The Glimmerglass Festival

Photographer: George Mott/Glimmerglass Opera 2007; headshots courtesy of Glimmerglass Opera.
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Summary Info Festival StoryFestival EventsOther SourcesPractical Info

Country and Region United StatesNew York
Type of Festival Drama, Music
Location of Festival Cooperstown, New York USA
Festival Contact Information

Glimmerglass Opera
Administrative Office
P. O. Box 191
7300 State Highway 80
Cooperstown, NY 13326 USA
Phone: (01) 607-547-5704
Fax: (01) 607-547-6030

Festival Description

The 2012 Glimmerglass Festival mainstage productions include Verdi’s Aida, Willson’s The Music Man, Lully’s Armide and Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson’s Lost in the Stars. The productions will run in rotation July 7 through August 25 in the Alice Busch Opera Theater in Cooperstown, New York. The mainstage productions will be supplemented by special performances, concerts and lectures throughout the season. Tickets for the Festival start at just $26 and youth tickets (ages 6-18) start at $10 when accompanied by an adult. Call (607) 547-2255 or visit for tickets and additional information.

Festival Dates July 6 - August 24, 2013
Festival Links

Festival Story:

Established in 1975 and based in Cooperstown, New York, Glimmerglass Opera offers more than 40 performances of opera and works of music theater in repertory during July and August. Glimmerglass Opera came into being through the efforts of local Cooperstown residents—musicians, artists, educators, and amateur lovers of the art form—who hoped to bring opera to their community. As the founders wrote in the first season’s program, “Cooperstown was chosen because of its glorious natural beauty and its important place in the heritage of America. We believe strongly that a performing arts festival belongs here; that the area is right for it, and that it is right for the area.”


Festival Events:

Theatre programming July 7 through August 27, 2012:
  • AIDA, Giuseppe Verdi/Antonio Ghislanzoni, 1871
    • Aida will open and close the season in a new production that emphasizes the personal drama at the heart of Verdi’s masterpiece. This will be the first production of Aida presented at Glimmerglass. “Aida is often thought of as a grand opera, a spectacle with elephants and pyramids,” Zambello said. “I have always wanted to present Aida in an intimate setting where we can focus on the tensions of politics between Egypt and Ethiopia through the prism of the love triangle.” 2011 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Winner Michelle Johnson will sing the title role of the captive princess. Eric Owens will perform the role of Amonasro in his role debut. “This role is something I have been wanting to do for a long time,” Owens said. “Over the last five or six years my voice has settled higher and I want to do more crossover into certain baritone repertoire.” Daveda Karanas will sing the role of Amneris. Karanas can be seen in the Ring Cycle at San Francisco Opera as 2nd Norn in the new production of Götterdämmerung and Waltraute in Die Walküre. Award-winning fashion designer Bibhu Mohapatra will design costumes for the production directed by Francesca Zambello. Nader Abbassi, Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Cairo Opera Orchestra, will conduct the piece in his company debut. “Since I was a child, Aida has been my favorite opera, and it was always my dream to conduct this piece,” Abbassi said. “I have had the honor to conduct Aida in more than six countries at important festivals – in Asia, Russia, China, Europe and in Africa by the pyramids where I belong. Now I feel the excitement and challenge of being an Egyptian conducting this great opera at Glimmerglass. I am thrilled, but overall I am proud.” Robert Wierzel will design lighting. Wierzel has designed more than 35 productions for Glimmerglass and designs this summer’s productions of Carmen and Medea.
  • THE MUSIC MAN,Meredith Willson, 1957
    • Cooperstown native Dwayne Croft will return to Glimmerglass for the role of Harold Hill in The Music Man, which follows the 2011 production of Annie Get Your Gun in the company’s series of American musicals performed with full orchestra and no amplification. Croft, who has sung more than 25 roles with the Metropolitan Opera, remembers early years at Glimmerglass, where he began as a supernumerary and chorus member while a student at Cooperstown Central School and went on to sing many roles with the company. “Returning home to Glimmerglass after 22 years fills me with happiness and nostalgia,” Croft said. “It’s where the opera seed was planted in me in 1975, and grew over my 15 years with the company. Having the opportunity to perform the iconic role of Harold Hill in The Music Man is a dream come true that I look forward to bringing to life.” In this Tony Award-winning musical, an itinerant con man falls for the local librarian, Marian Paroo, which will be sung by Elizabeth Futral. Futral created the roles of Stella in André Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire and Laura Jesson in Previn’s Brief Encounter. Her extensive discography includes works by Previn, Carlisle Floyd and Ricky Ian Gordon. John DeMain conducted Glimmerglass’s 2002 production of Little Women and will return to conduct The Music Man. DeMain is well-known for his work on new American works such as Leonard Bernstein’s A Quiet Place and John Adams’s Nixon in China. Recent engagements include guest appearances with Los Angeles Opera for Porgy and Bess, A Little Night Music and The Merry Widow. Marcia Milgrom Dodge, whose Broadway production of Ragtime won several Tony Awards, joins Glimmerglass to direct and choreograph the musical. “I am delighted to make my Glimmerglass debut directing and choreographing the classic American musical The Music Man,” Dodge said. “Meredith Willson’s irresistible score celebrates a lively spirit and immense pride in community—qualities associated with Glimmerglass’s mission.” Costumes will be designed by Leon Wiebers, who has designed productions for English National Opera, Théâtre du Châtelet, San Francisco Opera and more. James Noone will design sets. Noone has designed more than a dozen productions on Broadway, including Hot Feet, Urban Cowboy and Come Back, Little Sheba. Lighting design will be by Kevin Adams, who designed the recent Broadway revival of Hair, as well as Everyday Rapture, Next to Normal and American Idiot, for which he won a 2010 Tony Award. The production will run July 14 through August 26.
  • ARMIDE, Jean-Baptiste Lully/Philippe Quinault, 1686
    • Glimmerglass has built a reputation for presenting new and innovative productions of early operas, beginning with Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea in 1994. Since then, the company has presented more than a dozen productions of operas from the 17th and early 18th century, including Monteverdi’s three surviving works and a number of works by Handel, most recently the US professionally-staged premiere of Tolomeo. In 2012, the company will join with Toronto’s Opera Atelier, renowned for lavish productions with period ballet, for Lully’s Armide, Glimmerglass’s first French baroque opera. “Today’s battles in society for religious rights echo Lully’s Armide and the 11th-century conflicts between the Muslims and Christians,” Zambello said. “We will collaborate with Opera Atelier of Canada to present this stimulating work as we explore these themes in a baroque setting.” Muslim and Christian worlds collide in this opera, where warrior princess Armide is caught between love and vengeance for her sworn enemy, Renaud. The title role will be sung by Peggy Kriha Dye, who recently made her debut with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and has performed with Washington National Opera and San Francisco Opera. Colin Ainsworth, who performed the role of Jean in Glimmerglass’s production of Le portrait de Manon in 2005, will sing the role of Renaud. Opera Atelier Music Director David Fallis will conduct. Canadian dancer Jeannette Lajeunesse Zingg will choreograph. Marshall Pynkoski, who serves as Co-Artistic Director of Opera Atelier with Zingg, will direct Armide. Pynkoski joins the company this summer for ShowTalk, the company’s series of season-related lectures, on August 13 with a special French baroque program. The creative team also includes set designer Gerard Gauci, costume designer Dora Rust D’Eye and lighting designer Bonnie Beecher. Armide will run July 21 through August 23.
  • LOST IN THE STARS, Kurt Weill/Maxwell Anderson, 1949
    • Glimmerglass’s first production of a Kurt Weill work, Lost in the Stars will be presented in a co-production with Cape Town Opera. The piece is based on Cry, the Beloved Country, the classic novel by Alan Paton, and presents the story of South African priest Stephen Kumalo’s spiritual crisis during the time of social unrest that led to apartheid. Eric Owens will sing the role of Stephen Kumalo. “This is a wonderful gem often overlooked,” Owens said. “Although South Africa is no longer in a period of apartheid, it is still important to honor and understand where the evolution and revolution have come from.” The production will premiere at Cape Town Opera November 24 through 27, 2011 before traveling to Cooperstown for its run July 22 through August 25, 2012. South African members of the original Cape Town Opera cast will join Glimmerglass in 2012 for the production. “In Lost in the Stars we are catapulted back into a world dominated by apartheid in South Africa – has it changed now?” Zambello asked. “We are fortunate to work with the Cape Town Opera and the South African singers that will join us, who have a deep personal and historical connection with the material. They will join with our great American bass-baritone Eric Owens to explore issues of race – then and now.” American tenor Sean Panikkar, recently seen as Narraboth in Salome at Washington National Opera, will sing the role of The Leader. Lighting will be designed by Robert Wierzel. Sets and costumes will be designed by Michael Mitchell, Cape Town Opera resident stage designer whose work has been showcased at Royal Festival Hall, Edinburgh Festival and more. John DeMain will conduct, and Tazewell Thompson will direct. Thompson directed Glimmerglass’s acclaimed productions of Dialogues of the Carmelites and Death in Venice. He most recently directed the company’s 2010 production of The Tender Land. “Though it is a story of the ages wrestling with issues of biblical dimensions, Lost in the Stars is a simple story of the human heart – one of heartbreak and intolerance as well as truth, reconciliation, compassion and, finally, moral transformation,” Thompson said. “It resonates as relevant, vital and revelatory as though snatched from today’s headlines around the world.”
Concerts 2012:
  • The 2012 Festival features four special concerts in its 914-seat Alice Busch Opera Theater, in addition to the mainstage productions.
  • Eric Owens
    • American bass-baritone Eric Owens, who has performed to critical acclaim at Metropolitan, San Francisco and Washington National operas, joins the company as the 2012 Artist in Residence. In addition to his roles as Amonasro in Aida and Stephen Kumalo in Lost in the Stars, Owens will pay tribute to the great American singer and bandleader Billy Eckstine on July 27 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $25 to $50 and $10 for youths.
  • Deborah Voigt
    • Deborah Voigt who debuted her one-woman show Voigt Lessons at Glimmerglass last summer, returns for a recital that includes works by Strauss and Verdi on August 5 at 5:30 p.m. Voigt just performed in the complete Ring Cycle at the Metropolitan Opera, and has upcoming engagements with Minnesota Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Auckland Philharmonic. Tickets are $25 to $75 and $10 for youths.
  • Dolora Zajick and members of the Young Artists Program
    • The company’s apprenticeship for young singers, will perform selections from Maid of Orleans, Macbeth, Il Trovatore, Don Carlo, Adriana Lecouvreur and more in Women Obsessed and Possessed by Heaven and Hell on August 10 at 3 p.m. Known as a true dramatic Verdi mezzo-soprano, Zajick has sung Azucena in Il Trovatore, Amneris in Aida and Eboli in Don Carlo around the world with such companies as the Metropolitan, San Francisco and Houston Grand operas, as well as La Scala, Vienna State Opera and London’s Covent Garden. Tickets are $25 to $50 and $10 for youths.
  • Terry Eder
    • The pianist joined by a member of the Young Artists Program, will present Verdi’s Contemporaries at the Keyboard on August 18 at 5 p.m. in the Pavilion next to the theater, featuring works surrounding the period in which Aida was written. Eder’s repertoire is wide, encompassing much of the major piano literature, as well as seldom performed works of Bartók, Dohnányi, Kodály and others. She has performed acclaimed solo recitals at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, Alice Tully Hall and more. Tickets are $20 and $10 for youths.
  • Noah Stewart — Sultry Summer Nights
    • On August 24 at 3 p.m. tenor Noah Stewart will present Sultry Summer Nights, featuring selections from opera, musical theater and more. Stewart was recently announced as the first black musician to top British classical music charts with his new album Noah. Stewart performs the role of Radames in the mainstage production of Aida. He is accomplished in interpreting such core roles as Don José in Carmen or Rodolfo in La bohème, and recently made his Covent Garden debut in the world premiere of Miss Fortune. Tickets are $20 and $10 for youths.
Free Events 2012:
  • The Glimmerglass Festival offers many free opportunities for audience members to further their experience. Free previews are available prior to each performance, where a member of the music staff offers an exploration into the work about to be performed. Free backstage tours are offered every double-performance Saturday at 10 a.m., and between performances on double-performance Saturdays, audience members may remain in the theater to watch as the production crews change the scenery and lighting to that of the next production. A member of the production staff narrates as the crews race to change the scenery in less than three hours. Additionally, free question-and-answer sessions with the cast and conductor are available for audience member after many mainstage performances throughout the summer.


Other Sources:

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Practical Info:

  • Alice Busch Opera Theater
    7300 State Highway 80
    Cooperstown, New York 13326
  • Glimmerglass Opera Ticket Office
    18 Chestnut Street
    Cooperstown, NY 13326 USA
    Phone: (01) 607-547-2255
    Fax: (01) 607-547-1257


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