The Chautauqua Opera Company is going out with a bang … literally.
For the Opera Invasion Grand Finale, Chautauqua Opera — along with a number of Opera Conservatory students — will mimic an explosion as they start the Invasion at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 4 in Bestor Plaza before “exploding” throughout the grounds, ultimately returning to Bestor Plaza.
Chautauqua Opera General and Artistic Director Steven Osgood, said the Young Artists will be singing “Whatever they want. It’s chaos. Musical chaos.”
Chautauqua Opera conducted a similar Invasion in 2018, but they did it Pied-Piper style, with Young Artists starting at the edges of the grounds, followed by Chautauquans, slowly working inward to Bestor Plaza. Ultimately, Osgood decided to shift the design of the Invasion.
“Once or twice, somebody would get lost,” Osgood said, referring to 2018. “Or somebody was supposed to wait there for their partner to arrive and they didn’t. And then their partner arrived and thought, ‘OK, I should wait here until my partner arrives,’ but their partner had already left.”
Since the 2022 Invasion has the same starting and ending point, Osgood hopes it will eliminate confusion or the prospect of losing any of the Young Artists or Chautauquans on the grounds.
“There’ll be a relatively even distribution of people as they explode away from the big bang,” Osgood said. “They will all start singing — whatever they want — and walk, for 15 minutes away from the plaza. And then, after 15 minutes, they’ll turn around, and they’ll come back to the plaza.”
Chautauquans can choose to follow a specific Young Artist to hear all of their music, or can switch at any point to following and listening to a different singer.
Osgood feels this Invasion will be bittersweet, because it is the last one of the season. But for him, opera events are always fun.
“They’re not really emotional events because mostly I center myself in them, in some way, of creating and/or maintaining the manic energy of them,” he said.
Whether it has been taking song requests from Chautauquans for the Young Artists to belt out, or rounding up opera singers on golf carts, Osgood knows it is all toward the goal of getting people excited about opera.
“That’s just plain old fun. And the fact that I also get to call it my job for that day? I’ll take it,” he said.