In addition to lectures for your mind and sermons for your soul, Chautauqua abounds with music, art, drama, and dance for your spirit. There are many venues for the different arts, and lots of them are included with the gate pass that you pay to come in. If you are not staying on-site, you can buy admission to individual shows and just come in for specific performances.
The Chautauqua Opera Company was founded in 1929 and is North America’s oldest continuously operating summer opera company. They offer around 40 operatic events each season including fully staged productions (extra charge). This season’s main performances include L’Orfeo, Don Pasquale, and Hydrogen Jukebox.
The Chautauqua Theater Company is a professional theater company offering a season of plays featuring both known professional and emerging, student actors. This year’s shows include Noises Off, Detroit ’67, and Romeo and Juliet, as well as some limited runs of newer plays. Tickets for plays are extra.
Included in the gate pass charge are the (every) evening shows at the Amphitheater, the Popular Entertainment. These events are a mix of entertainment, including symphony orchestra productions, ballet, contemporary dance, speakers, comedians, and other entertainers. The Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra and the Chautauqua Dance Program do many of the shows, sometimes with guest soloists, but the Institution pulls in many big name acts every season. On past trips we’ve seen Garrison Keillor and Straight No Chaser. This year’s season opened with Jay Leno. Some upcoming shows include Rhythmic Circus, Rhiannon Giddens, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in Concert, Capitol Steps, Playing by Air, etc. This year, the Pittsburgh Ballet Company is coming, and they are ending the season with The Beach Boys.
It is quite a mix, the things you can do at Chautauqua, and you can stay as busy as you like. Or you can sit on the lakeshore, or the porch of the Athenaeum Hotel, or the porch of the Victorian house condo you’ve rented, or in Bestor Plaza, and watch the (small Chautauqua) world go by. You can buy a new book in the bookstore. Or you can knit and crochet and knit some more. You will likely find me in Bestor Plaza with some yarn, doing some of that last thing.