Virtual Young Artist Program and nine weeks of digital operatic content to be released on Chautauqua Institution’s new online platform

The Chautauqua Opera Company, following the suspension of all face-to-face programming at Chautauqua Institution in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, has been working diligently to rebuild a socially distanced 2020 company this summer. Honoring the company’s commitment to support the artists and artisans who were to make up the physical 2020 company, Chautauqua Opera has engaged more than 40 company members who will come together virtually to create nine weeks of digital operatic content. In addition to creating digital content, Chautauqua Opera will support and foster the growth of the 20 Young Artists who were engaged for the 2020 season by creating a virtual Young Artist Program, which will provide these artists with opportunities for connection, coaching, and mentorship with professionals in the field and Chautauqua Opera staff.

“Producing first-rate opera will always be our priority at the Chautauqua Opera Company, but fostering the careers of America’s most promising young opera singers is one of our strongest roles and responsibilities to the field,” said General and Artistic Director Steven Osgood. “While it was clear that our planned mainstage productions needed to be canceled this summer, all of us at the company were determined to find ways to continue the training, education and mentorship which are the pillars of our Young Artist Program. The outpouring of support from our alumni and guests, along with longtime members of our Music and Production staffs, has been critical in our ability to build what will be a robust, innovative and richly rewarding season for our 2020 Young Artists and the Chautauqua community.”

The Chautauqua Opera Company’s 2020 season will commence with three Virtual Sing-In events on June 24, 25 and 26, which will introduce the community to the 2020 Young Artists. More than 30 public events, live and pre-recorded, will fill the nine weeks of the season, culminating on Wednesday, August 26. Details are included below.

All digital content this summer will live on CHQ Assembly, the new online expression of Chautauqua Institution’s mission. Opera content will be accessible at no cost through CHQ Assembly’s Virtual Porch. Opera events will have live release dates and will be archived and accessible to view on demand throughout the season following the release. To learn more about CHQ Assembly, please see Chautauqua Institution’s June 9 announcement.

“Although we cannot gather together physically this summer, we are thrilled that there will still be plenty of chances for the community to engage with opera online this summer,” Osgood said.

A full schedule of opera events and more information about Chautauqua Opera’s 2020 season will be available at opera.chq.org beginning on June 22.


Featured Artists

Opportunities to get to know the artists and artisans of the Chautauqua Opera Company will be more abundant than ever in 2020:

Featured Young Artists of the Week

Each week of the nine-week season, the company will shine the spotlight on two or three Young Artists. In addition to being featured in the company’s digital content that week, each Young Artist will have a dedicated page on opera.chq.org where the community will be able to get to know them more deeply.

Guest Artists

Chautauqua Opera has engaged nine Guest Artists to join the company over the course of the season: Caitlin Lynch, Raehann Bryce-Davis, Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek, Alan Held, Wendy Bryn Harmer, Chauncey Packer, Daniel Belcher, Elaine Alvarez, and Todd Thomas. Each Guest Artist will be in virtual residence with the company for one week of the season, and will engage with the Young Artists in conversation, a master class, and mentoring sessions.

Backstage Artists and Artisans

It truly takes a village to put on an opera, and there are many members of any opera team whose work happens out of the audience’s sight. This summer, the company will introduce these artists and share some of the magic that goes into making live performance happen.


Featured Digital Events

Cocktails, Concerts & Conversations Series

At 5 p.m. on Mondays, Chautauqua Opera will broadcast a 60-minute feature presentation. Each week, one Guest Artist and several Featured Young Artists of the Week will join Steven Osgood in conversation. The hour will also include video highlights from the company’s weekly master class, Opera Invasion events, and behind-the-scenes conversations. The program will conclude each week with the world premieres of new compositions by Composer-in-Residence Frances Pollock, setting texts by playwright and librettist Jerre Dye.

Master Classes

At 10 a.m. Wednesdays, join Steven Osgood and other hosts for a Master Class Watch Party. Each master class will feature the Guest Artist of the Week coaching four or five Young Artists, working on a wide variety of repertoire. During the events, hosts will offer commentary and answer questions submitted by attendees.

Opera Invasion Series

Chautauqua Opera’s fifth season of Opera Invasions will go virtual at 10 a.m. on Fridays in Weeks Two, Four, Six and Eight. With Young Artists spread across the country this summer, the company will put a new socially distanced twist on some of their most popular Opera Invasions, bringing audiences a look at the lives and locations of the 2020 Young Artists as they (safely) invade their hometowns.

World Premiere A Cappella Song Cycle

Over four days in early June, Composer-in-Residence Frances Pollock and librettist Jerre Dye interviewed each of this season’s 20 Young Artists. Together they investigated the emotional and professional impact of the COVID-19 crisis and the isolation it has created for so many people around the world. These interviews coincided with the first protests in response to the killing of George Floyd. Dye has woven together short texts inspired by each of these interviews into poetry, which will be set by Pollock. Each micro-piece (45 seconds to 2 minutes long) will be for a cappella solo voice. The resulting song cycle will be a work which responds immediately to this unique moment in the world, and embraces the isolation virtually all singers in the opera field are experiencing today.

Behind-the-Scenes Conversations

Each week of the 2020 season, Chautauqua Opera will host a live conversation with a different production department. These conversations will give audiences a unique backstage look at the many artisans that make an opera company tick, and will include opportunities for attendees to ask questions.

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