Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with Paul Kellogg, who led Glimmerglass for nearly three decades. Paul moved to Cooperstown in 1975, the year the company staged its first performances in a local high school, and volunteered to source props; he was named executive director in 1979. Paul presided over the 1987 construction of the 914-seat Alice Busch Opera Theater, designed by Hugh Hardy, which signaled the company’s evolution from a community organization to a major international festival. By its seventh season in the new theater, Glimmerglass had established a two-month rotating repertory season of four new productions each summer. Paul’s tenure saw productions of rarities by composers ranging from Francesco Cavalli to John Philip Sousa, as well as innovative approaches to standard repertory.
During the 40-day period from the first rehearsal of 2015 to the season’s first opening night, we at Glimmerglass have been looking back at 40 years of opera in Otsego County. Today, the countdown brings us to 2005, a season that included Così fan tutte, Lucie di Lammermoor, Le Portrait de Manon/La Voix humaine and Death and Venice.
As I flipped through the program for 2005 (my 12th season!), I was struck by the number of wonderful artists I’ve seen grow with the company. In that season, Sandra Piques Eddy and Sarah Coburn, both former members of our Young Artists Program, stepped into leading roles (Dorabella and Lucie, respectively). The roster of Young Artists included several names that would return in later seasons, including Rachele Gilmore, who triumphed as Zerbinetta in 2014.
Paul remarked that the incredible growth of Glimmerglass has been largely due to the quality of artists who have been part of our productions. But at least some of the credit must go to the man whose extraordinary taste and leadership brought such artists to Cooperstown in the first place. For more of Paul’s reminiscences, we invite you to watch these excerpts from our conversation. (Video by Jacob McAuliffe.)