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Young Artists to present aptly themed ‘Opera After Dark’ to celebrate songs about nighttime

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Traditionally, Chautauqua Opera Company has held a Studio Artist Scenes program as a last recital for the Young Artists.

They’re taking a bit of a different approach this year as, in concordance with Week Six’s theme of “After Dark,” Chautauqua Opera presents “Opera After Dark” at 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 5 in Norton Hall.

“We made it a little more interactive with the studio artists,” said Carol Rausch,  music administrator and chorus master.

These interactions led to an abundance of music suggestions that Chautauqua Opera staff had to whittle down to the 19 songs on the program, Rausch said.

With a program that features Mozart, Montsalvatge, and more, what unites all the music is the theme of nighttime; the music ranges from a lullaby to a character singing about a date happening in the evening.

Tenor Eric Botto will perform “Tonight at Eight” from the musical She Loves Me. Georg Nowack, the character who sings the song, is preparing for a blind date at 8 p.m.

“I tend to sometimes have an active mind at night and so — when we started talking about the different tangents of what nighttime can be for people — when you listen to the text and the high energy and anxiety and excitement and terror that all is wrapped into being excited to go on this blind date, it very much resonates with someone that does have an active mind,” Botto said.

Bass-baritone Luke Harnish’s solo piece, Bolcom’s “Song of Black Max (as told by the de Kooning boys),” is much different in tone than Botto’s. It is an offshoot of the nighttime theme in that it plays on the prospect of mischief and evil that could occur at night.

“The text is really vivid in telling the story about this shady character who roamed the streets of Rotterdam,” Harnish said. “There’s a little twist at the end, and I think it’s a great way to really show off some acting in the context of ‘art song,’ but it will also really grip the audience’s interest with the imagery used.”

For baritone Bernardo Medeiros, the music he chose to share with the audience has sentimental value rather than scare factor. Jobim’s “Foi a Noite” is originally in Portuguese, and Medeiros, who is Brazilian-American, enjoys getting to sing in two languages in which he is fluent.

“It’s a bossa nova — one of the more recognized ones — and I’m doing a verse in English and Portuguese, so I don’t have to translate,” he said. “(I’m) just excited to share more music from home with people here.”

With a wide array of genres, mezzo-soprano Max Potter said there is something for everyone on the program. There are also a combination of ensemble pieces, too, which reflects the camaraderie of the 2022 Young Artists coming together to put on “Opera After Dark.”

“This will be the first thing that just the eight of us have collaborated on together,” Harnish said. “… Obviously, we got to collaborate a little bit during the recital, but getting to collaborate in duos, trios, and even bigger numbers throughout this program, I think it’s going to be really interesting for the audience.”

Harnish and Medeiros agreed that the genres covered in the program will be expansive.

“I think we’re just going to be bombarding their senses from all angles,” Harnish said.

While the concert will provide fresh and diverse music, Harnish had one piece of advice for the audience members.

“Have a cup of coffee at dinner, (because) it starts at 10 p.m.,” he said.

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The author Megan Brown

Megan Brown previously managed the business office of The Chautauquan Daily, but she returns as a reporter for the 2022 season. This fall she will graduate from Houghton College with degrees in writing and communication. Outside of class, she works as the co-editor-in-chief of her college’s newspaper The Houghton STAR and consults in the writing center. Megan loves any storytelling medium, traveling and learning new crochet patterns from YouTube.

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