About Jake

Jake SkipworthPast Chautauqua Opera Company Credits: Studio Artist 2016 – Chorus in La Traviata and The Mikado; covered Commissioner/Marquis in La Traviata and Pish-Tush in The Mikado.
Select credits: Rigoletto (Monterone, Rigoletto cover), Madama Butterfly (Yakuside, Sharpless cover), and The Merry Widow (Baron Zeta cover) with St. Petersburg Opera; La Traviata (Commissionario) with Sarasota Opera; La bohème (Schaunard) with Kent Philharmonic Orchestra; Carmen (Zuniga) with Heartland Opera Theatre; The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein (Baron Grog) with Wichita Grand Opera.
Awards: Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (Florida District, 2018; Georgia District, 2019)—District Winner, Orpheus Vocal Competition (2019)—Bizet Award Winner, National Association of Teachers of Singing Competition (Southeast Region, 2019)—First Place, Naftzger Young Artist Competition (2015)—Vocal Award winner.
Education: Wichita State University (2015), Oakland University (Bachelor of Music, 2012).

Visit Jake's Website

 

To Watch

Virtual Sing-In, Part 2

Opera Invasion 1: Ballads on Balconies, Tour D

Week Four Master Class

Opera Invasion 2: Opera Open Book

Opera Invasion 3: Miller Bell Tower Sing-a-long

Cocktails, Concerts & Conversations, Week 9

“Lily” (Chautauqua Opera Song Cycle)

Week Nine Master Class

Opera Invasion 4: Grand Finale - A Musical Tour of the Institution Grounds

Young Artist Interview

Jake SkipworthQ: What is your hometown?
A: Detroit, Michigan.

Q: What was the first opera you saw and how old were you?
A: The Magic Flute, Age 18.

Q: What was the first opera in which you performed?
A: Mozart’s Così fan tutte as Don Alfonso.

Q: Opera features some pretty iconic characters. Who is your favorite operatic character and why?
A: Scarpia: He is noble and regal, yet evil and conniving. I try to be a good a decent person, so in opera, I love studying and playing the bad guys! 

Q: Who are your opera singing idols?
A: Robert Merrill, Cornell MacNeil, Samuel Ramey.

Q: What do you love most about opera?
A: I love that, at any point within an opera, it features all of the art forms.

Q: Chautauquans love their ice-cream! What is your favorite flavor?
A: I am basic. My favorite is Chocolate Chip!

Photo caption: Jake Skipworth as Monterone in Rigoletto at St. Pete Opera. Photo Credit: Jim Swallow. 

Spotify Playlist

Each week, two of our Young Artists will draw inspiration from Chautauqua Institution’s weekly theme and weekly interfaith theme to curate Spotify playlists for your listening pleasure. We hope these playlists provide inspiration, joy, and a chance to engage with these themes in a different way.

For Week Nine, Jake drew inspiration from the theme The Future We Want, The World We Need: Collective Action for Tomorrow’s Challenges 

He says:

“For my playlist, I have assembled a list of songs that are uplifting and positive to me, as I think about what is to come in the future. The world we NEED includes an overwhelming amount of optimism, as we will have made it through these uncharted and dark times. When we emerge, we will be better, stronger, and it will be so good to see so many faces I have missed during these last months!” 

About John

John David Nevergall Select credits: Gianni Schicchi (Rinuccio) with Opera Columbus; Carmen (Don José) and La bohème (Rodolfo) with the Missouri Symphony; The Little Prince (Snake/Vain Man), Turandot (L’Imperatore Altoum, Calàf cover), and Faust (Faust cover) with Tulsa Opera; Emmeline (Matthew Gurney), Werther (Werther), Angels in America (Louis Ironson), and La Tragédie de Carmen (Don José) with Boston University Opera Institute.
Awards: Phyllis Curtin Award (Boston University Opera Institute, 2017), Dorsey Family Award (Central City Opera, 2016), John & Ginny Starkey Award (Central City Opera, 2014), Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (Boston District, 2016)—District Winner, Gerda Lissner Foundation Vocal Institute Grant (2015).
Education: Boston University Opera Institute (Performance Certificate, 2017), Ohio State University (Master of Music, 2011), Valparaiso University (Bachelor of Arts, 2008).

Visit John's Website

 

To Watch

Virtual Sing-In, Part 2

Opera Invasion 1: Ballads on Balconies, Tour A

Opera Invasion 2: Opera Open Book

Week Six Master Class

Opera Invasion 3: Miller Bell Tower Sing-a-long

Cocktails, Concerts & Conversations, Week 9

“Sheltering Our Dreams” (Chautauqua Opera Song Cycle)

Week Nine Master Class

Opera Invasion 4: Grand Finale - A Musical Tour of the Institution Grounds

Young Artist Interview

John NevergallQ: What is your hometown?
A: Elmore, Ohio.

Q: What was the first opera you saw and how old were you?
A: As an audience-member? I believe it was Rossini's La Cenerentola. I was 19 years old.

Q: What was the first opera in which you performed?
A: I was Amahl in Amahl and the Night Visitors when I was 11. 

Q: Opera features some pretty iconic characters. Who is your favorite operatic character and why?
A: Minnie from Puccini's La Fanciulla del West. She is kind and caring, yet tough as nails and fiercely loyal to those she loves.

Q: Who are your opera singing idols?
A: I greatly admire Jonathan Burton -- the artist and the person.

Q: What do you love most about opera?
A: Navigating the process of telling a story in collaboration with so many people. Some of my favorite days are rehearsal days, when things start to click and the production transforms from ink on a page to stories being told in real-time. 

Q: Chautauquans love their ice-cream! What is your favorite flavor?
A: Mint chocolate chip. No contest.

Photo caption: John David Nevergall as Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi at Opera Columbus. Photo credit: Randall L. Schieber.

Spotify Playlist

Each week, two of our Young Artists will draw inspiration from Chautauqua Institution’s weekly theme and weekly interfaith theme to curate Spotify playlists for your listening pleasure. We hope these playlists provide inspiration, joy, and a chance to engage with these themes in a different way.

For Week Nine, John drew inspiration from the interfaith theme The Future We Want, The World We Need  

He says: 

“Sir Edward Elgar dedicated his Variations on an Original Theme "to my friends pictured within." This playlist is an exploration, not only of Elgar's friends, but of all the people and relationships that we carry with us. The future we want and the world we need will always center on the people who inspire us to move forward, who encourage our progress, and who walk beside us throughout the journey. You will hear each movement of Sir Edward's Variations, accompanied by other expressions of our journey into the future and those who journey with us. I hope you enjoy it.” 

About Chasiti

Chasiti LashaySelect credits: Ariadne auf Naxos (Primadonna) and The Marriage of Figaro (Countess cover) with San Francisco Conservatory of Music; Suor Angelica (Suor Angelica) with Lamar University Opera Theater.
Awards: Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (2020)—National Finalist.
Education: San Francisco Conservatory of Music (Postgraduate Diploma, 2020; Master of Music, 2019), Tuskegee University (Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, 2014).

 

To Watch

Virtual Sing-In, Part 3

Week Two Master Class

Opera Invasion 1: Ballads on Balconies, Tour B

Opera Invasion 2: Opera Open Book

Week Six Master Class

Opera Invasion 3: Miller Bell Tower Sing-a-long

Cocktails, Concerts & Conversations, Week 8

"I'm Back Home in Houston Now" (Chautauqua Opera Song Cycle)

Week Eight Master Class

Opera Invasion 4: Grand Finale - A Musical Tour of the Institution Grounds

Young Artist Interview

chasiti lashayQ: What is your hometown?
A: I am proud to say that I was born and raised in Houston, TX

Q: What was the first opera you saw and how old were you?
A: The first opera I saw live was Don Pasquale and it was a collegiate production that I had the opportunity to see during TEXOMA NATS. I was 23 years old. The first PROFESSIONAL opera that I saw was Rusalka at Houston Grand Opera and I was 23.

Q: What was the first opera in which you performed?
A: The very first opera I ever performed in was Donizetti’s L'elisir d'amore where I was a chorus member who got to fawn over Belcore and Nemorino whilst fighting with the other chorus ladies of course.

Q: Opera features some pretty iconic characters. Who is your favorite operatic character and why?
A: Honestly, Liu in Turandot would have to be my favorite. She’s the most pure character! She remained faithful to Timur because he once smiled at her, WHAT!? She, a slave girl, stands up to Turandot and sacrifices herself, not only for the man she loves, but to prove her point and so that the princess can learn about the power of true love. Can one be anymore pure?

Q: Who are your opera singing idols?
A: Well, first off let me say that there is a joke between my friends and I; I call Leontyne Price my grandmother, and Pavarotti is my Godfather! Besides those two, I also adore Jessye Norman, Montserrat Caballe, Renata Scotto AND Renata Tebaldi and I will only listen to Kathleen Battle’s rendition of Una voce poco fa, no one else! Just kidding...maybe :) There’s so many more great singers that I love and I wish I could list them all!

Q: What do you love most about opera?
A: It's the most amazing thing that no matter what is going on outside the doors of the theater, one can enter a completely different reality once those doors close. The world around us disappears and we can enter a new world, if only for a few hours and a house full of people from many different backgrounds experience the music and story together. In opera we have the opportunity to go into the land of imagination and tell a story, just as when we were kids.

Q: Chautauquans love their ice-cream! What is your favorite flavor?
A: I can’t pick just one, so, my two favorite flavors are Cookies & Cream and Butter Pecan!

Photo caption: Chasiti Lashay as the Primadonna in the prologue of Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Opera Theater. Photo Credit: Matthew Washburn.

Spotify Playlist

Each week, two of our Young Artists will draw inspiration from Chautauqua Institution’s weekly theme and weekly interfaith theme to curate Spotify playlists for your listening pleasure. We hope these playlists provide inspiration, joy, and a chance to engage with these themes in a different way.

For Week Eight, Chasiti drew inspiration from the theme Reframing the Constitution 

She says:

“The theme reframing the constitution forces one to examine our history as a young country and whether that constitution still works for us as a more developed society and mixture of peoples. Many of these songs I grew up listening to with my parents or older family members, some I discovered on my own. They all present a message, many times they present questions. Regardless, it requires us to think outside of the realm in which we’ve been dwelling. You’ll also find some poetry and spoken word on this playlist because I love them both. I’d suggest listening to the playlist in order. “ 

About Daniela

Daniela MaguraSelect credits: La Traviata (Flora) with Northern Lights Music Festival; The Little Prince (The Fox) with Savannah Music Festival; Eugene Onegin (Olga), The Rake’s Progress (Ensemble), and Dido and Aeneas (The Sorceress) with Mannes Opera.
Education: Mannes School of Music at the New School (Master of Music, 2020; Bachelor of Music, 2018).

 

 

To Watch

Virtual Sing-In, Part 2

Week Two Master Class

Opera Invasion 1: Ballads on Balconies, Tour C

Opera Invasion 2: Opera Open Book

Opera Invasion 3: Miller Bell Tower Sing-a-long

Cocktails, Concerts & Conversation, Week 8

"Against the Tide" (Chautauqua Opera Song Cycle)

Week Eight Master Class

Opera Invasion 4: Grand Finale - A Musical Tour of the Institution Grounds  

Young Artist Interview

Daniela Magura 1Q: What is your hometown?
A: Born in Munich, Germany but raised mostly in Naples, Florida!

Q: What was the first opera you saw and how old were you?
A: I was 9 years old and I saw Mozart’s Don Giovanni in the Teatro Antico di Taormina. 

Q: What was the first opera in which you performed?
A:As a chorus member at twelve years old in Donizetti’s L'elisir d’amore. First role was Dorabella in Mozart’s Così fan tutte.

Q: Opera features some pretty iconic characters. Who is your favorite operatic character and why?
A: There are so many characters who I have felt a strong connection to, but the first one I deeply admired and always will is no other than the iconic Carmen. This character is so deeply centered in who she is; she plainly lives honestly. She is commanding, compelling, cold blooded at times and completely open hearted at others. She thinks for herself and does not apologize for it, and embraces her sexuality in an entirely fearless way. Her tragic story can be viewed in so many different ways, and sends a message about strong women in society; a message that is continuously discussed and is ever evolving, as is Carmen herself. 

Q: Who are your opera singing idols?
A:  Frederica von Stade, Janet Baker, Joyce Didonato, Elina Garanca, Mirella Freni, Isabel Leonard, Kiri te Kanawa! Too many to name!

Q: What do you love most about opera?
A: It encompasses every art form into one truly remarkable experience. I will never forget the first time I heard opera; it awoke something in my soul untouchable by anything else, and it has healed and shaped me in more ways than one throughout the years. I believe this to be one of its greatest effects. Its history is rich, and its power is everlasting. 

Q: Chautauquans love their ice-cream! What is your favorite flavor?
A: A creamy vanilla! Cookies and cream! Cookie dough! Yum to all!

Photo caption: Daniela Magura as Olga in Eugene Onegin with Mannes Opera.

About Wan

Wan Zhao FotorPast Chautauqua Opera Company Credits: Apprentice Artist 2019 – Soon Yi-Nam in ¡Figaro! (90210) and Gossip 3/Chorus in The Ghosts of Versailles.
Select credits: Eugene Onegin (Olga), Vanessa (Erika), Le nozze di Figaro (Marcellina), and The Rake’s Progress (Baba the Turk) with Mannes Opera; Suor Angelica (Infermiera) with the Martina Arroyo Foundation; Hansel and Gretel (Hansel) with New York Lyric Opera Theatre; The Ghosts of Versailles (Cherubino) with Miami Music Festival. 
Awards: Premiere Opera Foundation International Vocal Competition (2018)—Semi-Finalist;
Education: Mannes School of Music (Professional Studies Diploma, 2019; Master of Music, 2017), Shanghai Conservatory of Music (Bachelor of Music, 2015).

 

To Watch

Virtual Sing-In, Part 2

Opera Invasion 1: Ballads on Balconies, Tour D

Opera Invasion 3: Miller Bell Tower Sing-a-long

Cocktails, Concerts, and Conversations, Week 7

”Hometown” (Chautauqua Opera Song Cycle)

Week Seven Master Class

Week Eight Master Class

Opera Invasion 4: Grand Finale - A Musical Tour of the Institution Grounds

Young Artist Interview

Wan 2Q: What is your hometown?
A: I'm from Wuhan, China.

Q: What was the first opera you saw and how old were you?
A: The first opera I saw in life was La Bohème when I was 18 years old at the Shanghai Grand Theater when I was in Shanghai doing my undergrad.

Q: What was the first opera in which you performed?
A: I was singing Erika in Vanessa by Samuel Barber with Mannes Opera while I was doing my first-year Master's degree at Mannes School of Music in NYC. It was my first operatic role. It was very challenging for me at the time but I'm grateful that I had the chance to do it! The process taught me basically everything about being an opera singer. I still remember all the pressure and nervousness during rehearsals and the excitement and fulfillment of performance!

Q: Opera features some pretty iconic characters. Who is your favorite operatic character and why?
A: My favorite character is Carmen (also my dream role!). I like how independent, charming, and free she is, fighting for what she wants no matter what it takes. Also, it's a female operatic character that has a lot of modern meaning especially nowadays.

Q: Who are your opera singing idols?
A: Christa Ludwig, Régine Crespin, Elina Garanca, Kate Lindsey, Giulietta Simionato, Marilyn Horne, Teresa Berganza... Too many wonderful Mezzos out there!

Q: What do you love most about opera?
A: The combination of the range of sound and storytelling. The richness of the orchestral sound and voices. I think the most fascinating thing about opera is once you get the overwhelmed (in a good way) overall feeling of it, you'll never get tired of it!

Q: Chautauquans love their ice-cream! What is your favorite flavor?
A: Another question which I can go on and on about but classic Vanilla and chocolate would never go wrong!

Photo caption: Wan Zhao during Chautauqua Opera's 2019 Opera Pops Concert with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra. Photo Credit: Dave Munch.

Spotify Playlist

Each week, two of our Young Artists will draw inspiration from Chautauqua Institution’s weekly theme and weekly interfaith theme to curate Spotify playlists for your listening pleasure. We hope these playlists provide inspiration, joy, and a chance to engage with these themes in a different way.

For Week Seven, Wan drew inspiration from the interfaith theme The Spirituality of Us

She says:

“An opening of the heart is an essential aspect of true spirituality. I’m an opera singer, but I’m also a big fan of pop music from an early age. I’d like to take this chance creating a playlist to show off some of the pop songs and music which makes me have a sense of spirituality but is also open to interpretation. I think everybody has their own opinion about spirituality, so I’ll leave it to the listeners to have their own definition.”