The popular anthem “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” won’t be heard on the baseball diamond this morning. It will instead be replaced with the operatic screams from youth at Boys’ and Girls’ Club.
Chautauqua Opera Company’s second invasion, “So You Think You’re Louder Than An Opera Singer?” will happen at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, July 5, at Sharpe Field.
In the competition, 36 kids from Club will head to the outfield while their peers watch them scream lines from the opening production of Don Giovanni. Two semifinalists from each age group will vie for a place in the finals, where nine competitors will be crowned winners.
John Chubb, assistant director of Club, said more than 400 children are enrolled at Club this week, so the stands will be full. Chubb is always looking for different programming to bring to the Club, and he said he was impressed with the Opera Invasion since the program began.
“I think the kids just had a lot of fun,” Chubb said.
Club kids had the chance to familiarize themselves with the phrases they need to shout with instruction from Steven Osgood, general and artistic director for Chautauqua Opera. Osgood taught the children warm-up exercises and how to breathe while singing Tuesday, July 3 to prepare for Thursday, July 5.
“(The Opera Invasions are) all designed so there is an element of fun for the audience and for the performers,” Osgood said. “This kind of kicks that to the ninth degree.”
Chautauqua Opera’s Young Artists act as coaches for the event and are there to show the children what it means to sing unamplified.
The primary goal of “So You Think You’re Louder Than An Opera Singer?” is to introduce the children to operatic techniques in a creative way, and Osgood has seen that first-hand.
One winner last year traveled back to Chautauqua to be on stage for the Opera Highlights concert and again, two weeks later, for their coach’s recital. It’s moments like those that make Osgood emotional.
“It means that they’re connecting with people,” Osgood said. “It’s not about the art form, it’s about we as people.”