Glimmerglass Festival
News Release 

July 2, 2019

For Immediate Release:


COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — With The Glimmerglass Festival’s 2019 season approaching, the Cooperstown-based opera and musical theater company has announced programming for 2020, as well as the 2020 Festival’s pair of Artists in Residence.

The 2020 Glimmerglass Festival’s mainstage productions will include Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music, Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Wagner’s Die Feen (The Fairies) and Handel’s RinaldoSelections for the season serve as a survey for the development of these famed creators, with the slate featuring formative operas from Wagner and Handel, as well as masterworks from Mozart and Rodgers & Hammerstein.

The Festival will also feature the world premiere of the youth opera The Jungle Book by Kamala Sankaram and Kelley Rourke, as well as a brand new adaptation of Mozart’s Così fan tutte, directed by Eric Einhorn. A compact, contemporary take on Mozart’s opera, Così? will upend the classic battle of the sexes, exposing and examining all manner of gender stereotypes. Così? will be presented with piano accompaniment in the Pavilion.

“The Glimmerglass Festival celebrates the ideals of ‘artistic citizenship,’” Artistic & General Director Francesca Zambello said. “I believe the arts can help us forge new connections and serve as a catalyst for dialogue. For the past decade we have focused on casting our shows in a way that reflects America today — with talented performers of all backgrounds. And in 2020, we also look forward to continuing our tradition of empowering female voices, with women directing all four shows and conducting two.”

The Festival welcomes Grammy Award-winner Isabel Leonard and William Burden as Artists in Residence for the 2020 season. Both artists will star in The Sound of Music, as well as provide mentorship for the Young Artists Program.

The season will run July 11 through August 25, 2020.

THE SOUND OF MUSIC | Rodgers/Hammerstein II

The 2020 Festival will open with Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music in a new co-production with Houston Grand Opera directed by Francesca Zambello, associate directed and choreographed by Eric Sean Fogel and conducted by Music Director Joseph Colaneri.

The Sound of Music tells the classic story of Maria, a former novice-turned-governess for strict naval captain Georg von Trapp’s seven children. Maria imbues light into the lives of the von Trapp family through music, even as looming fears of a changing Europe sweep across the Swiss Alps. Classic tunes such as “Do Re Mi” and “Edelweiss” keep this story of love, music, and morality one of audiences’ favorite things more than 60 years after its debut.

Isabel Leonard and William Burden headline the production as Maria and Captain von Trapp, respectively. Leonard makes her Glimmerglass debut after turns at the Metropolitan Opera as Blanche in Dialogues of the Carmelites, Mélisande in Pelléas et Mélisande and as the title role in the world premiere of Nico Muhly’s Marnie. Leonard has also appeared as Rosina in The Barber of Seville at Washington National Opera and as the title role in La Cenerentola at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, among other engagements. Burden returns to Glimmerglass after serving as the 2017 Artist in Residence and appearing as Andrew Carnes in Oklahoma! and Justice Scalia in Scalia/Ginsburg. Newly appointed as a member of the voice faculty at The Juilliard School, Burden created leading roles in many major works of the 20th and 21st centuries, including An American TragedyHeart of a Soldier and Silent Night, among many others.

The productions runs July 11 through August 25.

DON GIOVANNI | Mozart/Da Ponte

Don Giovanni returns to the stage of the Alice Busch Opera Theater in a new co-production with Seattle Opera directed by Brenna Corner and conducted by Lidiya Yankovskaya, Music Director of the Chicago Opera Theater.

In this tale of retribution rather than revenge, womanizer Don Giovanni abuses all who cross his path, both the men he employs and the women he encounters. Mozart’s masterful score captures the story’s shifting moods — from comedy to passion, menace to tenderness. Da Ponte’s libretto shows how the antihero’s choices create a toxic atmosphere in which no one is safe.

“It’s not like only one woman is being affected,” Corner noted. “Every human on the stage, male or female, is an object of this man’s abuse — whether sexual, psychological or emotional.”

An alumna of Glimmerglass’ Young Artists Program, Corner’s collaborative efforts with the Festival continue after serving as the director of Scalia/Ginsburg and the youth operas The Odyssey and Noah’s Flood. Currently, Corner serves as the artistic director of the Fraser Lyric Opera and the Manitoba Underground Opera in Winnipeg, Canada.

Yankovskaya is particularly excited for her Glimmerglass debut, as after emigrating from Russia as a child, she attended high school just 45 minutes from the Festival’s Cooperstown campus. Now, Yankovskaya is the Music Director at the Chicago Opera Theater, and is the only woman to hold that title in a multimillion-dollar opera company in the United States. She also founded the Refugee Orchestra Project, which promotes the cultural and societal relevance of refugees through music.

“As women’s rights continue to evolve, I’m particularly interested to see what perspectives our all-female team will bring to this story of a sexual predator and his victims,” Yankovskaya said.

The production runs July 17 to August 24, 2020.

RINALDO | Handel/Rossi 

Louisa Proske directs and Erina Yashima conducts a new production of Handel’s Rinaldo. The Festival is known for its interpretations of Baroque operas. Rinaldo will be the ninth Handel opera presented in the company’s 45-year history.

In the story, warriors and sorcerers greet Rinaldo as he enters a fantastical world where he faces conflict, victory and personal transformation. Highlights from Rinaldo’s score include “Bel piacere” and “Lascia ch’io pianga,” one of Handel’s most well-known arias.

Proske is a co-founding Artistic Director of Heartbeat Opera in New York City, and earned a 2018 Princess Grace Foundation Award for her work with the company. In the 2019-2020 season, Proske directs Don Giovanni with Chamber Music Northwest and collaborates with the Metropolitan Museum, New York Philharmonic and Juilliard Opera on The Mother of Us All.

“I find a beautiful naiveté, intensity and strangeness in this opera — like in a fairy tale,” Proske said. “For me, it is less a political or historical commentary than a childlike, mythical exploration of a hero’s quest into the unknown – fighting for something he feverishly believes in and is ready to die for, braving a territory that is dreamlike, often nightmarish.”

Yashima was recently appointed as an assistant conductor for the Philadelphia Orchestra following a three-year apprenticeship at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

“Over the past few decades, Baroque operas have become more and more popular and that is a great asset for audience and musicians alike,” Yashima said. “It is fascinating how Handel’s music is still able to evoke the whole range of human emotions in us today as it did three hundred years ago. ”

The production runs July 12 through August 18, 2020.


Wagner’s rarely performed Die Feen rounds out the season’s mainstage roster in a new production directed by Francesca Zambello and conducted by Joseph ColaneriDie Feen is generously sponsored by Elizabeth M. and Jean-Marie R. Eveillard.

An otherworldly romance full of fairies, demons and princes, Die Feen brings fantasy and whimsy to the stage. Despite all odds, a mortal prince and a high-ranking fairy begin a romance that causes chaos and suspicion across their different worlds. The score and libretto elucidates the promise of Wagner’s future compositions, showing signs of what would later become his signature sound.

“The seeds of the many great operas to come are sowed in this work,” Colaneri said. “In it we hear Wagner’s Italian bel canto based melodic exuberance and his pioneering development of the dramatic lyric voices that form the central core of his operatic style. The opera is at once personal in its expressive solo vocal passages and flamboyant in its many stirring and soaring ensembles.”

The production runs July 16 through August 21, 2020.

THE JUNGLE BOOK | Sankaram/Rourke

While audiences may be familiar with the beloved story of an endangered human cub who seeks refuge with a pack of wolves, Kamala Sankaram and Kelley Rourke’s retelling of The Jungle Book casts a girl in the central role of Mowgli, alongside the lovable Baloo and menacing Shere Khan. The Jungle Book will feature the Glimmerglass Youth Chorus, joined by members of the company’s Young Artists Program, with piano accompaniment.

“Classical music in India, like European classical music, has a very rich tradition, its major forms dating back to the 16th century,” Sankaram said. “Indian classical ragas (akin to modes) serve as the building block of a piece and also convey specific moods, such as happiness, devotion, and sorrow. It is my hope that borrowing equally from the traditions of Indian and European classical music will not only serve to create a sense of place within the opera, but will leave our young artists with a greater sense of the world and the commonalities shared between cultures.”

Casting, events, concerts and guest appearances for 2020 will be announced in the coming months. For more information, visit

Subscriptions can be renewed for the 2020 season beginning July 14.


To view the 2020 calendar, click here.

6 Thoughts on “The Glimmerglass Festival Announces 2020 Season”

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  1. In planning for the 2020 season we want to avoid the Hall of Fame weekend and would like to know which weekends are “Get Away” weekends.

  2. Is there an error in the schedule displayed above for Sunday, August 16? According to the display, Don Giovanni will be performed on two consecutive afternoons, and there would be no performance of Rinaldo that weekend. Is it possible that someone meant to say that Rinaldo would be performed on Sunday afternoon, and posted Don Giovanni instead?

  3. The 2020 season appears to be breaking with a “tradition”. For as long as I can remember, Glimmerglass has included a contemporary opera, one from the 20th if not the 21st century, in its calendar. Where’s the Britten, the Shostakovich, the Poulenc, etc., etc., not to mention something new, as is the case this year?

  4. Please consider a musical event during the 2020 season celebrating the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment enfranchising women, now formally celebrated annually on August 26 (by Congressional Resolution introduced by Bella Abzug). I remember the awesome production of “The Mother of Us All” that Glimmerglass produced in 1998. While it may not be possible to repeat that wonderful production, other creative works on the topic of achieving the suffrage would be possible. In June, I was privileged to hear Elaine Weiss, author “The Woman’s Hour,” at the League of Women Voters of NYS convention. Ms. Weiss gave a briefer version of the story of the final fight toward suffrage. It would be very appropriate for Glimmerglass to recognize this historic event in August 2020.

  5. I used to take my mother to Glimmerglass every summer, but have slacked off in the last few years This year I want to take my son & my boyfriend.

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