Opera Guild presents awards to Young Artists




Leah Harrison | Staff Writer

In an event following the Chautauqua Opera Company’s pops concert on Aug. 4, the Chautauqua Opera Guild awarded 11 monetary prizes to members of the Young Artists Program.

Through several fundraisers held earlier this season, including the July 22 and Aug. 2 galas, the Opera Guild was able to disperse merit-based awards totaling $16,000.

As young professionals, recipients of the awards are often responsible for the price of lessons, coaching and any acting or movement classes they wish to take to further their craft. When musicians graduate from academic programs, the costs of keeping up their professional development can be overwhelming. The guild’s Young Artists Awards help with those expenses.

Tenor Ben Gulley and baritone Ricardo Rivera each received “The Chautauqua Opera Guild Apprentice Artists Award” with a prize of $3,000. As apprentice artists, Gulley and Rivera were both featured as soloists in the Opera Highlights Concert and the pops concert. Rivera sang the role of “The Office” and “The Sergeant-at-Arms” in Manon Lescaut, and he was a prominent member of the chorus in Lucia di Lammermoor. Rivera also covered the lead baritone roles in both operas this season. Gulley sang the meaty role of “Edmondo” in Manon Lescaut.

Mezzo-soprano Ellen PutneyMoore received “The Chautauqua Opera Guild Studio Artist Award,” including $2,500 and an invitation to return to Chautauqua Opera Company as an apprentice artist in 2013. In addition to singing the role of a young priest in Manon Lescaut, PutneyMoore was featured in the musical theater revue “A Sondheim Reunion” and sang an afternoon art song recital Aug. 2.

Tenor Adam Bonanni earned “The Chautauqua Opera Guild Studio Artist Award” with a $2,000 prize. Bonanni performed the role of “Arturo” in Lucia di Lammermoor, was a featured soloist in “A Sondheim Reunion,” and gave an art song recital July 19.

Sopranos Dee Donasco and Amber Garret, and mezzo-soprano Katherine McGookey were awarded “The Chautauqua Opera Guild Encouragement Awards” at $1,000 each. Donasco was a soloist in both symphony concerts; Garrett was featured in the musical theater revue “The Dreamland Radio Hour” and sang in the June 28 art song recital; and McGookey sang in both symphony concerts.

$750 each was awarded to tenors Christopher Hutchinson and Brad Raymond as “The Chautauqua Opera Guild Encouragement Awards.” Both singers performed in “The Dreamland Radio Hour”; Hutchinson sang the role of “The Lamplighter” in Manon Lescaut; Raymond performed as “The Dance Master” in Manon Lescaut.

Baritone Thomas Lehman received $500 as “The Lynn and Rich Moschel Young Artist Award” recipient. Lehman sang the role of “The Hairdresser’s Assistant” in Manon Lescaut; sang in “A Sondheim Reunion”; and performed in the July 19 art song recital.

Bass David Leigh also received $500 as “The Toni and Joe Goldfarb Young Artist Award” recipient. Leigh was featured in “The Dreamland Radio Hour” and performed an art song recital July 5.