THE GLIMMERGLASS FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES 2016 SEASON
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (June 22, 2015) – The Glimmerglass Festival, Central New York’s opera and musical theater company, has announced its 2016 season.
The 2016 Festival features new productions of Puccini’s La bohème, Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, Rossini’s The Thieving Magpie and Robert Ward’s The Crucible. The productions will run in repertory July 8 through August 27 in the Alice Busch Opera Theater on Otsego Lake in Cooperstown. These mainstage offerings will be complemented by lectures, concerts and other events, including the Festival’s second youth opera, Wilde Tales. The commissioning of composer Laura Karpman for this production received funding from OPERA America’s Open Grants for Female Composers program, supported by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation. Wilde Tales, which will feature libretto by Kelley Rourke, is also made possible by a major grant from the Partridge Foundation. Additional mainstage events will be announced in the coming months.
“When I began, my goal was to create a Festival destination, not just for opera, but for many arts disciplines. In the last five years, our Festival has grown to include more than 80 performances of operas, musicals, concerts, cabarets, youth operas, lectures and discussions in multiple venues, plus art installations on our beautiful campus,” Artistic & General Director Francesca Zambello said. “We have added collaborations with various organizations, offering activities from art exhibits to literary readings. Our goal is to make a Festival that produces socially responsible work with something for everyone. The 2016 season will build on our previous initiatives, as well as add new activities to discover.
Internationally recognized tenor Jay Hunter Morris will return to the Festival as Artist in Residence. Morris made his Glimmerglass debut as Erik in the 2013 production of The Flying Dutchman and is renowned for his Wagnerian repertoire, including the title roles of Siegfried, Tristan and Lohengrin. As Artist in Residence, Morris will provide close mentorship and instruction to members of The Glimmerglass Festival Young Artists Program, the company’s apprentice program for emerging artists.
La bohème (Puccini/Illica & Giacosa)
The Glimmerglass Festival will open the 2016 Festival with a new production of Puccini’s La bohème. E. Loren Meeker will direct the tale of high-spirited hijinks, tender romance and heartbreaking loss.
“We’ve chosen the colorful backdrop of Belle Époque Paris, a milieu teeming with artists and throbbing with romance, for our new production of Puccini’s beloved masterpiece,” Meeker said. “The youthful, passionate artists at the center of the story will capture your hearts as they struggle to survive; their pockets may be empty, but they are determined to experience the fullness of the world.”
Soprano Raquel González, current Glimmerglass Young Artist and a member of Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, will return in the role of Mimì, with 2015 Young Artist Michael Brandenburg as Rodolfo. Also a Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist, Brandenburg is a recent grand prize winner at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. In his Festival debut, bass-baritone Dale Travis will sing the roles of Benoît and Alcindoro. Travis has frequented the stages of Opera Colorado, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Santa Fe Opera and many more.
La bohème will be conducted by company Music Director Joseph Colaneri, who conducts this season’s productions of Macbeth and Candide.
“With its timeless story of sacrificial love and tragic loss, Puccini’s La bohème speaks to us as powerfully as ever,” Colaneri said. “I am looking forward to conducting this fresh new production and youthful cast at Glimmerglass. These will be performances to remember.”
Scenery will be designed by Kevin Depinet, who designed the 2013 Glimmerglass production of Camelot and whose work is frequently seen at Steppenwolf, Brooklyn Academy of Music, National Theatre of Great Britain and more. Erik Teague will return to design costumes after his productions of Odyssey, Ariadne in Naxos and The Flying Dutchman at Glimmerglass, as well as productions of The Lion, the Unicorn, and Me at Washington National Opera and Les Liaisons Dangereuses for Actor’s Express.
The production will run July 8 through August 27, 2016.
SWEENEY TODD (Sondheim/Wheeler)
Sondheim’s musical thriller Sweeney Todd will make its debut on The Glimmerglass Festival stage in 2016 in a new production directed by Christopher Alden.
“It reminds me an awful lot of a crazy show I did at Glimmerglass some years back, Offenbach’s Bluebeard, an operetta about the guy who killed off all of his wives – although in Offenbach’s version they didn’t actually die but were hidden away in a bunker, Kimmy Schmidt-style,” Alden said. “Sondheim and Offenbach’s zany, gory pieces both play a brilliant balancing act between Gothic horror and biting social satire, stripping away the hypocritical mask which hides the reality of our dog-eat-dog – or in Sweeney’s case, man-eat-man – societal structures and craftily employing musical comedy and operetta techniques to achieve their marvelously subversive ends.”
Sweeney Todd tells a story of obsession and revenge, spiced with a measure of black humor. The Tony and Olivier award-winning score is driving, wistful, funny and touching, with such numbers as “Johanna,” “The Worst Pies in London,” “Not While I’m Around” and “Pretty Women.”
Noted bass-baritone Greer Grimsley will sing the title role of Fleet Street’s quick-handed barber. His accomplice, Mrs. Lovett, will be sung by his real-life wife, mezzo-soprano Luretta Bybee. Patricia Schuman, who returns to Glimmerglass for her fourth season, will perform the pivotal role of the Beggar Woman. Judge Turpin will be sung by Peter Volpe, who sang the role of Daland in both the Glimmerglass and Washington National Opera productions of The Flying Dutchman.
The musical will be conducted by John DeMain, whose recent productions include Show Boat at Lyric Opera of Chicago and Porgy and Bess at Seattle and San Francisco operas.
Sets will be designed by Andrew Holland, who has worked on numerous productions with Christopher Alden, including Boston Lyric Opera’s Lizzie Borden and La clemenza di Tito at Canadian Opera Company. Terese Wadden – whose creations have appeared in productions by Philadelphia Opera and Tanglewood, among others – will design costumes.
The production will run July 9 through August 26, 2016.
THE THIEVING MAGPIE (Rossini/Gherardini)
Director Peter Kazaras will present a new production of the rarely-seen Rossini work, The Thieving Magpie, in the opera’s first appearance on the Glimmerglass stage.
“Rossini’s The Thieving Magpie has all the hallmarks of a typical rescue opera – a heroine in distress, unjustly accused of a crime she did not commit; a dastardly and powerful lecher who offers freedom in return for her acquiescence; true love apparently thwarted; and a last-minute, photo-finish rescue. The fact that salvation comes in this case from a magpie (that occasionally talks) makes this all the more breathtaking…will Ninetta survive or won’t she?” said Kazaras, who directed the Festival’s 2014 production of An American Tragedy. “The deus ex machina from the animal kingdom adds just the right touch of spice and humor to this darkly thrilling tale. Add in Rossini’s spectacular vocal writing, gorgeous melodies and one of the most famous overtures ever, and this is sure to be an exciting performance.”
Former Glimmerglass Young Artist Rachele Gilmore, who enchanted Festival audiences last season with her performance as Zerbinetta in Ariadne in Naxos, will star in the role of Ninetta. The widely acclaimed Rossini tenor Michele Angelini will perform Giannetto. Bass-baritone Musa Ngqungwana will sing the role of the lascivious Gottardo, while Dale Travis will appear as Fernando Villabella.
Joseph Colaneri will return to the podium to conduct.
“The works of Gioachino Rossini make perfect vehicles for virtuoso singers with their brilliant vocal writing,” Colaneri said. “The rarely performed La gazza ladra [The Thieving Magpie] has all of Rossini’s scintillating effervescence along with poignant bel canto lyricism, all at the service of a bittersweet story.”
Meg Gillentine will both choreograph and perform as The Magpie. A dancer, singer, actor and designer, Gillentine’s talents have been seen on Broadway, film and television among other mediums. Hewes Design Award-nominated Myung Hee Cho will design both sets and costumes for the production.
The Thieving Magpie is generously sponsored by Elizabeth M. and Jean-Marie R. Eveillard. The production will run July 16 through August 25, 2016.
THE CRUCIBLE (Ward/Stambler)
Arthur Miller’s tale of witch hunts provides an allegorical gateway to the widespread betrayal synonymous with McCarthyism. Presented for the first time at Glimmerglass, Robert Ward’s Pulitzer Prize-winning opera depicts the vulnerabilities in a community – and even a nation – in the face of fear.
“In his distinctly American musical writing, which borrows from folk and jazz idioms, Ward relentlessly paints the anguish and the agitation of the characters,” conductor Nicole Paiement said. “I am so looking forward to joining the strong artistic team at Glimmerglass to bring to life this popular opera – a work that certainly has warranted its enduring worldwide success.
Paiement – Artistic Director of Opera Parallèle and BluePrint Project, and Principal Guest Conductor at Dallas Opera– will be making her Glimmerglass debut. The conductor will join forces with Artistic & General Director Francesca Zambello for the production.
“The mass hysteria that culminated in the Salem Witch Trials was not, unfortunately, an aberration. Throughout history we have seen how, in a climate of fear and mistrust, innuendo can take on the force of fact, resulting in the persecution of innocent people,” Zambello said. “Arthur Miller dramatized the 17th-century trials when he saw history repeating itself during the ‘Red Scare’ of the 1950s. It is not a pretty story, but it’s an important one – I think it’s important for us to remind ourselves that an accumulation of seemingly minor words and actions can take society to a point of no return.”
Baritone Brian Mulligan will play the doomed John Proctor. Mulligan has garnered acclaim for his performances as Richard Nixon in San Francisco Opera’s Nixon in China, as well as the title role in the Minnesota Opera production of Hamlet. Mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton – 2013 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World and winner of the 2015 Richard Tucker Award – will sing the role of Elizabeth Proctor.
Artist in Residence Jay Hunter Morris will take on the role of the merciless Judge Danforth. Glimmerglass veteran David Pittsinger – who made his first appearance in the Festival’s 2003 production of Orlando and most recently as Arthur in Camelot – will sing the role of the level-headed Reverend Hale. The bass-baritone has made a name for himself on stages across the world including Madrid’s Teatro Real and Theater an der Wien in Vienna.
Neil Patel will design the scenery for the 17th-century backdrop. The Helen Hayes Award-winner has created the sets for a wide variety of platforms including television, film, theater and opera. Costume designer Jessica Jahn will return for her third season with Glimmerglass. Jahn’s most recent works include the Festival’s own Carousel in 2014 and Minnesota Opera’s Carmen.
The Crucible is made possible by a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and will run July 23 through August 27, 2016.
For more information on the Glimmerglass Festival call the Box Office at (607) 547-2255 or visit www.glimmerglass.org.
The Glimmerglass Festival is a professional, non-profit organization presenting four new productions of opera and musical theater in rotation every July and August. The company’s Alice Busch Opera Theater opened in 1987 and has been home to more than 100 productions, many of which have been world and professional premieres. Francesca Zambello was appointed Artistic & General Director in September 2010. The company continues its tradition of four new fully staged productions, now including three operas and a piece of American musical theater performed with full orchestra and no sound amplification. Mainstage operas and musicals are supplemented with special concerts, a discussion series and many free events, including cast question-and-answer sessions and backstage tours. Founded in 1975, the company celebrates its 40th anniversary and continues to attract an international audience to the scenic Cooperstown area, where the talent of singers, directors, designers and staff from around the world converges to produce world-class opera and musical theater. For more information, visit www.glimmerglass.org.