Summer heat: Apprentice Artists prepare ‘crowd-pleaser’ of an evening

Roxana Pop | Staff PhotographerChautauqua Opera Apprentice Artists join the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra for an evening celebrating the 200th birthdays of Wagner and Verdi July 13 in the Amphitheater. The Young Artists perform for the final time at 8:15 p.m. Saturday night, also in the Amp.

Roxana Pop | Staff Photographer

Chautauqua Opera Apprentice Artists join the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra for an evening celebrating the 200th birthdays of Wagner and Verdi July 13 in the Amphitheater. The Young Artists perform for the final time at 8:15 p.m. Saturday night, also in the Amp.

As if Chautauqua Opera Company wasn’t already on fire, the highly anticipated Pops Concert will feature an explosive theme — “Steam Heat: Cool Songs for Hot Nights!”

At 8:15 p.m. Saturday night in the Amphitheater, Chautauqua Opera’s eight Apprentice Artists will join the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra to present the highly anticipated Pops Concert.

Chautauqua Opera’s 18 Studio Artists will provide chorus for the event.

Carol Rausch, Chautauqua Opera’s chorus master and musical administrator, put together the problem with the help of Jay Lesenger, Chautauqua Opera’s general/artistic director. Keith Burton, musical director of the Chautauqua Opera Musical Theater Revues, will accompany the CSO on piano.

“This is going to be a total crowd-pleaser,” Rausch said.

The CSO will set the tone for the performance with “Waltz from Carousel,” the prelude to the 1945 musical written early in the career of the renowned compositional pairing of Rodgers and Hammerstein.

As the final moments of “Waltz” dissipate into the atmosphere, Kristin Schwecke will take the stage to sing the beloved standard “Summertime,” from the American musical Porgy and Bess.

The remainder of the evening will include selections ranging from long-standing classics, such as 1995’s Damn Yankees, to more contemporary works, such as The Light in the Piazza, the 2005 musical by Craig Lucas and Adam Guettel.

Jon Jurgens will sing “Lonely House,” a solo number from Street Scene, with music by Kurt Weill and lyrics by Langston Hughes. This will be followed by a rendition of “Ice Cream Sextet,” from the same show, performed by Aaron Short, Mandy Brown, Ivan Conrad, Jonathan Harris, Ellen PutneyMoore and Ted Federle.

“The Ice Cream Sextet” will melt away as Rachelle Pike sings “Steam Heat” — the infamously seductive number from The Pajama Game — before a chorus of male Studio Artists.

The concert will also feature tunes such as “Heat Wave,” from Irving Berlin’s As Thousands Cheer, “Too Darn Hot,” from Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate and “Stranger in Paradise,” from Kismet.

“Fiesta Criolla” from Symphony No. 1: “La nuit des tropiques,” by Louis Moreau Gottschalk, will ring in the second half of the program.

The Pops genre is, by nature, a melting pot, making this concert the perfect setting for the variety of genres that comprise the American songbook.

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