Glimmerglass Festival 2024 - Identity & Illusion

The Glimmerglass Festival has announced programming for the 2024 season, running July 22 through August 20, 2024. The Festival invites guests to immerse themselves in myth, mystery, and adventure as the repertory for the 2024 season explores the connection between identity and illusion. 

The 2024 Glimmerglass Festival’s mainstage productions will include Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance, Cavalli’s La Calisto, Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, and Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell’s Elizabeth Cree. Whether through comedy, tragedy, absurdity, or mystery, each work probes the dynamic between authenticity and artifice, leading to questions about the true nature of self and the masks worn to align with societal expectations or personal desires.

The Festival will also feature the world premiere of the youth opera Rumpelstiltskin and the Unlovable Children by Jens Ibsen and Cecelia Raker and an exciting new works initiative called Project Pipeline. Curated by Artistic & General Director Rob Ainsley, Project Pipeline will give voice to rising artists while giving patrons an inside glimpse at the creative process.

Ainsley had this to say about the 2024 season:

“As I thought about the 2024 season, I reflected on the power of theater—on how it creates a window into the lives of others, acts as a mirror for ourselves, and offers an escape from our daily routines. The season intentionally blurs the lines between real and make-believe, exploring the fragile and elusive nature of our identities. With the upcoming fiftieth anniversary of the company in 2025, our 2024 season offers us an opportunity along the way to reflect on our own identity as a company. We will explore new ways to incorporate our beautiful campus into the Glimmerglass experience, give our audiences a glimpse into the creative process itself, and continue to partner with our ever-supportive community. A visit to Glimmerglass has always been about so much more than just a show—it’s a chance to connect with others in stunning surroundings, to interact with artists from around the globe, and to experience pieces you may have never seen before. Come and be part of the family!” 

Glimmerglass welcomes international star Tara Erraught as Artist-in-Residence for the 2024 season. The mezzo-soprano, extolled by The New York Times as having “a beautifully formed mezzo-soprano voice” and by The Independent of Ireland for her “high wattage charisma,” will star in Elizabeth Cree, as well as provide mentorship for the Young Artists Program.

THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE | Gilbert & Sullivan

The 2024 Festival will open with Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance in a vibrant production directed by renowned choreographer Seán Curran and conducted by Music Director Joseph Colaneri, featuring set and costume designs by James Schuette and lighting by Robert Wierzel.

A Gilbert & Sullivan classic, combining soaring vocal lines and slapstick comedy, returns to Glimmerglass for the first time in nearly 20 years. This colorful, family-friendly production features elegant Victorian ladies and an aristocratic band of pirates stuck in perpetual adolescence. Curran’s hit production from Opera Theatre of Saint Louis kicks it up a notch at Glimmerglass with the addition of a corps of professional dancers.

10 performances | July 22m, 27, 30m; August 1, 4m, 9, 13m, 15, 17m, 19m


LA CALISTO | Cavalli/Faustini

Opening next is Cavalli’s La Calisto, featuring Artistic & General Director Rob Ainsley’s 2013 realization of the score, expanding Cavalli’s continuo and strings with original parts for winds and brass. 

Comedy and pathos, gods and mortals, and a few rutting satyrs for good measure—this sparkling early opera, which weaves together two myths of transformation, has it all. Written at the midpoint of Cavalli’s career, La Calisto was conceived to deliver maximum entertainment to its discerning Venetian public, resulting in a hilarious caper full of mistaken identities, raunchy trysts, and celestial magic. This bold take will be conducted by Ainsley, directed by Mo Zhou, and choreographed by Eric Sean Fogel.

6 Performances | July 23m, 26; August 3m, 5m, 11m, 17


PAGLIACCI  | Leoncavallo

When passions ignite among a troupe of traveling players, the offstage drama spills into the performance in this new production of Pagliacci. Ruggero Leoncavallo’s comedy/thriller, inspired by a true crime report, contains two complete and overlapping stories in one compact work: a farce performed by a troupe of “pagliacci,” or clowns, and an all-too-real drama of jealous love. Directed by Brenna Corner and conducted by Joseph Colaneri, with set designs by James F. Rotondo III, costumes by Erik Teague, and lighting by Robert Wierzel, our new production of this beloved opera adds a third frame, placing the opera within our immersive Festival, complete with a pre-opera picnic performance on our outdoor stage. What is real, and what is show? 

7 Performances | July 27m, 29m; August 2, 6m, 8, 10, 18m 


ELIZABETH CREE | Puts/Campbell

Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell’s modern masterpiece Elizabeth Cree rounds out the season’s mainstage roster in a new production directed by Alison Moritz and starring 2024 Artist-in-Residence Tara Erraught.

Set in London in the 1880s, this highly suspenseful and theatrical opera interweaves several narratives: the trial of the titular heroine for the poisoning of her husband; a series of brutal murders committed by a Jack the Ripper-style killer; the spirited world of an English music hall; and, finally, some “guest appearances” by luminaries from the Victorian Age. Elizabeth Cree is a work that combines the factual with the fictive and the historical with the imaginary. Initially written for a small chamber ensemble, Elizabeth Cree will be performed with an expanded string complement at Glimmerglass.

6 Performances | July 28m; Aug 3, 10m, 12m, 16, 20m


In addition to the four mainstage productions, Glimmerglass will also feature the world premiere of the youth opera Rumpelstiltskin and the Unlovable Children by Jens Ibsen and Cecelia Raker, showing August 6, 8, and 11. With a modern take on the fairytale classic exploring how chosen family can help us reach even our most unconventional dreams, this one-hour piece continues a proud Glimmerglass tradition of commissioning pieces written for children to take center stage. And, with Project Pipeline, Artistic & General Director Rob Ainsley brings his passion for mentoring the future of opera to the Festival in Glimmerglass fashion. Audiences will be invited to witness the creative process of emerging artists as they share their works-in-progress in intimate workshop-style performances.

Complete artistic teams, casting, events, concerts, and guest appearances for 2024 will be announced in the coming months. All dates are subject to change. For more information, visit

Subscriptions can be renewed for the 2024 season beginning July 19, 2023. New subscriptions go on sale Oct 2, 2023, and single tickets will be available on January 22, 2024.

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