2011 GLIMMERGLASS FESTIVAL DETAILS ANNOUNCED
Four New Productions, Including a World Premiere and Professional Premiere,
Headline the 37th Festival
Festival Artists Include Anne Bogart, Amy Burton, Rod Gilfry, Nathan Gunn, Tony Kushner, Terrence McNally, John Musto, David Pittsinger, Jeanine Tesori and Deborah Voigt
Company Inaugurates Annual Artist in Residence
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (Updated July 29, 2011) – The 2011 Glimmerglass Festival, the first under new Artistic & General Director Francesca Zambello, opens July 2.
The 2011 Festival opens with new productions of Bizet’s Carmen and Cherubini’s Medea. Additionally, a double bill of two new operas highlighting American artists features the world-premiere production of A Blizzard On Marblehead Neck, a Glimmerglass-commissioned work by the award-winning team of composer Jeanine Tesori and playwright Tony Kushner, and the professional premiere of John Musto and Mark Campbell’s acclaimed Later the Same Evening. The four operas are joined by Irving Berlin’s Annie Get Your Gun. The mainstage productions are supplemented by special performances, concerts, cast and crew question-and-answer sessions and a lecture series.
“For years, Glimmerglass has been celebrated for its devotion to the operatic form and for its adventurous productions of familiar and unfamiliar works from the classic repertoire,” Zambello said. “As part of the company’s mission to produce new, little-known and familiar operas and works of music theater, The Glimmerglass Festival will offer an annual production of an American musical theater piece performed in the way it was first heard with full orchestra and chorus and without amplification.”
CARMEN (Bizet/Meilhac & Halévy)
The 2011 season features strong heroines – and the fiery Carmen is no exception. The role of the independent protagonist is sung by Ginger Costa-Jackson in her role and company debut. Costa-Jackson is an alumna of the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. Adam Diegel returns to Glimmerglass as Don José after his performance last summer as Cavaradossi in Tosca, for which he was praised for his “smooth and darkly tinged voice.” American soprano Anya Matanovic sings the role of Micaëla in her company debut. The production is directed by Anne Bogart, who serves as the Artistic Director for the SITI Company and whose work was last seen at Glimmerglass in 2008 with Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi. Glimmerglass Music Director David Angus conducts.
“Everything that Anne Bogart touches is transformed into something exceptional and different, so I am thrilled I will be doing Carmen with her,” Angus said. “We can expect a completely new approach to the work, and I am sure we will discover many new layers of the story and a very strong staging. When this is combined with the Glimmerglass tradition of bringing in the newest generation of young stars, this will be a Carmen worth traveling a long way to see.”
James Schuette, who designed costumes for Bogart’s Glimmerglass production in 2008, designs sets and costumes. 2010 Tony Award nominee Robert Wierzel, who has designed more than 35 productions for Glimmerglass, designs lighting. SITI Company member Barney O'Hanlon choreographs.
Medea, Cherubini’s rarely performed opera, is presented in Italian. The role of Medea is sung by Alexandra Deshorties in her role and company debut. A graduate of the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, Deshorties made her Met debut as the High Priestess in Aida and has since appeared as Elettra in Idomeneo, Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte and First Lady in The Magic Flute. The role of King Creon is sung by David Pittsinger, last seen at Glimmerglass in 2005 as The Traveller and The Elderly Fop in Death in Venice. Pittsinger has recently performed the role of Emile de Becque in Lincoln Center’s South Pacific. Englishman Michael Barker-Caven, known for his work in London’s West End and the Royal Opera House, directs and Italy native Daniele Rustioni conducts, both in their U.S. debuts. They are joined by Joe Vanek, who designs sets and costumes. Robert Wierzel designs lighting.
A Blizzard On Marblehead Neck (Tesori/Kushner)
The world premiere of A Blizzard On Marblehead Neck is inspired by an episode in the life of playwright Eugene O’Neill. This is the first operatic composition for Jeanine Tesori, who is well-known for her scores on Broadway, including Shrek The Musical and Tony Award-winning Caroline, or Change. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner provides the original libretto; Kushner is acclaimed for his Tony Award–winning play, Angels in America, which was later turned into a mini-series. His other plays include A Bright Room Called Day, Slavs! and Homebody/Kabul and more recently, The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism With a Key to the Scriptures. He wrote the book for Tesori’s Caroline, or Change and the screenplays for Mike Nichols's film Angels in America and Steven Spielberg's Munich. Zambello directs A Blizzard On Marblehead Neck. Court Watson designs costumes.
Later the Same Evening (Musto/Campbell)
Originally commissioned by the National Gallery of Art, the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center and the University of Maryland, Later the Same Evening is a one-act opera inspired by five paintings of American icon Edward Hopper. The opera is written by Pulitzer Prize-nominated composer John Musto and award-winning librettist Mark Campbell, who previously collaborated on the highly successful comic opera, Volpone, for Wolf Trap Opera. Later the Same Evening imagines the lives of the figures in Hopper’s paintings and weaves a narrative that connects them – both tangentially and directly – on a single night in New York City in 1932. "Ultimately, the opera is a love letter to the city," explains librettist Campbell, "and celebrates the serendipity its inhabitants hold sacred...and its belief that love could always be just around the next corner." The production features Patricia Schuman in the role of Estelle Oglethorpe. Schuman has performed in many leading opera houses and festivals, including the Met, Vienna State Opera, Salzburg Festival, Royal Opera House Covent Garden and Houston Grand Opera. Baritone Jake Gardner performs the role of Ronaldo Cabral. Gardner returns to Glimmerglass after performances as Jupiter in the company’s 2007 production of Orpheus in the Underworld. Leon Major, who directed Later the Same Evening’s 2007 premiere to critical acclaim, directs; David Angus conducts. David O. Roberts designed costumes for the premiere and designs this new production. Erhard Rom, who also teamed with Major on the premiere, designs the sets for the double bill in his company debut. Mark McCullough designs lighting for A Blizzard On Marblehead Neck and Later the Same Evening.
ANNIE GET YOUR GUN (Berlin/Fields)
Based on the real-life romance of sharpshooter Annie Oakley and Frank Butler, Berlin’s Annie Get Your Gun features the popular and well-known songs “Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better,” “I Got Lost in His Arms,” and “There’s No Business Like Show Business.” Leading dramatic soprano Deborah Voigt sings the title role. Although Voigt is internationally revered in the operas of Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss, and is noted for portrayals of such Italian operatic heroines as Tosca and Aida, she has also sung Broadway and popular songs in recital and in special cabaret presentations. Rod Gilfry sings the role of Frank Butler, Annie’s love interest. Gilfry is a two-time GRAMMY nominee who was recently seen as Emile de Becque in the U.S. National Tour of the Lincoln Center Production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific. Buffalo Bill Cody is sung by Jake Gardner. Zambello, known for both her opera and theater productions, directs the musical. Kristen Blodgette, who has served worked on many Broadway productions, conducts. Court Watson designs sets and costumes in his company debut, and Mark McCullough designs lighting. McCullough returns, after having designed Das Liebesverbot in 2008, for his ninth season with the company.
GLIMMERGLASS FESTIVAL ARTIST IN RESIDENCE
New in 2011, the company hosts a Glimmerglass Festival Artist in Residence. Each summer, an Artist in Residence will join the company for the season and be fully integrated into the Festival. The inaugural Glimmerglass Festival Artist in Residence is Deborah Voigt who, in addition to starring in Annie Get Your Gun, will perform special solo performances throughout the summer and work closely with members of the company’s Young Artists Program.
“Great opera singers are always seeking ways to renew and refresh their art,” Zambello said. “Every summer, The Glimmerglass Festival will be enriched by an internationally acclaimed artist who will join us for the entire season to explore new avenues of expression, to mentor our Young Artists and to interact with our public. We are especially pleased to welcome Deborah Voigt as our first Artist in Residence in 2011.”
Voigt said, “I am honored to have been chosen as The Glimmerglass Festival’s first Artist in Residence. I love working with young, talented singers. To have the opportunity to mentor them over a period of weeks, during which we all live, work and create together, will be very special. I certainly hope it will be enriching for them, and I know it will be fulfilling for me.
“Fifty or 60 years ago, these big, classic American musicals were originally scored with very large orchestras, and there was certainly no sound amplification,” she continued. “It will be exciting to sing Annie this way, and I’m certain that our audiences will find it very satisfying to hear the orchestra and the singing performed the way it was intended.”
CONCERTS AND SPECIAL PERFORMANCES
The 2011 Glimmerglass Festival features two special performances. Voigt Lessons, a cabaret starring Deborah Voigt takes place July 29 at 3 p.m. in the Alice Busch Opera Theater. This performance is the premiere of a program developed by Voigt, director Zambello and award-winning playwright Terrence McNally. McNally has written the books for the musicals The Full Monty, The Rink, Ragtime and A Man Of No Importance, as well as the libretto for Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking at San Francisco Opera. He is also acclaimed for his Tony Award-winning play, The Master Class, which focuses on the life and career of operatic soprano Maria Callas.
“I’ve been doing evenings of show songs, ballads and cabaret songs for a few years now,” Voigt said, “and these performances have met with great response from audiences and critics alike – which is wonderful because I really love doing them. A cabaret can be very much like an art song or lieder recital. The evening must be carefully constructed and have a theme that both the artist and audience can relate to. This makes it more personal, which is what this kind of intimate evening is all about. I love singing opera, but it is a very different kind of experience. [In an opera performance] I am up there on stage, hundreds of feet away from the audience, with a 100-piece orchestra between us. So I’ve always loved and appreciated these more intimate evenings of song, whether classical or popular.’
Nathan Gunn will also perform a concert accompanied by his wife, Julie Gunn, in the Alice Busch Opera Theater on August 12, 2011, at 3 p.m. Mr. Gunn made his Glimmerglass debut in Zambello’s production of Iphigenia in Tauris in 1997. He has appeared in internationally renowned opera houses such as the Met, San Francisco Opera, Seattle Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Paris Opera and Glyndebourne Opera. A frequent recitalist, Mr. Gunn has been presented in recital at Alice Tully Hall by both Lincoln Center's Art of the Song series and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and by Carnegie Hall in Zankel Hall. He and Julie recently performed at Manhattan’s legendary Cafe Carlyle.
"My summers at Glimmerglass were two of the most memorable and enjoyable I've ever spent,” Mr. Gunn said. “The beauty of the lake, eating ice cream downtown, and the perfect evenings at the opera brought everything I love about summer together in one small town. I can't wait to be back."
MEET ME AT THE PAVILION
New in 2011, The Glimmerglass Festival presents Meet Me at the Pavilion, a new series of special performances take place in the company’s Thaw Pavilion next to the Alice Busch Opera Theater. These performances are presented all summer and consist of performances by members of the Young Artists Program, Deborah Voigt, Rod Gilfry and acclaimed composer and composer-pianist John Musto with soprano Amy Burton. Musto’s playing is featured in chamber music, concertos, solo works and song recitals. Burton has frequently teamed with Musto for many performances, including concerts at the Kennedy Center and Lincoln Center.
BACKSTAGE TOURS, CHANGEOVERS AND Q&As
In addition to Meet Me at the Pavilion, audience members may continue to enjoy free previews 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 still offered every double-performance Saturday at 10 a.m. 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. In 2011, audience members are invited to remain in the theater after many performances for special Q&A sessions with the cast and creative teams.
This summer, The Glimmerglass Festival introduces ShowTalk, a series where visiting scholars and artists explore topics related to the 2011 Festival. Held on several Saturday mornings in July and August at various venues, each session is only $10 and $5 for youths. ShowTalk speakers include:
- Peter Bloom, professor of music at Smith College
- Arthur and Barbara Gelb, authors of O’Neill: Life with Monte Cristo (2002), a definitive life of the playwright
- Terrence McNally, award-winning playwright and librettist
- Gregory Nagy, Director of the Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies
- John Julius Norwich, historian, writer and television personality
- Marshall Pynkoski, Artistic Director, Opera Atelier in Toronto
- Composer Jeanine Tesori
- Carol Troyen, Curator Emerita of American Paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and a noted expert on the works of Edward Hopper
The 2011 Festival runs July 2 through August 23. Subscriptions and single tickets for the 2011 Festival are currently on sale. For more information on the 2011 Glimmerglass Festival and performance dates and times, visit www.glimmerglass.org or call the Box Office at (607) 547-2255.
Francesca Zambello officially assumed the role of Artistic & General Director September 1, 2010. The Glimmerglass Festival is a professional and non-profit organization that offers approximately 40 performances of four productions that run in rotation during July and August. Since its opening in 1987, the company’s Alice Busch Opera Theater has been home to more than 85 productions. For additional information, call (607) 547-2255 or visit www.glimmerglass.org.