Francesca Zambello, Glimmerglass Opera’s incoming General & Artistic Director, has announced her plans for the Central New York company.

Beginning with the 2011 season, Glimmerglass Opera will become The Glimmerglass Festival.  The company will continue its tradition of four new fully staged productions, now to include three operas and one piece of American musical theater, performed as intended with full orchestra, large cast and no sound amplification. These four productions will be supplemented by special performances, cabarets, concerts, lectures and symposiums throughout the season.

“Our new name – The Glimmerglass Festival – reflects our new breadth of activities and spirit of adventure,” Zambello said. “My goal is to have a variety of offerings, so you can come to a concert or reading in the afternoon, have a picnic, go to the opera, and then stay afterward for a cabaret.”

In 2011, The Glimmerglass Festival will present new productions of Bizet’s Carmen, Berlin’s American classic Annie, Get Your Gun and Cherubini’s rarely performed Medea. Additionally, a double bill of two new operas about American artists will feature the world-premiere production of A Blizzard in Marblehead Neck, a Glimmerglass-commissioned work by award-winning composer Jeanine Tesori and librettist Tony Kushner, and the professional premiere of John Musto’s and Mark Campbell’s Later the Same Evening, an opera based on five Edward Hopper paintings. 

The Festival will run July 2 through August 23, 2011. The four main stage performances will perform in rotating repertory.  Ancillary activities will include concerts, cabarets, lectures, question-and-answer events and performances by members of the Young American Artists Program, the company’s apprentice program for young singers. In August, The Glimmerglass Festival will also feature a Symposium Series, where visiting lecturers will explore topics related to the 2011 productions.

Another new feature will be The Glimmerglass Festival Artist in Residence. A major international artist will be fully integrated into the life of the Festival, with a leading role in a main stage production and special solo performances throughout the summer. The artist will work closely with members of the Young American Artists Program. Casting and production teams for the 2011 Festival will be announced in late July.


Carmen (Bizet/Meilhac & Halévy, 1875)
July 2, 9, 11m, 15, 19m, 23, 25m, 31m; August 5, 8m, 11, 13m, 20, 23m

Medea (Cherubini/Hoffmann, 1797)
July 8, 10m, 23m, 28, 30m; August 1m, 6, 14m, 16m 

Annie, Get Your Gun (Berlin/Fields, 1946)
July 16, 18m, 22, 24m, 30; August 2m, 4, 6m, 9m, 12, 15m, 18, 20m, 21m

Double Bill:
world premiere: A Blizzard in Marblehead Neck (Tesori/Kushner, 2011)
professional premiere: Later the Same Evening (Musto/Campbell, 2007)
July 21, 26m, 29; August 7m, 13, 22m


Francesca Zambello officially assumes the role of General & Artistic Director commencing September 1, 2010. She succeeds Michael MacLeod, who held the position for five years. The company is a professional and non-profit organization that offers approximately 45 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. The 2010 Festival runs from July 9-August 24 and will feature four new productions: Puccini’s Tosca, Copland’s The Tender Land, Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro and the U.S. professionally staged premiere of Handel’s Tolomeo.  For additional information, call (607) 547-2255 or visit

5 Thoughts on “Glimmerglass Announces Plans for 2011”

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  1. To whom it may concern:

    It is extremely disappointing that Glimmerglass has decided to remove “Opera” from its name and also reduce the number of operas that will be produced each summer. It is a short-sighted act that will only exacerbate Glimmerglass’ problems by diluting its identity and alienating its core audience: opera-goers.

    Your decision means that Glimmerglass will go from 44 opera performances this summer to 28 next year. Consequently, there will be 16 fewer opportunities to see exciting productions of operas that often are performed nowhere else in the country. Throughout its short but distinguished history, Glimmerglass has tried to break ground by mounting new productions that have received national attention, sparking other opera companies to follow its lead. There will be 16 fewer times that will be happening next year.

    American musicals have their own proud tradition – but it is a tradition and a craft that is distinct from opera. It is also a tradition that is carried on in many more theaters and “festivals” across the country than opera. I am certain that attendance at “Annie, Get Your Gun” next year will be high – leading some at Glimmerglass to think that the decision to produce a musical annually is the way to go. But couldn’t a stronger and more aggressive marketing campaign also increase attendance? While next year’s double bill certainly looks adventurous, is another production of “Carmen” really needed? Again: I realize that Glimmerglass is on a see-saw, trying to balance artistic innovation with productions that will attract novices but I think that management is precariously pushing down too hard on one side, sacrificing artistic achievement for a small boost in revenue.

    In an era where an artistic medium is struggling to survive, the solution shouldn’t be amputation. Removing “opera” from Glimmerglass’ name and reducing the role of opera at Glimmerglass is an unwise move that only muddles your artistic mission.

    Bob Hardt

  2. I completely concur with Mr. Hardt’s comments. We have been attending Glimmerglass Opera for several seasons and regret these changes.

  3. I’ll admit – it will take some adjustment to think of Glimmerglass Opera as Glimmerglass Festival. However, the “Opera Crossing” sign on HWY 80 will still mark the crossroads of a company that pushes artistic limits while upholding tradition and that resurrects forgotten works while wondrously rediscovering the seemingly well-known.

    Look at Glimmerglass FESTIVAL’s 2011 season: 1 world premiere, 1 professional premiere, and 1 rarely performed French masterpiece. Seems like it is still the adventurous company we have all come to love. Yes, less numbers of performances, but in the challenging world of arts non-profits it is exciting to see Glimmerglass making plans to increase its education efforts to begin building a new and engaged audience, ensuring Glimmerglass’ future.

    Glimmerglass may have tweaked its name, but it hasn’t abandoned the qualities that make it one of our nation’s most charming, unique and irreplaceable summer music festivals.

  4. We have been attending Glimmerglass productions for nearly 30 seasons. Our main impetus for attendance continues to be the high quality of the productions, and the opportunity to see operas beyond the standard repertoire. The added bonus of being able to hear young American singers at the outset of their careers makes even the most over-done operas a rewarding experience. (It is amazing how many of these singers have gone on to important international careers).

    To be able to hear 2 new American operas — and — Cherubini’s dramatic masterpiece in one season is remarkable. It is a small price to pay, when you are asked to sit through what will probably be a great production of Carmen (horrors!) As for “Annie Get Your Gun”, if the alternative is an operatic pot-boiler that we can hear by driving 50 miles in either direction, we’ll take Annie every time.

    BTW, we are especially looking forward to seeing Tender Land and Tolomeo, with star counter-tenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, this season. Tosca and Figaro are so well cast, we can’t miss those either.

    Dan Carno and Kate McCaffrey

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