’s voice is thoroughly prepared for performance.

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D’Andrade presents bonus opera trunk show all weekend

For decades, fashion designer Sandy D’Andrade has been weaving a wintry tree of life into her opera-inspired garments. Although her signature design, the “Winter Tree,” bears no leaves, it is a living, breathing “symbol of life,” the designer said. “It’s one of those images that crosses through every age and every culture, every religion. We draw it reaching down into the roots, into the earth to symbolize potential and growth, healing and renewal.”

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Harpist Rebecca Hung performs with the Music School Festival Orchestra during Monday evening’s performance of Dialogues of the Carmelites. (1)

REVIEW — A brave exploration of fear and death MSFO, Voice students beautifully stage Poulenc’s haunting ‘Dialogues’

The chilly evening air and half-empty wooden pews of the Amphitheater may have dampened the spirits of patrons Monday night during Francis Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites, performed by students from the School of Music’s Voice Program and the Music School Festival Orchestra. The performers, though, couldn’t have asked for a better environment for the hauntingly austere production.

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Young Artists explore death, unknown in 2013 season’s final Artsongs recital

At 4:15 p.m. today in the Hall of Christ, a trio of Studio Artists from Chautauqua Opera Company’s Young Artist program will perform a set of songs about death in the season’s final Artsongs recital.

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Katie McLean | Staff PhotographerJuliet (North Carolina Dance Theatre dancer Anna Gerberich) is devastated to find Romeo (NCDT dancer Frederick (Pete) Leo Walker II) dead in the tomb upon waking from her long slumber during Saturday’s inter-arts performance of The Romeo & Juliet Project in the Amphitheater.

REVIEW — ‘As big as the iconic story’: Ambitious ‘R&J’ full of passion but nearly buckles under its own weight

What’s in a name?

In the case of The Romeo & Juliet Project, the telling word is “project.” Experimentally drawing on the talents of Chautauqua’s six different arts programs, director Vivienne Benesch has mounted an ambitious — to say the least — retelling of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy through poetry, music, dance, and opera. It’s the first such inter-arts collaboration at the Institution, and the product of countless hours of planning, scheduling, and brainstorming. The end result is indeed a production as big as the Bard’s iconic story, but at times that massive size threatens to overwhelm the show.

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Brian Smith | Staff PhotographerRomeo (North Carolina Dance Theatre dancer Frederick (Pete) Leo Walker II) and Tybalt (NCDT dancer Naseeb Culpepper) partake in a swordfight after Tybalt killed Mercutio during Saturday’s inter-arts performance of The Romeo & Juliet Project in the Amphitheater.

REVIEW — ‘A Triumph of vision’: Organizers, performers pull off ambitious venture with skill and flair

Saturday night a capacity crowd filled an Amphitheater brimming with anticipation for one of the summer’s key artistic events: an original inter-arts collaboration among Chautauqua’s major performing arts organizations exploring and presenting a brand-new composite version of Romeo and Juliet, conceived and directed with flair and skill by the Chautauqua Theater Company’s Vivienne Benesch. Despite some rain, busy performance schedules all around and the challenges of rehearsing and coordinating in such a busy venue a project involving 150 artists in the pit and onstage, the evening proved a triumph of vision and organization. The other Institutional artistic entities involved were the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, Chautauqua Dance program and North Carolina Dance Theatre, Chautauqua Opera Company, the Chautauqua School of Music and — materializing up near the United Nations flag for a sexy entr’acte of Duke Ellington’s “Star Crossed Lovers,” with Scott Hartman the persuasive trombone soloist — a jazz ensemble from the Music School Festival Orchestra. Where else but Chautauqua could such a feat have been attempted, let alone brought off? Even The Juilliard School (to which many of the artists involved have ties) has neither the institutional structure nor an appropriate venue for preparing and presenting such an ambitious, large-scale venture.

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Brian Smith | Staff Photographer. Romeo (Chautauqua Theater Company conservatory actor Brian Smolin), believing Juliet (actor Arielle Goldman) dead, plays dead himself after drinking poison. (1)

SLIDESHOW: Romeo & Juliet

Scenes from Saturday’s world premiere of the Chautauqua Institution original inter-arts production ‘The Romeo & Juliet Project.’ [SLIDESHOW]

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