General and Artistic Director
This is Steven Osgood’s sixth season as General and Artistic Director of the Chautauqua Opera Company. During his tenure the company has reconfigured its season schedule to include longer runs of selected productions, chamber operas, and a Festival Week to celebrate the 90th anniversary season in 2019. Contemporary music has become a staple of Chautauqua Opera Company’s repertoire each season. The Composer-in-Residence position which was created in 2016 has been expanded this season to include two Composer Fellows.
Steven has conducted the world premieres of over 20 operas, including in recent seasons Breaking the Waves at Opera Philadelphia, JFK at Fort Worth Opera, The Scarlet Ibis, Thumbprint, Blood Moon, and Sumeida’s Song for the PROTOTYPE festival, as well as Missy Mazzoli’s Song from the Uproar with Beth Morrison Projects. He has been conductor mentor on two occasions for Washington National Opera’s American Opera Initiative, leading the premieres of six new operas.
From 2001 to 2008 Steven was Artistic Director of American Opera Projects, where he conducted numerous developmental workshops. He founded the company’s internationally recognized Composers and the Voice Fellowship and remains the program’s Artistic Director. He conducted the premieres of As One in its sold-out run at BAM, and Paula Kimper’s Patience and Sarah at the 1998 Lincoln Center Festival.
In March 2020 Steven was in preview performances at Lincoln Center Theatre for the world premiere of Intimate Apparel by Ricky Ian Gordon and Lynn Nottage, based on her play of the same name. The production was put on hold when Broadway closed for the pandemic and is slated to return for its official opening and extended run January through March 2022.
Marlena Malas (In Memoriam)
Director, Opera Conservatory
The Chautauqua Community joins the world in mourning the passing of Marlena Malas on December 4, 2023. We honor her more than four decades of leadership and service to our Opera Conservatory.
Marlena Malas has taught at The Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music for almost 30 years. Her students can be heard in the world’s major opera houses and concert venues and her graduates also hold teaching positions at many esteemed conservatories and universities worldwide. In addition to Juilliard and her private voice studio, Malas has taught on the faculty of The Curtis Institute of Music. She has served as a vocal consultant and teacher for the Canadian Opera Company, the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Program, the English National Opera, the Santa Fe Opera, the Castleton Festival, the Chicago Lyric Opera Young Artist Program, and has also taught voice at the Hartt School of Music. Malas has taught singing master classes at the Blossom Music Festival, the San Francisco Opera Center, the Santa Fe Opera, the European Center for Opera and Vocal Studies in Brussels, the Israel Vocal Studies Center, the English National Opera, the Metropolitan Opera National Council, Westminster Choir College, and Rutgers University. Most notably, in 1993, she taught master classes in collaboration with her mentors Joan Sutherland, Richard Bonynge, and Luigi Alva in association with the Sydney Opera House, at their first Opera Symposium.
A native of New York City, Malas, a mezzo-soprano, graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music. She then sang with opera companies including Santa Fe, Boston, Miami, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, San Diego, and Milwaukee, and made appearances with the Marlboro and Casals Festivals as well as concert appearances with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic. She is featured on a definitive recording of Brahms’s “Liebeslieder Waltzes” under the direction of Rudolf Serkin and Leon Fleisher.
John Matsumoto Giampietro
Associate Director, Opera Conservatory
For the Opera Conservatory, John Giampietro has directed numerous operas including The Cunning Little Vixen, Hänsel und Gretel, Le nozze di Figaro, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. John is a Vocal Arts Acting Faculty member and Stage Director at The Juilliard School where he teaches across all degree programs. He is also a faculty member of The Curtis Institute of Music where he teaches acting in the Vocal Studies and Opera Theater Department.
John’s opera and theatre productions have been seen at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Urban Stages, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Vermont Shakespeare Festival, Curtis Institute of Music, The Flea Theater, Yale School of Music, and Shenandoah Conservatory among others.
John is an artist-member of Ensemble Studio Theatre in NYC where he is a frequent director with the Obie award winning playwriting group, Youngblood. At EST, John directed the NY Times acclaimed production of Year of the Rooster.
John’s writing includes new English dialogue versions of Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor by Otto Nicolai, Mozart’s The Impresario and Die Zauberflöte. He has written three plays; The Immolation of Kathy Chang(e), M. of Versailles, and Strength of God and other grotesques, based on Sherwood Anderson’s novel “Winesburg, Ohio”.
Music Administrator/Chorus Master
Since 1995 Carol Rausch has served as Music Administrator/Chorus Master, overseeing the musical components of the company and the Young Artist Program.
Carol is also the Chorus Master/Music Administrator for the New Orleans Opera. She has won awards for both choral direction and for the company’s success in arts education throughout Louisiana and the Gulf Coast. Carol has previously worked for Virginia Opera, Greater Miami Opera (now Florida Grand Opera), Ohio Light Opera and Opera Columbus. She has taught at The Ohio State University and has been on the staffs of Kenyon College and the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. Carol is currently head of the opera department at Loyola University New Orleans, where she has musically prepared and conducted numerous performances. In January 2018 the city of New Orleans hosted the National Opera Association conference, for which Loyola produced Tom Cipullo’s award-winning chamber opera After Life.
Carol has performed as a member of the Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra and the Metamorphosis Chamber Ensemble. She has remained active as a coach and recital pianist, including concerts with Jennifer Rowley, Marquita Lister, Fabiana Bravo, Ned Barth, Jeanne-Michèle Charbonnet, Greer Grimsley, Luretta Bybee, Anthony Laciura, Melanie Helton, Brenda Harris and Bryan Hymel. Carol often accompanies the Gulf Coast regional auditions for the Metropolitan Opera National Council and has judged both the district and regional levels of competition throughout the U.S.
Carol holds degrees from Indiana University and The Ohio State University, and she pursued a year of study at the Conservatoire Royal de Musique in Brussels, Belgium, as a Rotary Foundation Graduate Fellow. Her piano teachers have included Jorge Bolet, Earl Wild, Richard Tetley-Kardos and Sonja Anschütz.
Director of Production
Michael Baumgarten has been the Director of Production and Resident Lighting Designer for Chautauqua Opera since 1999, and for Opera Carolina in Charlotte since 2005. Michael has designed lighting for over 450 productions at regional and international opera companies, including New York City Opera, Teatro del Giglio/Lucca, Florida Grand Opera, Opera Lyra Ottawa, Arizona Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Lyric Opera Kansas City, Palm Beach Opera, Toledo Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, and Manitoba Opera during his thirty-plus year design career. A graduate of the Yale School of Drama and member of United Scenic Artists-Local 829, he assisted on Broadway during the 1980’s, working with such designers as Craig Miller, Tom Skelton, Beverly Emmons, Jim Ingalls, and Richard Nelson.
Helen Hassinger joins the Chautauqua Opera Company team as Manager after previously holding the positions of Audition Manager and Company Manager. Prior to joining Chautauqua Opera Company, Helen worked in international education as the Metropolitan College International Administrator at Boston University. Helen has also held administrative roles with NUOVA Vocal Arts, Aspen Music Festival, and Seaglass Theater Company.
A former Chautauqua Opera Young Artist, Helen is no stranger to Chautauqua Institution’s stages. In 2017, she appeared with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra as the soprano soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, and also performed the roles of Soprano 2 in Hydrogen Jukebox and Ninfa in Orfeo. In 2018, Helen performed Donna Anna in Chautauqua Opera’s production of Don Giovanni as a returning Apprentice Artist.
Helen is a graduate of St. Olaf College and Boston University.
Arts Marketing Specialist
Makayla Santiago- Froebel joins as the Arts Marketing Specialist, having just over eight years of experience working in arts and cultural institutions. She previously worked at Chautauqua, with roles in dance and ticketing operations, and was most recently employed as the Communications & Development Coordinator at the Center for Elder Law & Justice in Buffalo, New York, and the Development Associate at Mark Morris Dance Group in Brooklyn, New York. In addition, her tenure includes communications and development experience from Frank Lloyd Wright’s The Martin House, Canisius College, Chautauqua Regional Youth Ballet, and serving as house manager and ticketing agent for SUNY Fredonia’s Rockefeller Arts Center.
With a passion for lifting the voices of those so often left unheard, Makayla founded the Chatty Carmens podcast in 2020 with a simple vision, that female-identifying change-makers of color deserve a platform to share their stories.
She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business with a concentration in Music Business and a Bachelor of Art in Arts Administration with a concentration in Communication from the State University at Fredonia. She also holds a Master of Science in Communication & Leadership, Non-Profit Organizational Behavior from Canisius College. In addition, she holds the Diversity & Inclusion Certification from Cornell University and is excited to infuse all she has learned into decision-making and communication strategies.
Director of Arts Education, Opera in the Schools
Suzanne serves as the Director of Arts Education at Chautauqua Institution, responsible for the development and implementation of arts education programs in the K-12 public schools. Since her arrival in 2017, over 20,000 students have participated in these programs by writing plays, drumming their hearts out, singing their lungs out and overall, sharing their unique selves through artistic expression. Suzanne also serves as the operations manager for the School of Music, combining her skill sets in education and event production to aid in envisioning compelling performance and learning experiences for pre-professional musicians who attend during the Summer Assembly.
Prior to her time at the Institution, Suzanne taught in K-12 and higher education settings as a percussionist, conductor and music historian. Trained as a classical percussionist, she was a member of the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra for 20 years and also enjoyed a performing career as pit musician for musicals on drum set. She was in high demand as guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator throughout Illinois and Indiana.