Artwork by Alexander Charner
Chautauqua Opera Announces 2019 Season, Celebrating the Company’s 90th Anniversary
Season to feature a ‘Beaumarchais Trilogy’, presented on three consecutive nights July 25-27, 2019
Chautauqua Opera Company has announced their 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’ happening 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 tickets for all three mainstage operas will go on sale during spring of 2019.
IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA
Music by Gioachino Rossini; Libretto by Cesare Sterbini
Performance Dates: July 5, 8 & 25 in Norton Hall
In Rossini’s lively comic opera, a young Count Almaviva (in disguise) is wooing the spirited and savvy Rosina, Dr. Bartolo’s young ward. Dr. Bartolo plans to marry Rosina himself, but Seville’s favorite trickster, Figaro, is on the scene to foil his schemes and help the young lovers unite, with hilarity and hijinks aplenty.
Chautauqua Opera’s new production in Norton Hall will feature Grammy Award-winning baritone Daniel Belcher as everyone’s favorite fix-it-man, Figaro, rising star mezzo-soprano Aleks Romano as the vivacious Rosina, and “stellar” baritone Marco Nisticò in one of his signature roles as the scheming Doctor Bartolo. Metropolitan Opera’s Kathleen Smith-Belcher, who makes her La Scala debut this season, will direct the production. Chautauqua Opera’s General and Artistic Director, Steven Osgood, conducts the performances.
Music by W. A. Mozart; Libretto by Vid Guerrerio, based on The Marriage of Figaro by Lorenzo da Ponte
Performance dates: June 28 & 30, July 7, 14 & 26 in Norton Hall
Vid Guerrerio’s multicultural adaptation of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro sets the action in modern-day Beverly Hills. Hollywood elite Paul and Roxanne Conti (Count Almaviva and Rosina) are now married with a daughter, and Figaro and his soon-to-be-bride Susana are undocumented workers on their estate. Hailed by Opera News as “dynamic, thought-provoking, respectful, and, yes, hilarious,” Guerrerio’s English and Spanish libretto infuses Mozart’s masterpiece with humor, heart, and present-day discussions of race, class, and American identity.
Eric Einhorn will direct; Jorge Parodi will serve as music director and conductor. The opera will be performed once during each of Weeks 1-5 of Chautauqua Institution’s 2019 season and will feature a cast of Chautauqua Opera Young Artists.
THE GHOSTS OF VERSAILLES
Music by John Corigliano; Libretto by William Hoffman
Performance date: July 27 in Chautauqua’s Amphitheater
Marie Antoinette and her court are bored of the afterlife, and bitter about their deaths. The love-struck ghost of Beaumarchais believes he can change the queen’s untimely fate by using the power of art. He brings his beloved Figaro and company back to life in a new opera, but when Figaro refuses to stick to the script, Beaumarchais must enter his own story. Alternately hilarious and heart breaking, this grand opera buffa is one of America’s operatic masterpieces.
This new production will close Chautauqua Opera’s mainstage season with one performance in Chautauqua’s Amphitheater. It will be directed by Peter Kazaras and conducted by Steven Osgood. The “luminous” soprano Caitlin Lynch stars as Marie Antoinette, courted by her favorite playwright, Beaumarchais, sung by baritone Daniel Belcher. Baritone Marco Nisticò sings the roles ofher disinterested husband, Louis XVI, and Suleyman Pasha, and Mezzo-soprano Aleks Romano performs the role of the Turkish singer, Samira. The large cast of characters is rounded out by the 24 Chautauqua Opera Young Artists, and, in a new collaboration, four singers from the Chautauqua School of Music’s Voice Department will join the company for this production.
July 25-27, 2019
For the first time, audiences will be able to experience this unique ‘trilogy’ of operas on consecutive nights over a three day period on July 25-27, 2019. Based on the three ‘Figaro Plays’ by 18th century French playwright Pierre Beaumarchais, the three operas trace the lives of characters including Figaro, Count Almaviva, Rosina, and their friends and foes through many years of adventures and mishaps together.
“While each of these three operas stands on its own,” says Steven Osgood, “the resonances between them will be sharply felt by our guests during the ‘Trilogy Weekend’. Our Thursday audience will meet Rossini’s Figaro, sung by Daniel Belcher, and then on Saturday hear Belcher as Beaumarchais close The Ghosts of Versailles saying “Goodbye Figaro… You were my favorite child.” The gradual deconstruction of the operas beginning with a traditional Barbiere di Siviglia, through a modernized but faithful ¡Figaro! (90210) will resolve beautifully into the modernist treatment of Beaumarchais’ story The Guilty Mother, embedded in The Ghosts of Versailles.”
A limited number of all-inclusive packages for the ‘Trilogy Weekend’ are now available for purchase at chq.org/trilogyweekend. Three-day and Week-long packages are available, including lodging at the Athenaeum Hotel, premium seating to the three ‘Beaumarchais Trilogy’ performances, Chautauqua gate passes, parking and meals at the Heirloom Restaurant.
In addition to experiencing the ‘Beaumarchais Trilogy,’ visitors to Chautauqua will have access to the entire breadth of Chautauqua Institution’s programming. The gate pass serves as a passport to the Chautauqua Experience, giving visitors access to most events on the grounds, including all lectures, religious services, Amphitheater entertainment and performances by the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra.
General and Artistic Director Steven Osgood says “The Chautauqua calendar is always a gigantic puzzle, and our 2019 plans are hugely disruptive—in a wonderful way. For the first time in decades we are engaging Guest Artists to spend the entire season at Chautauqua. Our collaboration with the Chautauqua Symphony is taking new forms, and we will include several singers from Chautauqua’s School of Music Voice Program in The Ghosts of Versailles. Whether or not this is the new model for Chautauqua Opera will become clear down the road. But it is what makes this Beaumarchais ‘Trilogy Weekend’ so exciting.”
From the time of its founding in 1929 to 2009, Chautauqua Opera’s target audience was the thousands of people who attend the Chautauqua Institution every summer. With between 4 and 6 mainstage productions presented in sequence, there was little attempt made to draw opera enthusiasts from outside the immediate orbit of Chautauqua. The economic downturn in 2008 and the resultant budget cuts brought the company’s season down to two mainstage productions in 2010.
Since Osgood’s appointment in 2015, there has been a redirection of the company’s goals with the addition of contemporary chamber operas (Song From the Uproar -2016; Hydrogen Jukebox -2017; As One -2018) to bring the mainstage season back up to three productions. In 2017, the company experimented with running Don Pasquale and Hydrogen Jukebox in rep, which allowed a Chautauqua visitor to see two very different productions on consecutive nights.
“Two consecutive productions is good but three is exponentially better,” continues Osgood, “especially when the three operas are so tightly related. This is how we will really move the needle and define Chautauqua Opera as a significant destination for summer opera travelers.
Learn more about our 2019 Guest Artists and Directors at chq.org/opera-about/guestartists
Learn more about the ‘Trilogy Weekend’ Packages at chq.org/trilogyweekend