While the eyes of the audience will be locked on the stage Saturday during Madam Butterfly, their ears will be taking in the sound of the production’s orchestral band.
Chautauquans will hear the drums of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra echoing at 8 p.m. tonight in the Amphitheater as CSO principal timpanist Stuart Chafetz leads the the first of two symphony pops concerts.
This summer marks the fourth year that William Freyd and his wife, Diane Jones Carlson, have supported a Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra Community Appreciation Night.
Picture an orchestral conductor. Maybe an old man with white hair comes to mind, with the appearance and stoicism of the Queen’s Guard outside Buckingham Palace as he signals instructions to the musicians with every thrust of the baton. Stuart Chafetz not only doesn’t fit this mold, he’s created a new one all his own.
The weather may be cool, but the Chautauqua Opera Company Young Artists and the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra will heat up the Amphitheater Saturday night with hot Broadway and pop tunes, all about summer.
“Summertime” from Porgy and Bess, “Summer in Ohio” from The Last Five Years and “Too Darn Hot” from Kiss Me, Kate are just some of the selections the Young Artists and the CSO will perform, starting at 8:15 p.m. Saturday night in the Amp. The program will be conducted by Stuart Chafetz, CSO principal timpanist and guest conductor.
Stuart Chafetz may be the only conductor who visits Sam’s Club once a year to buy 15,000 paper bags.
“[The cashiers] kind of look at me funny, like, ‘What’s this for? Boy, is this for camp?’ ” Chafetz said. “I just usually say, ‘Yeah, a lot of mouths to feed.’ We always have plenty of paper bags — the ushers hand you your program plus three paper bags.”
Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra principal timpanist and frequent guest conductor Stuart Chafetz will be the featured speaker for the Hebrew Congregation’s Shirley Lazarus Sunday Speakers Series at 8 p.m. Sunday in the Hurlbut Church sanctuary.
Chafetz has served as principal timpanist of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra since 1997. This year, he guest conducted the annual Independence Day concert, which he has done for the past nine years, as well as the Opera Pops concert in August.
Though the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra welcomes guest artists every week, members of the CSO also travel across the United States to perform during the season.
Jeffrey Robinson, principal bassoon and member of the CSO for the past eight years, was absent the first half of the Chautauqua season, because he was subbing in the New York Philharmonic.
“I still thought about this place every day,” Robinson said. “I wish I could have been both places, but it just seemed like too good an opportunity and too interesting a thing to have happen to turn down.”
Robinson played with the NYPO for four months, which included a tour of the West Coast, a residency in the Vail Valley Music Festival, and concerts in Central Park.
You might sit through an entire opera or Broadway show just to hear a favorite song. You buy a ticket for Carmen to hear the “Habanera” aria; you attend My Fair Lady for “I Could Have Danced All Night”; and when the orchestra swells with the introductory notes of your beloved piece, you are transported.
At 8:15 p.m. Saturday in the Amphitheater, Chautauqua Opera Company’s Apprentice Artists will sing only the favorites in their end-of-season pops concert, “Water Matters: Broadway — The Great Wet Way,” with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra.
After programming the Opera Highlights concert to reflect Chautauqua’s “Water Matters” theme during Week Four, the opera staff had a long list of water-related music that did not fit in the July 14 concert. Keeping the water topic for the Apprentice Artists’ second symphony concert seemed like the obvious choice.
“Two sticks down to one, I say,” said Stuart Chafetz, principal timpanist of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra.
Saturday, he will set down his mallets and pick up his baton to conduct the Opera Young Artists Pops Concert with the CSO at 8:15 p.m. in the Amphitheater.
It has been a busy week for Chafetz. Between racing to CSO rehearsal in the morning, to opera rehearsal in the afternoon, and then back to the Amp for CSO concerts in the evening, he barely has time to breathe. But Chafetz does not let it show.