The nine Apprentice Artists in the Opera Company’s Young Artists program have been, recently, performing supporting roles in Madam Butterfly, rehearsing daily for the Ballad of Baby Doe and watching their fellow Studio Artists sing in revues and recitals from the audience chairs.
“All in the world’s mere folly; man is born to be jolly,” basso buffo Kevin Glavin said, reminding audiences of the lesson to be learned through uproarious laughter in tonight’s production of Falstaff, Giuseppe Verdi’s comedic masterpiece, by the Chautauqua Opera Company.
Falstaff, the final opera in Verdi’s long and distinguished career, will be performed at 7:30 p.m. in Norton Hall and again at 7:30 p.m. on Monday. Students of Chautauqua Opera’s Young Artist Program will provide the chorus for the show.
The Chautauqua Opera Company’s “Artsongs in the Afternoon” series will open with a tribute to the dazzling dramatic tradition of cabaret.
At 4:15 p.m. today, the three singers performing in the Hall of Christ will welcome the audience to the show with Cabaret’s “Wilkommen.”
The decision to render a partially comical performance was not taken lightly. Cree Carrico, Tatiana Ogan and Clayton Brown, the trio of Young Artists performing today, spent the longest time deciding on their program, despite the fact that they are the first group to perform.
In 1955, John and Eleanor Pless just happened to be on the same day trip. The trip just happened to bring them to Chautauqua. And they just happened to fall in love with the Institution — and with each other.
Fifty-seven years later, the couple loves the place where they met almost as much as they love each other.
“John says I’d rather give him up than Chautauqua,” Eleanor said. “And he’d probably rather give me up than the opera.”
Their involvement with the Chautauqua Opera Company prompted them to “adopt” Studio and Apprentice Artists and now also Voice students in the School of Music.
When Tom Becker and Marty Merkley encouraged Carol Rausch to weave Chautauqua’s weekly themes into Chautauqua Opera Company’s programming, one possibility stood out above the rest.
“ ‘Water Matters’ was an easy one to chime in on,” said Rausch, music administrator of Chautauqua Opera. “There is tons of repertoire about water. We could do this theme for another three to five years and not run out of material.”
At 8:15 p.m. Saturday evening, the Amphitheater hosts the annual Opera Highlights concert, titled “Water Matters — Operatically (H2Opera),” a hodgepodge of operatic favorites performed by Chautauqua Opera’s apprentice artists and the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra. The program includes selections from shipwrecked islands, arias sung by water sprites and songs about the sea. It preludes the “Water Matters” morning lecture platform.