‘Opera On The Spot’ to Feature Work From Resident Composer Gilda Lyons

General and Artistic director Steven Osgood uses a megaphone to greet Chautauquans in Odland Plaza during Chautauqua Opera Company’s first Opera Invasion of the 2019 season Sunday, June 23, 2019. DAVE MUNCH/PHOTO EDITOR

Mystery surrounds composers and their music writing process. At least that’s what Gilda Lyons, Chautauqua Opera Company’s composer-in-residence, thinks.

For her, she’s used to others not understanding what her profession entails.

“For me, this is simply what I do,” Lyons said. “And for the rest of the world, it’s a little bit like, ‘oh, you’re still alive’ — that’s just the nature of my life.”

In the second Opera Invasion of the season, Chautauquans pick out the words, Lyons will write the music and select Young Artists will perform them at 1 p.m. today on Bestor Plaza. Steven Osgood, the general and artistic director of Chautauqua Opera, will accompany them on the piano. Lyons said she will demonstrate how to create sound and space for the words in a song.   

I will be opening a window into the process of how a composer, or how this composer, writes music for voice, and how I approach text,” Lyons said.

Once a week for the first six weeks of the season, Chautauqua Opera’s Young Artists pull Chautauquans into the art form through Opera Invasions, bringing music out of Norton Hall and into the grounds of the Institution.

The events aim to introduce audiences to opera without overwhelming them with traditional repertoire. The Opera Invasions simply allow Chautauquans to bump into opera anywhere on the grounds.

Osgood will play the piano while the event’s Young Artists, Jordan Loyd and Natalie Trumm, will sing.

In this Opera Invasion, the music will appear before the audience’s eyes. Lyons said this event is about the process and passion for music ­— not about the finished product.

It’s about the process, and it’s about play,” Lyons said. “It’s very easy as musicians to take our work seriously — we should and we do, and that’s our honor; to get it right.

Lyons said as musicians, they must constantly remind themselves that music is beautiful in many different ways and to not break under pressure, no matter where they perform.

“We have to remind ourselves that there are many ways to be right (about music),” Lyons said. “It’s called ‘playing’ music for a reason.”

This Opera Invasion allows the Young Artists, Lyons and audiences to discover new things about opera and fall in love with the art without pressure.

“(Playfulness is) not the only reason we started being musicians, but it’s part of it,” Lyons said. “Music gets to be fun, and that’s what this is going to be.”
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The author Tina Giuliano

Tina Giuliano is a rising junior at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in Phoenix, where she studies broadcast journalism and Spanish. She serves as the multimedia managing editor at her school’s paper, The State Press. She is excited to begin covering opera for the Daily. When she’s not diving into her journalism career, she’s probably rewatching “The Office,” at a soccer game or figuring out which flavor of ice cream to eat.