About the Chautauqua Opera Conservatory and Facilities
The Chautauqua Opera Conservatory is an intensive educational program that seeks to offer the highest caliber of training for the young singer, 18 and older. Under the leadership of Marlena Kleinman Malas, a select group of singers study, coach and perform in an idyllic setting on the grounds of the Chautauqua Institution in western New York State.
Voice lessons, role preparation, vocal coachings and masterclasses are guided by a full-time staff of voice teachers, coaches and a resident stage director, along with numerous guest artists. Students also have the opportunity to work with and perform the pieces of contemporary composers like Ben Moore and Ricky Ian Gordon.
At the start of the summer, we gather in one of our newly renovated recital halls for the annual sing-in. Each singer presents one aria or song. Choose something you feel best showcases your voice. At the end of the summer, we have the sing-out where students typically perform whatever they like. Pieces have included arias, art songs, music theater, ensembles, comedy or sentimental favorites.
We perform two operas each summer. The first opera is double-cast and performed in McKnight Hall with reduced instrumental ensemble and piano, full costumes, props and lighting. The second opera is performed in the 4,000-seat Chautauqua Amphitheater with the Music School Festival Orchestra, full staging, costumes and props. We close the summer with a musical which will be in the gorgeous Norton Hall. Many roles are decided in advance of the summer, but some are not finalized until after the sing-in at the very beginning of the program.
Students are also involved in numerous masterclasses, recitals and concerts, led by our guest artists and resident faculty. They also have the chance to be involved in Chamber Music with our Instrumental and Piano Programs in the beginning of the summer.
A limited number of Chautauqua Opera Conservatory students will be offered additional assignments with the Chautauqua Opera Company. These may include singing or covering comprimario roles, and ensemble singing. Chautauqua Opera Company and Conservatory leadership collaborates closely to assure that students who appear in Opera Company productions are able to take full advantage of the Conservatory’s pedagogical schedule, while gaining valuable experience and credit with the professional company. All students who appear in an Opera Company production receive financial compensation.
Chautauqua Institution offers large scholarships, most covering tuition and many covering the full cost.