Opera, with an American flavor


Chautauqua Opera Young Artists and the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra collaborate in a previous season. Daily file photo.

Josh Cooper | Staff Writer


The works of John Adams, Leonard Bernstein, Jonathan Dove, Benjamin Britten and Lee Hoiby, among many others, will be featured in the Opera Highlights concert, held at 8:15 p.m. Saturday in the Amphitheater.

The performance will feature eight Apprentice Artists from the opera company’s Young Artists program and members of the CSO, under the baton of Steven Osgood.

The theme of the performance is opera of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Osgood is familiar with opera music of this stripe. He has conducted many modern works, like those of Hoiby, John Corigliano and Philip Glass with renowned companies like the New York City Opera, The Juilliard Opera and the Dutch Opera, to name but a few.

He said this program, while unmistakably modern, will be enjoyable to a wide audience.

“It is intensely theatrical, it is unabashedly lyrical and it’s a very accessible program for the listeners,” Osgood said.

Tenor Caleb Stokes, one of the artists to perform this evening, agreed.

“I think the music itself is beautiful and people will love it,” Stokes said. “It’s really exciting and really magical.”

Bass William Roberts, another performer, said the selections for the evening were made with this audience in mind.

“The music staff here chose music that is accessible to this audience,” Roberts said. “The whole point of this evening is to show how wonderful modern opera can be.”

The singers said they have appreciated working with Osgood.

“Steven (Osgood) is excellent,” Stokes said. “He really knows this repertoire inside and out, and he knows how to get the best out of us and make the important parts of the music very clear.”

Roberts said an aspect of Osgood’s direction he admires is the respect he has for the singers.

“When we collaborate with Steven, he treats you like a true professional and respects your individual musicianship,” Roberts said.

Osgood was in Chautauqua before. He conducted Tosca here in the 2009 Season. He said Chautauqua’s Young Artists program continues to impress him.

“There are some incredible young singers here,” Osgood said. “I’m really happy to work with them.”

This program features many works by American opera composers. Osgood said American opera has begun to gain the recognition it deserves.