The Pied Piper Effect happens when one person does something and more people follow, which is what Chautauqua Opera Company expects to happen with its final Opera Invasion of the 2018 season.
Chautauqua Opera Young Artists will start at different areas of the grounds for the Opera Invasion “Grand Finale” at 7:15 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 2, throughout Chautauqua, ending on Bestor Plaza around 7:30 p.m. As the performers walk from the corners of the grounds, they meet up with other Young Artists along the way. Solos become duets or trios, which then become a quartet or quintet.
The first time the company did this invasion, Steven Osgood, general and artistic director for Chautauqua Opera, did not expect the audience to follow the singers; he thought people would watch from their porches or gather in Bestor Plaza for the ending. When a group of about 75 people rounded the corner by Smith Memorial Library, Osgood was surprised.
“We have tried since then to embrace that,” Osgood said.
When all 16 performers convene on Bestor Plaza, they will conduct a sing-along with the audience. Some numbers used in this invasion last year included “Amazing Grace” and “Itsy Bitsy Spider.”
Osgood thinks there’s an opportunity for this invasion to grow past Chautauqua Opera. In the future, he hopes to include voice and orchestra students to cover every street in Chautauqua.
“There’s lots of potential in it, but right now the logistics of coordinating it for just the 16 Studio Artists is enough,” Osgood said.
Chautauqua Opera started its season with an invasion where the audience moved. “Ballads on Balconies” was the opposite of the original invasion idea where the singers move, so the upcoming invasion will act as a fitting way to end the season, Osgood said.
“I like the way the balconies became the opposite of this, so for us to bookend the season by the balconies being the first one and this being the last one, there’s some poetry in that,” Osgood said.