On Monday, June 17, Steve Osgood, general and artistic director of Chautauqua Opera Company, introduced 24 Young Artists to the Chautauqua community at the annual Young Artist Sing-in.
Each Young Artist sat in the front row eagerly awaiting their time on stage. From classic selections from The Barber of Seville to Gioachino Rossini’s La Cenerentola, each singer belted all types of notes in all types of languages.
The Sing-in gives Chautauquans a preview of the voices they will hear in this summer’s mainstage productions of ¡Figaro! (90210), Il Barbiere di Siviglia and The Ghosts of Versailles.
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The Young Artists chose the song that showcased both their voices and acting abilities as each singer added a splash of theatrics into the performance.
Soprano Laura León, who will play Susanna in ¡Figaro! (90210), and who will sing in the chorus of The Ghosts of Versailles, belted out a number from The Barber of Seville in Spanish.
Tenor Patrick Dean Shelton gave a powerful performance from the German opera Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail, or The Abduction from the Seraglio. Shelton is set to portray a character in each of the mainstage operas this season.
Baritone Scott Purcell showed his deep voice as he belted a number from Roscoe: An American Grand Opera. He will be part of the chorus and portray Ambrogio in Il Barbiere di Siviglia while also starring as Figaro in The Ghosts of Versailles.
Soprano Lauren Yokabaskas, who will play Roxanne Conti in ¡Figaro! (90210) and Rosina in The Ghosts of Versailles, sang a beautiful piece from the German opera Die tote Stadt.
Baritone Yazid Gray also performed a selection from the German opera Die tote Stadt. Gray will be in Il Barbiere di Siviglia as Fiorello and in the chorus, and he will be in the chorus in The Ghosts of Versailles.
Soprano Cristina María Castro showcased her strong voice as she sang a number from the German opera Die Fledermaus. Castro will portray Gossip One in The Ghosts of Versailles.
The opera singers in the Young Artists Program at Chautauqua are young professionals, some of them still in graduate programs, though, Osgood said, “it’s important all the time to recognize the fact that Young Artists or guest artists — this is a fully professional company. We have no ‘students’. For the most part they are out of school and they are fully working professionals.”