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Chautauqua Opera presents 83rd season

June 27, 2012
Westfield Republican / Mayville Sentinel News

CHAUTAUQUA - Chautauqua Opera, the oldest continuously producing summer opera company in the United States, will present another season full of events for opera lovers of all ages, including fully staged productions at Chautauqua Institution's historic Amphitheater and Norton Hall featuring nationally recognized casts.

Chautauqua Opera begin its season with a new production of Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor" on Saturday, July 7, a one-night-only event at the Amphitheater. Playing Lucia and making her Chautauqua Opera debut is Rachelle Durkin, who recently appeared in the Metropolitan Opera production and HD broadcast of Philip Glass' "Satyagraha." Joining Durkin onstage are tenor Gregory Carroll as Edgardo, who thrilled Chautauqua audiences in Verdi's "Luisa Miller" last year, former Chautauqua Opera Young Artist Todd Thomas as Enrico and bass-baritone Richard Bernstein as Raimondo. Chautauqua Opera's Artistic/General Manager Jay Lesenger directs the production and Joseph Colaneri returns to conduct, having conducted 10 previous Chautauqua Opera productions and numerous productions at the Metropolitan Opera and New York City Opera.

"Lucia Di Lammermoor" will be sung in Italian with English subtitles. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased at or by calling 357-6250.

Keeping with the Norton Hall tradition, Chautauqua Opera's second production of the season, Puccini's "Manon Lescaut," will be sung in English, with two performances on Friday, July 27, and Monday, July 30. Making her debut at Chautauqua as Manon is soprano Barbara Shirvis, who has sung throughout North America including New York City Opera, Utah Opera and Edmonton Opera. Chautauqua favorites tenor Robert Breault and baritone Michael Chioldi return as Des Grieux and Lescaut, respectively. One of the leading comic character basses in the opera world, Kevin Glavin, makes his Chautauqua Opera debut as Geronte. The Norton Hall production, directed by Jay Lesenger, will be conducted by James Meena, general director and principal conductor of Opera Carolina.

"Manon Lescaut" will be performed on Friday, July 27, and Monday, July 30. Both performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets begin at $15 and can be purchased at or by calling 357-6250.

Composed of professional performances and the education of young singers on the verge of careers in opera, Chautauqua Opera is in its 83rd season at Chautauqua Institution. Chautauqua Opera's Young Artists will be featured in two Amphitheater concerts with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, including an Opera Highlights Concert on Saturday, July 14 in the Amphitheater and an Opera Pops Concert on Saturday, Aug. 4. For a complete list of 2012 events, including recitals by the company's Young Artists, visit

Chautauqua Institution is a summer community located in southwestern New York State on Chautauqua Lake. It offers a unique mix of fine and performing arts, lectures, interfaith worship, educational programs, and recreational activities. Each summer the Institution hosts over 2,200 events and 100,000 guests. For more information please visit,



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