Osgood to lead CSO, Opera balancing act

Demetrius Freeman | Daily file photo
Guest conductor Steven Osgood leads the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra during a previous season’s Opera Highlights performance.

For Saturday’s guest conductor Steven Osgood, the devil’s in the details.

So are dynamic sounds.

Osgood, the former artistic director of American Opera Projects, has been involved with Chautauqua productions before — the most recent being July of last season. Saturday, he’ll conduct the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra as it accompanies the Chautauqua Opera Company in the annual Opera Highlights concert.

In his review for the Daily, John Chacona wrote of Osgood’s 2013 concert that, “at the end, it’s hard not to come to your feet.” Osgood sees his upcoming role as embodying a different set of limbs, though.

“It’s a juggling act back and forth between making sure we stay true to the theme of the show and the Chautauqua theme it connects to, and the repertoire of the singers,” he said. “I try to be as meticulous as possible with everybody focused on their own details as well as the good of the entire show.”

Osgood acknowledges that the tight rehearsal window — the sole run-through with all of the performers in the Amphitheater begins at 2 p.m. Saturday and cannot run past 4:25 p.m. due to budgetary reasons — makes things more stressful than they might otherwise be.

To Osgood, his job is to ignore the ticking clock and make the process feel as streamlined as possible throughout the frantic preparations.

“If anyone feels nervous, my task is to be the antidote for them,” Osgood said. “The responsibility to get through everything in the allotted time falls on me. If I get behind, I’m cutting into other pieces that need to be addressed.”

While he feels both excited and stressed about tonight’s proceedings, Osgood trusts that, in the end, the CSO and the Institution’s opera students will be putting on a show worthy of all their efforts.

“Each piece is exciting in its own way,” he said. “Nowhere else will you see the combinations and order of scores quite like ours.”