Chautauqua Institution’s Chautauqua Opera Company, Voice Program to Unite in 2022
CHAUTAUQUA, N.Y. — Chautauqua Institution today announced the unification of its resident Chautauqua Opera Company, led by General and Artistic Director Steven Osgood, and Voice Program, led by Chair Marlena Malas. The newly combined program, under the auspices of Chautauqua Performing and Visual Arts, will be known as the Chautauqua Opera Company and Conservatory as the Institution moves into the 2022 season. The opera company’s existing Young Artist Program and the Voice Program, which serve young artists of different levels of training, will maintain their current leadership, faculty and staff, and their distinct and highly regarded training models.
“This move codifies a cross-pollination that had been occurring naturally for many years, by colleagues who saw opportunities to enhance the development of Chautauqua’s young singers,” said Deborah Sunya Moore, vice president of performing and visual arts, and interim senior vice president and chief program officer. “By formally combining the two departments, we further unify our leadership and our teams, and align resources and efforts to establish a renewed and significant presence of voice at Chautauqua. We seek to retain the high quality and specific foci of both programs while making it easier for our patrons to access schedules and programs for ‘all things that sing’ — be they performances or pedagogy.”
Under the new structure, Osgood and Malas share leadership: Osgood continues to lead the opera company and Malas’ role with the newly renamed conservatory is elevated from chair to director. Osgood, the general and artistic director of the Chautauqua Opera since 2015, is a renowned conductor who has appeared with Opera Philadelphia, New York City Opera and the Lincoln Center Festival, along with the conservatories at The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music and Rice University. Malas, chair of the Voice Program since 1980, is one of the world’s most celebrated voice instructors, and currently teaches on the faculties of Juilliard, the Curtis Institute of Music and the Manhattan School of Music.
“It is a distinct honor to partner with someone of Marlena Malas’ esteem in designing an enhanced presence for voice at Chautauqua,” Osgood said. “Our visions for our respective programs are already well aligned, and we’re confident that as we move to this new structure in 2022 our combined program will be stronger, more sustainable and competitive within our industry. Our music staffs, faculty and production teams will foster singers from around the country and world through every stage of their education and careers.”
“Having served at Chautauqua for 40 years, I remain committed to fostering young singers at Chautauqua with my remarkable team,” Malas said. “Steven Osgood and I have been in conversation with Institution leadership in anticipation of this announcement, and I hope that it shines an even brighter spotlight on the extraordinary talent of our students and staff. Richard Perlman, director of the Eastman Opera Theatre, used to say that Chautauqua was a goldmine of young singers and it is my dream to have this continue well into the future.”
Aligned with Chautauqua Institution’s approach to a 2021 Summer Assembly under expected health and safety regulations, both vocal programs will present programs in the new and temporary Performance Pavilion on Pratt Avenue, with the goal of returning to full capacity in 2022 as the Chautauqua Opera Company and Conservatory. Patrons and supporters should experience similar 2022 production activity as in past seasons, but also clarity on the purpose and distinctions of the Young Artist and Conservatory programs with. greater coordination and sharing of venues and resources. The combined programs will continue to build on past efforts in Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) work, an imperative set forth by the 2019–28 Chautauqua Institution strategic plan, 150 Forward.
“I’m proud of our artistic leadership for their holistic thinking in program development and for arriving at a solution that showcases our outstanding vocal programs while shaping a path for shared sustainability. This unification has an additional benefit of ‘demystifying’ Chautauqua for our patrons, especially those who’ve just discovered us,” said Michael E. Hill, president of Chautauqua Institution. “We believe Chautauqua continues to provide a model to organizations around the country for how to navigate a difficult environment for the arts in a way that actually enhances quality and the patron experience.”
ABOUT CHAUTAUQUA OPERA COMPANY AND CHAUTAUQUA VOICE PROGRAM
Founded in 1929, Chautauqua Opera Company is North America’s oldest continuously operating summer opera company and fourth oldest opera company after the Metropolitan Opera, Cincinnati Opera and San Francisco Opera. The Chautauqua Opera Company offers more than 30 operatic events each season, including three mainstage productions in Chautauqua Institution’s 4,000-seat Amphitheater and in the historic 1,300-seat Norton Hall, concerts with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, weekly recitals, opera performances for young audiences, and Opera Invasions. Chautauqua Opera productions feature internationally recognized guest artists alongside emerging artists from Chautauqua Opera’s Young Artist Program. The Chautauqua Voice Program will be incorporated into the Chautauqua Opera Company in 2022, forming the Chautauqua Opera Company and Conservatory. Formal vocal instruction at Chautauqua began in 1875, with instructors Eben Tourgee, founder of the New England Conservatory, and the nationally famous hymnists Philip Bliss and William F. Sherwin. Esteemed voice instructor Marlena Malas has led the program since 1980. Learn more at opera.chq.org.
ABOUT CHAUTAUQUA INSTITUTION
Chautauqua Institution is a community on the shores of Chautauqua Lake in southwestern New York state that comes alive each summer — and year-round through the CHQ Assembly online platforms — with a unique mix of fine and performing arts, lectures, interfaith worship and programs, and recreational activities. As a community, we celebrate, encourage and study the arts and treat them as integral to all of learning, and we convene the critical conversations of the day to advance understanding through civil dialogue.
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