General and Artistic Director’s Agreement Comes as Company Plans 90th Anniversary Celebration
Chautauqua Institution today announced a two-year contract extension for Steven R. Osgood, general and artistic director of the Chautauqua Opera Company. The extension follows Osgood’s standout first three seasons with the company, and ensures that he will remain at its helm through the 2020 season. The announcement comes as Osgood prepares to conduct three performances of The Turn of the Screw with the Juilliard Opera in the coming days, and as the Chautauqua Opera Company prepares to celebrate its 90th anniversary in 2019, featuring the Beaumarchais Trilogy Weekend.
“We are so pleased with the evolution and continued vibrancy of the Chautauqua Opera Company under Steven Osgood’s leadership,” said Deborah Sunya Moore, vice president of performing and visual arts. “Steve’s infectious passion for opera is evident in all that he does, and he has quickly endeared himself to fans of both classical and contemporary opera in our community. At the same time, he has re-energized opera as an art form at Chautauqua, making it accessible to entirely new communities and generations of arts lovers.”
Osgood was appointed general and artistic director of the Chautauqua Opera Company prior to the 2016 summer season, and immediately set about creating initiatives to make opera more accessible.His “Opera Invasion” series has significantly increased the profile and presence of the company — and particularly the singers in its renowned Young Artist Program — within the Chautauqua community, with performances in public spaces and engagement with Chautauqua’s youth population. In 2018, Chautauqua Opera furthered these efforts, “invading” Chautauqua County schools to engage with several thousand local elementary school students as part of Chautauqua Institution’s broader arts-education engagement efforts. Osgood also launched, in conjunction with American Opera Projects, the Composer-In-Residence initiative, which each season brings a rising talent to Chautauqua to work directly with the company and Young Artists in creating original works and world-premiere performances. George Lam (2018), Gity Razaz (2017) and Jeremy Gill (2016) were the first three distinguished composers-in-residence.
The Chautauqua Opera Company’s repertoire in three seasons under Osgood’s leadership has included well-received productions of Don Giovanni and Candide (2018); the U.S. stage premiere of Ottorino Respighi's re-orchestration of Monteverdi's seminal opera L’Orfeo, and Don Pasquale (2017); and La Traviata and The Mikado (2016). Osgood has also introduced an additional mainstage chamber opera production each season, challenging Chautauqua’s traditional operagoers and inviting new audiences to experience important contemporary operas, including As One (2018), Hydrogen Jukebox (2017) and Song From the Uproar (2016).
In other Chautauqua Opera Company news, Sara Noble, former company and media manager, has been named director of marketing and engagement. In this new role, Noble manages all marketing, media, communications, press, and advertising for the company, promoting and advocating for the company’s visibility and image.
“The past three years leading Chautauqua Opera have been incredibly rewarding and I am thrilled to now be planning through the 2020 season. The leadership at the Chautauqua Institution is focused on how best to serve our audience in the 21st century, and the structure of Chautauqua Opera's 2019 season is a radical step towards these goals. I look forward to continuing to engage with lifelong Chautauquans in the coming seasons, and to bringing new opera lovers into the vibrant Chautauqua community,” Osgood said. “The support from the loyal staff of the opera company and the leadership of the Chautauqua Institution has been critical to the changes we have made on every level since 2016. Sara Noble has been central in the crafting of our company's profile, and her promotion promises new and continued innovations.”
Osgood was named the eighth general and artistic director of the Chautauqua Opera Company in August 2015; he had previously appeared at Chautauqua regularly as a guest conductor since the 2009 season. An experienced conductor both in theater and opera from the baroque to the contemporary, he has conducted for many prominent companies in North America. Osgood has served on the music staff of the Metropolitan Opera since 2006, and from 2001 to 2008, he served as artistic director of American Opera Projects, a company dedicated to collaborating with emerging artists in the fields of opera and music theater. His work with young artists has included numerous productions with The Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music. See his full bio at srosgood.com.
Earlier this fall Chautauqua Opera Company announced its 2019 mainstage season, which will include Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, directed by Kathleen Smith-Belcher; Vid Guerrerio's ¡Figaro! (90210) — a contemporary adaptation of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro — directed by Eric Einhorn; and John Corigliano and William Hoffman’s The Ghosts of Versailles, directed by Peter Kazaras. Founded in 1929, Chautauqua Opera’s 2019 season celebrates the company’s 90th anniversary.
For the first time, audiences will be able to experience these three operas on consecutive nights during the company’s “Trilogy Weekend,” July 25–27, 2019. Based on the three Figaro plays by 18th-century French playwright Pierre Beaumarchais, the three operas trace the adventures and mishaps of a cast of characters including Figaro, Count Almaviva, Rosina, and their friends and foes through many years together.
A limited number of all-inclusive packages for the Trilogy Weekend are now available for purchase at chq.org/trilogyweekend. Single-ticket sales for all three mainstage operas begin in early2019.