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The Arts

Behind the scenes tour gives inside look at ‘Three Sisters’

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Decommissioned nuclear reactors and flying chairs are not typically the first things that come to mind in a production of Chekhov’s “Three Sisters,” but this is what awaits those who attend today’s Bratton Behind the Scenes. The event, which will focus on Chautauqua Theater Company’s current production of “Three Sisters,” begins at 2:15 p.m. at Bratton Theater. The program will last approximately 45 minutes.

In the spotlight

Great American Picnic
July 5’s premiere performance of the Music School Festival Orchestra introduced an energetic and versatile group of young musicians ready to take on the challenges of not only difficult but very diverse repertoire. Tonight’s concert will once again display the astounding amount of progress the MSFO has made since its first concert, but it also will have some debuts of its own.

A grand spectacle

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Following last season’s grand Norma, the Chautauqua Opera Company achieved even finer results Saturday evening with a fine but under-appreciated Giuseppe Verdi work that represents a midpoint between the bel canto style of Norma and the full-out “music drama” Verdi and Wagner were to develop later in the 19th century: 1849’s Luisa Miller. While, it’s never been a crowd-pleaser like Rigoletto or La traviata, it’s a passionate story — full of melodrama, but also full of feeling — and the music is wonderful, culminating in a third act that ranks among the great single acts in Verdi’s huge output.

Writers-in-residence foster new poets, voices

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This week, the Writers’ Center will launch a new batch of poets and help prose writers fine-tune their voices. To kick off their week-long stay at Chautauqua, poet-in-residence Aimee Nezhukumatathil and writer-in-residence Ron MacLean will both read selections from their work at 3:30 p.m. Sunday on the front porch of Alumni Hall.

CTC’s Late Night Mask Show full of silly fun

Author Dan Ephron
Masks, clown noses and a silly show are scheduled to take place at 10:30 p.m. Saturday at the Chautauqua Theater Company’s Late Night Mask Show. The show will take place outside rehearsal shacks 64 and 65. Although it falls during Week Two programming dates, the show will take on the theme from Week Three, which is “American Intelligence: Technology, Espionage and Alliances,” said Artistic Director Vivienne Benesch.

Lesenger uses master class to instruct singers on acting

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An opera production derives from the music, not the other way around, said Jay Lesenger, artistic/general director of Chautauqua Opera Company. Sometimes directors will have a concept in mind before delving into a production, but Lesenger said he believes in a firm understanding of opera and its traditions before interpreting the music for the stage. “I’m not of the school that I have to do something different to make it true,” Lesenger said. “I’m all for innovation, but that’s not how I go about looking at a piece. I don’t say, ‘How can we do this differently?’ I just say, ‘How can we do it well?’”

Vamos teaches master class on importance of musical family tree

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In the music world, teachers are family. Musicians can trace the lineage of their instructors through generations, forming a musical genealogical web. Technique, fingerings and style are inherited from those teachers, but for students, after months and even years of working with the same teacher, it’s not about the basics. It’s about the personal connection that drives students to work even harder in the practice room because it is no longer a teacher who inspired them; it is a life-long friend.

From stage to classroom, Gavrylyuk returns to teach piano master classes

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In the past two weeks, the Chautauqua School of Music has held master classes with some of the most seasoned professionals in the music industry. These teachers have had successful solo and chamber music careers, and most hold positions in the most prestigious conservatories in the country. Alexander Gavrylyuk is also a seasoned professional, soloing at major concert halls around the world and winning all the big-name competitions. Gavrylyuk holds his own on the list of distinguished master class coaches, but he’s only in his 20s.

Sandel brings ethics discussions to Amp, CLSC

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A longtime visitor to Chautauqua’s Amphitheater, Harvard University professor Michael Sandel returns to ask the question: What’s the right thing to do? Sandel will speak twice today. He will give a morning lecture at 10:45 a.m. in the Amphitheater, as well as a Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle lecture at 3:30 p.m. in the Hall of Philosophy. Sandel’s lectures come to Chautauqua nearing the end of the Week Two theme of “Applied Ethics: Government and the Search for the Common Good.”

Opera singers find new voice with musical theater

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When the average person thinks of American musical theater, the names Rodgers and Hammerstein no doubt come to mind. However, in the Musical Theater Revue, put on by Studio Artists of the Chautauqua Opera Company at 10:30 p.m. tonight and next Tuesday in Elizabeth S. Lenna Hall, Richard Rodgers will be nowhere to be found.

Singers explore diverse topics in weekly Artsongs

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Love, death and the meaning of existence are all themes that will be sung about in this week’s Chautauqua Opera Studio Artists Artsongs recital at 4 p.m. today in the Hall of Christ. Three singers, all Chautauqua first-timers, will be singing: soprano Alize Rozsnyai, baritone Nickoli Strommer and tenor Joshua Baum.

Belly dancer to discuss, demonstrate art form

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Nancy Loyan Shuemann lives a double life. Like Superman, she juggles two occupations, and one requires quite a costume. As a published author, her writing takes up most of her day. At night, though, she grabs her saber, throws on her beaded bra and skirt and shares her love of belly dancing

CLSC Week Two selection trails MLK’s assassin

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As a Civil Rights crusader, the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr.’s fight for equality runs alongside the Week Two theme of “Government and the Search for the Common Good.” Yet his gospel of nonviolence was a dangerous one to preach. The first Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle selection for Week Two is Hellhound on his Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the International Hunt for his Assassin by Hampton Sides.

Brown Bag event to foster discussion of CTC’s ‘Three Sisters’ production

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Chautauqua Theater Company’s production of Anton Chekhov’s “Three Sisters” is set as the topic of discussion at the Brown Bag lunch at 12:15 p.m. today in Bratton Theater. General Manager Robert Chelimsky said the event will focus on the choices made in the CTC production, which means that a lot of attention may be turned to guest director Brian Mertes. “The director becomes the interviewee to a great degree,” Chelimsky said. “It tends to be very focused on what they were going for conceptually.”
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