When Emma Griffin works with young opera artists, she focuses on the relationship between the artist and the performance.
“How do you approach a role or a song or an aria or a piece of material to really perform it? I’m really interested in the synchronicity between who the young singer is as a person…and how to really let them find this material as a way to express themselves,” said Griffin, who is the newly appointed managing artistic director of Mannes Opera.
For the past week, Griffin has taught Chautauqua Opera Company’s Young Artists about stage presence, which will be showcased in an Open Mic at 10 p.m. Wednesday, July 18, in the Athenaeum Hotel Parlor.
Learning to perform is just another step in the process, Griffin said. Teaching performance is all about finding what the artists can bring to the character presented to them, and that is important to honing the craft.
“The Open Mic night is fun because stuff is in mid-process,” Griffin said. “It’s not as polished as it would be at a recital. You may hear a singer sing something for the third time ever because they’re just trying it out.”
Attendees should expect a “smorgasbord” of music, Griffin said, because she encourages all of the artists she works with to bring pieces of music they want to work on. The Young Artists have selected non-opera pieces, as well as those from traditional and new operas. Some of the songs are new to the artists; however, other selections are pieces the artists have wanted to sing.
Working with new pieces also gives the Young Artists a chance to try out and perfect material to add to their audition books, Griffin said.
Witnessing the Young Artists’ vulnerabilities with new music is exciting, Griffin said.
“It’s always super fun to see Young Artists working stuff out,” Griffin said. “I think that is such a privilege, really, to be able to see these really highly trained, tremendously talented people figuring it out.”