chad m. weisman
At 4 p.m. today, Chautauqua Opera Company’s Studio Artists will present their annual culminating exercise, marking the solidification of a season of education, practice and performance — a presentation of a number of opera scenes. This year’s program will take place in Norton Hall.
The program has been organized largely by Chautauqua Opera’s scenes directors Alison Moritz and Octavio Cardenas, with help from Carol Rausch, chorus master and music administrator, and Jay Lesenger, artistic/general director. The event will conclude this season’s educational process for the Studio Artists, and it will also display the range of talents that the group has been able to cultivate throughout the course of the season.
“When Jay decides on the program for the summer, he picks great operas,” Moritz said. “He finds the best people for the part. [For the final program], we have the opposite approach. We go to the farmers market and figure out the best way to feature these unique ingredients, how to pair them together and how they relate to the central focus of the Young Artist program — of working hard and increasing their skill sets all summer.”
The singers will be given costumes, makeup and wigs, and will be performing above an orchestra pit. The set for Falstaff will serve as the backdrop for this series of scenes; at least one scene will depend on the balcony structure that ascends over the Falstaff set.
The scenes will be drawn from seven different operas and will feature work that spans the annals of musical history, from Mozart’s Don Giovanni to Silent Night by Kevin Puts, a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer who is just 31 years old.
The program will begin with a scene from Vanessa by American composer Samuel Barber. The scene will be directed by Octavio Cardenas and will feature Amber Garrett, Tatiana Ogan and Emily Spencer.
Following this dramatic opener is the garden scene from Act III of Charles Gonoud’s Faust, directed by Moritz. The scene marks a transitional moment in the loss of the title character’s soul as he requests a gift from Mephistopheles to bestow upon Marguerite, the object of his desire.
In the second half of the performance, the Act I Recitative from Donizetti’s La fille du regiment will be performed by Rachel Blaustein and Ethan DePuy. The Act II trio from Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia will then be performed by Adam Barta, Emily Spencer and Jesse Darden.
Georgianna Eberhard, Philip Plowman and Sydney Robinson will provide hair and makeup for the occasion, and Michael Baumgarten will be in charge of lighting. Jill Van Brussel, B.G. FitzGerald, Cristine Patrick, Alyssa Sheaffer and Jessica Van Kemper have taken on the task of costuming each character to perfection.
As always, the devoted staff of coaches — Keith Burton, Miriam Charney, Carol Rausch, Jamison Livsey, Dottie Randall, Rick Hoffenberg and Emily Jarrell Urbanek — has had a hand in rendering the creative gifts of the Young Artists.
The 2013 Chautauqua Opera Studio Artists are: Todd Barnhill II, Adam Barta, Rachel Blaustein, Clayton Brown, Cree Carrico, Jesse Darden, Ivan Conrad, Meaghan Deiter, Ethan DePuy, Kate Farrar, Amber Garrett, Michael Hewitt, Alison King, Tatiana Ogan, John Riesen, Emily Spencer, Brett Sprague and Brad Walker.