COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (May 30, 2019) – The Glimmerglass Festival has released the details of its 2019 schedule. Productions included this season explore themes of community, history and loss both at home and abroad.
Tony Award-winner Jeanine Tesori and Tazewell Thompson’s operatic collaboration Blue is set to have its world premiere at the Festival this season, presenting a narrative of fear, community and hope surrounding a contemporary African-American family. In addition to writing the libretto, Thompson returns to Glimmerglass to direct the production.
While Blue takes its place as the newest addition to the American canon, Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II’s Show Boat will also be performed in rotation at the Festival. Artistic & General Director Francesca Zambello’s staging of what is traditionally regarded as the first piece of American musical theater will feature choreography by Eric Sean Fogel, set design by Peter J. Davison and costume design by Paul Tazewell.
Verdi’s La traviata also receives a new staging by Zambello at the Festival, with Amanda Woodbury starring as the tragic Parisian courtesan Violetta Valéry. A new co-production of 2019 Artist in Residence John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles with Cháteau de Versailles Spectacles humorously pairs the ghost of Marie Antoinette with classic Beaumarchais characters like Figaro, Count Almaviva and Susanna in a comedic yet touching tale. Jay Lesenger directs the production and 2016 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions winner Yelena Dyachek portrays Marie Antoinette. At the Pavilion, Glimmerglass additionally crafts a new adaptation of The Queen of Spades featuring a combination of Pushkin’s original text with highlights from Tchaikovsky’s classic music adapted by Kelley Rourke and Nicolas Lell Benavides.
“What ties together all we do is our commitment to artistic citizenship,” Zambello said. “By producing exceptional cultural offerings that enlighten as well as entertain, we are able to build bridges between great art and the communities we serve.”
The 2019 Festival will also include the youth opera Britten’s Noah’s Flood, which draws upon a 15th– century retelling of the biblical tale. This opera will feature the Glimmerglass Festival Youth Chorus and members of the company’s Young Artists Program, the acclaimed apprenticeship for emerging artists.
Best-selling author Ta-Nehisi Coates, whose Between the World And Me won the National Book Award; Pulitzer Prize-winner Paul Muldoon and National Book Award finalist Dana Spiotta also join the company for literary conversations.
The season is completed with an event with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stars’ Night Out, principal artists of the 2019 Festival presenting varied musical programs and more as they showcase their full range of talents.
The 2019 Festival runs July 6 through August 24, 2019. All tickets are on sale now. For more information, visit www.glimmerglass.org.
The Glimmerglass Festival opens its 2019 season with a production of Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II’s Show Boat. Glimmerglass Artistic & General Director Francesca Zambello helms the production with co-director E. Loren Meeker, examining the relevancy of the nearly 100 year-old libretto in modern society.
Soprano Lauren Snouffer makes her Glimmerglass debut as the classic ingenue Magnolia Hawks aboard the Cotton Blossom. Snouffer’s recent engagements include performances with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Teatro Municipal de Santiago and Houston Grand Opera. Michael Adams accompanies Snouffer as her gambling love interest, Gaylord Ravenal. Adams recently sang the roles of Zurga in The Pearl FIshers at the Grand Teatre del Liceu and Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor with Knoxville Opera. Versatile artist Alyson Cambridge returns to the role of Julie La Verne, which she portrayed at Washington National Opera. Cambridge has performed on stages around the world, from the Metropolitan Opera to London’s Royal Albert Hall to Rocktopia on Broadway. Tony Award-nominee Lara Teeter appears as Cap’n Andy Hawks, with Klea Blackhurst as his wife Parthy Ann Hawks.
James Lowe returns to conduct his third show at Glimmerglass, following Oklahoma! and Camelot. Head of Stage Movement and Choreography Eric Sean Fogel returns to choreograph Show Boat after choreographing more than a dozen Glimmerglass productions and serving as associate director for West Side Story at Glimmerglass, with scenic designer Peter J. Davison also returning from the lauded production.
Performances will take place July 6 through August 24, 2019.
LA TRAVIATA (VERDI/PIAVE)
A new production of Giuseppe Verdi and Francesco Maria Piave’s La traviata comes to the Festival’s Alice Busch Opera Theater for the 2019 Glimmerglass season.
The work encompasses eternal themes of decadence, sacrifice and love through the lens of courtesan Violetta Valéry’s life of Parisian luxury.
Verdi’s beloved opera, featuring the classic Act I closing aria “Sempre libera” and touching duet “Parigi, o cara,” is reinvigorated through the imagination of Glimmerglass Artistic & General Director Francesca Zambello in this new co-production with Washington National Opera. Zambello returns to interpret La traviata after previously helming productions at various companies including Opera Australia and the Bolshoi Theatre.
“I believe this opera is musically and dramatically just about perfect. Every character we encounter sings music that is thrilling, dramatic and true to their soul,” Zambello noted.
Soprano Amanda Woodbury, praised in The New York Times for her “rich, expressive voice and noble phrasing,” returns to the role of Violetta after her previous engagement at Opera San Antonio. Former Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Kang Wang brings his “gleaming, Italianate tenor” (The Stage) in his portrayal of Violetta’s lover Alfredo. Baritone Adrian Timpau, another Lindemann Young Artist, debuts his depiction of Giorgio Germont.
Festival Music Director Joseph Colaneri returns to conduct the three-act opera following turns at the Festival’s podium for The Barber of Seville and The Cunning Little Vixen last season. Peter J. Davison creates a lavish set for the Parisian tale, accompanied by Jess Goldstein’s costumes and lighting design from Mark McCullough. The opera is presented in Italian with projected English titles.
La traviata is a co-production with Washington National Opera, The Atlanta Opera, Seattle Opera and Indiana University.
Performances run on select dates from July 7 to August 24.
THE GHOSTS OF VERSAILLES (CORIGLIANO/HOFFMAN)
2019 Artist in Residence John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles is set to make its debut at Glimmerglass this season.
Former General & Artistic Director of the Chautauqua Opera Company Jay Lesenger guest directs this opera, which draws inspiration from classic characters from Pierre Beaumarchais plays such as Figaro, Susanna and Count Almaviva. Beaumarchais crafts a new story using these characters to attempt to comfort the eponymous “ghost” of Marie Antoinette and save her from demise in an occasionally serious, often hilarious opera.
Soprano Yelena Dyachek makes her Glimmerglass debut as Marie Antoinette. One of the 2016 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Grand Prize winners, Dyachek travels to Glimmerglass after three seasons as a Studio Artist at Houston Grand Opera, portraying Musetta in La bohème and Berta in The Barber of Seville. Glimmerglass Young Artist Jonathan Bryan returns to Glimmerglass as Beaumarchais after appearing with the company as Lieutenant Gordon in Silent Night.
Joseph Colaneri conducts The Ghosts of Versailles. Regarded designer James Noone’s sets are paired with Nancy Leary’s costumes.
The Ghosts of Versailles is a co-production with Cháteau de Versailles Spectacles.
The Ghosts of Versailles will be sung in English and will run July 13 through August 23.
The world premiere of Blue at The Glimmerglass Festival combines the creative talents of Jeanine Tesori and Tazewell Thompson to create a narrative intersecting race, tragedy and community. In this opera, the hopes and fears of an African-American mother and father raising a son in contemporary America come to fruition, leaving a need for love and community amid tragedy.
This is Tesori’s second commission from the Festival following 2011’s A Blizzard On Marblehead Neck. While this is Thompson’s first libretto, his plays Mary T. & Lizzy K. and Constant Star have received recognition and acclaim, winning nine Barrymore Awards and five NAACP awards. Thompson most recently directed Xerxes and Cato in Utica at the Festival.
“The times are fraught,” Thompson said, “Lit by lightning and divisiveness. Love, family, friends and the church are there when we need them. And we need them now. We need a song to soothe our sorrows as we confront painful, personal truths. We need music in our lives and our children near to help us repair heartache; music to ultimately lift us and celebrate the bonds of sisterhood and brotherhood togetherness.”
Kenneth Kellogg portrays the Father central to Blue’s narrative. Recent engagements include portraying Father Palmer in Silent Night at Washington National Opera and Ashby in The Girl of the Golden West. Kellogg is set to continue this role in engagements at Washington National Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago
“I have been involved with [Blue] from the beginning,” Kellogg said, “and it came at a point in my life, as a Black Man in America, I was feeling like opera wasn’t doing enough to address issues we are facing as a culture. Blue is the first piece I’ve been a part of that I feel I can lend my authentic self to in telling a real story that reflects the lives of people that look like me. The subject matter actually mirrored things and conversations that were happening in my life at the time, being a new father and dealing with the real fear of raising a Black Boy in America.”
Former Glimmerglass Young Artist Briana Hunter returns to play the Mother. Hunter was last seen at the Festival as Annie in Porgy and Bess and recently played Mayme in the workshop production of Intimate Apparel with the Metropolitan Opera and Lincoln Center Theater. Young Artist Aaron Crouch makes his Glimmerglass debut as the Son.
Conductor John Demain returns to Glimmerglass after previously conducting Porgy and Bess and Lost in the Stars at the Festival. Donald Eastman’s set design is paired with costumes by Jessica Jahn and lighting by Robert Wierzel.
This co-production will travel to Washington National Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago in the 2019- 2020 season.
The production will run July 14 through August 22.