Life is unpredictable, but that hasn’t stopped guest conductor James Meena from planning to die at the helm of the orchestra.
“All in the world’s mere folly; man is born to be jolly,” basso buffo Kevin Glavin said, reminding audiences of the lesson to be learned through uproarious laughter in tonight’s production of Falstaff, Giuseppe Verdi’s comedic masterpiece, by the Chautauqua Opera Company.
Falstaff, the final opera in Verdi’s long and distinguished career, will be performed at 7:30 p.m. in Norton Hall and again at 7:30 p.m. on Monday. Students of Chautauqua Opera’s Young Artist Program will provide the chorus for the show.
Chautauqua Opera Company, a cornerstone of the Institution for more than 80 years, opened another highly worthwhile production Friday under the direction of the company’s Artistic and General Director Jay Lesenger. Giacomo Puccini’s 1893 Manon Lescaut — his third completed opera — was the solid hit that allowed the composer the prestige and economic base to go on to compose four of the most popular operas in the repertory (La Bohème, Tosca, Madama Butterfly and Turandot). Full of great tunes and all kinds of musical devices Puccini drew upon again in those “greatest hits” works, Manon Lescaut offers a kind of youthful freshness and (eventually) unbridled passion that can inform and impress both Puccini’s committed fans and those who find him “too popular” in approach.