The Glimmerglass Festival
THE GLIMMERGLASS FESTIVAL TO RELEASE THE WORLD-PREMIERE OPERA AS FILM
The Knock premieres November 11
Cooperstown, N.Y. (November 4, 2021) — On Veteran’s Day, November 11 at 7 p.m. EST, The Glimmerglass Festival will release the world premiere film The Knock, a 50-minute opera composed by Aleksandra Vrebalov with a libretto by Deborah Brevoort. The film may be viewed for free on the company’s website, www.glimmerglass.org.
The Knock is part of Common Ground, the Festival’s multi-year initiative to feature new works that tell the stories of life in America. The initiative showcases a wide variety of creative voices, diverse approaches to storytelling, and offers insights into often untold American experiences.
The Knock was originally slated for a stage production during the 2020 season, but when the season had to be canceled due to the pandemic, the company pivoted. Ryan and Tonya McKinny were tapped to serve as Director of Photography and Line Producer. Alison Moritz, original director for The Knock, directed the work in this new format, and Lidiya Yankovskaya conducted recording sessions with the The Glimmerglass Festival Orchestra.
The Knock is a one-act opera that tells the story of a group of military wives awaiting news of their deployed husbands. ‘The Knock’ is the expression used by military spouses for a death notification. The libretto is based on years of interviews conducted by Brevoort with spouses of soldiers and takes the audience into the lives of America’s military spouses, a group not yet seen on the opera stage.
“When the creators first suggested this topic, I was immediately captivated by the idea,” said Francesca Zambello, Artistic & General Director of The Glimmerglass Festival. “So often we see works that take place on the battlefield, but when someone serves in the armed forces, the entire family — and the community, for that matter — is serving together. It is truly inspirational to see and try to understand the world from perspective — of the spouses who are serving in their own ways. We are proud to present this opera.”
Vrebalov’s close to 100 works range from concert music and opera to music for modern dance and film.
“The story is personal for me because I grew up in a family of WWII heroes,” Vrebalov said. “I grew up with a strong sense of pride from being from a family who gave their lives for their country. But at the same time, there was so much behind-the-scenes grief that marked the family. While writing The Knock, I wanted to share the public side of a hero’s sacrifice, but I also wanted to share the rawness of personal loss.”
Armando Contreras sings the role of Lt. Roberto Gonzalez, Mary-Hollis Hundley sings Joella “Jo” Jenner, and Mia Athey is Aishah McNair. Lisa Marie Rogali, Victoria Lawal and Stephanie Sanchez complete the cast.
The Knock is co-commissioned with Cincinnati Opera and was filmed on location this past summer in the Cooperstown area, highlighting local architecture and regional landscapes.
The film was made possible by the generous support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Howard and Sarah D. Solomon Foundation, Ted Snowdon and Duffy Violante, Thomas C. Ragan, Van Broughton Ramsey and Robert Nelson, and two contributors who wish to remain anonymous.
The Glimmerglass Festival is an opera and musical theater company, offering new productions every summer in Cooperstown, New York. The 2022 summer season features Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music, Bizet’s Carmen, the new work Tenor Overboard, weaving some of Rossini’s most spectacular music together in a new comic opera with a book by the famed playwright Ken Ludwig. Additionally the Festival presents the next installment of Common Ground, the Festival’s multi-year initiative of new, commissioned works, a double bill of Kamala Sankaram and Jerre Dye’s Taking Up Serpents, paired with the world premiere one-act Holy Ground, by Damien Geter and Lila Palmer. Visit www.glimmerglass.org for more information.