Grammy-nominated composer and celebrated author join forces for new production.

The Glimmerglass Festival’s highly anticipated 50th anniversary season in the summer of 2025 will include the world premiere of The House on Mango Street. The groundbreaking new opera is a collaboration between celebrated author Sandra Cisneros and three-time Grammy-nominated composer Derek Bermel.

Artistic & General Director Robert Ainsley will announce the complete 2025 season, featuring a diverse array of productions and special events, early this summer.

“The Glimmerglass Festival is renowned for its captivating, insightful, and innovative productions, and The House on Mango Street adds another significant chapter to our long-held tradition. We are thrilled to showcase this piece, which delves into the universal quest to define one’s voice and identity. This powerful production promises audiences an unforgettable experience that provides insight into the creative process and a delightful and engaging journey as we follow the story of a young artist on her path of self-realization,” said Ainsley.

Based on Cisneros’s iconic novel of the same name, the opera brings to life the captivating story of a young Mexican-American girl growing up in Chicago as she charts her path to adulthood, taking inspiration from her neighborhood and finding her voice as a writer. Written with exquisite clarity in unique poetic prose, Cisneros’s work has captivated readers around the globe and has become required reading in schools and universities across the United States. “My little House has found a home at Glimmerglass. I am effervescent with anticipation,” said Cisneros.

The new opera, Ainsley added, is an opportunity to welcome new audiences of all ages and backgrounds to the annual summer festival held each year on the banks of Otsego Lake. “We are continuing to reimagine what opera can be, and this thrilling new work will reflect our commitment to pushing the boundaries of opera while also telling a story that reflects America today.”

The score seamlessly blends genres and styles such as aria, recitative, salsa, merengue, rap, ballads, a cappella, and art-song, creating a truly unique and immersive musical experience.

Cisneros, a multi-talented artist, has garnered numerous accolades throughout her illustrious career. Her work, which delves into the lives of the working class, has earned her recognition as a poet, short story writer, novelist, essayist, performer, and artist. Cisneros’s contributions to literature have been celebrated with numerous prestigious honors, including a MacArthur Fellowship and a National Medal of Arts. In addition to her writing, Cisneros has dedicated herself to nurturing aspiring writers through the Macondo Foundation and the Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Foundation. For this project, Cisneros has beautifully adapted her novel, delivering a poetic and powerful libretto that explores themes of social class, race, sexuality, identity, and gender.

Bermel, known for his engagement with diverse musical cultures, has established himself as a prominent composer and clarinetist. His extensive collaborations with renowned artists such as Wynton Marsalis, Midori, Gustavo Dudamel, and Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) make for an uncommonly rich catalog. Bermel’s impressive list of commissions includes prestigious orchestras and ensembles worldwide, and his discography boasts several acclaimed albums. “Working with Sandra’s words is like sculpting gold. I’m honored to collaborate with her and with the talented team at Glimmerglass,” said Bermel.

Audiences can join in the creation of this new operatic venture at the 2024 Glimmerglass Festival. Led by conductor Jayce Ogren of the University of Michigan, two 2024 Project Pipeline workshops, generously sponsored by the Amphion Foundation and the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, will shape the piece. Soprano Mikaela Bennett, who audiences will remember as Maria from the 2022 Glimmerglass production of The Sound of Music, will lend her talents to both. The first is a private piano workshop in June 2024, followed by a public concert reading on August 12, 2024, where attendees can engage with the creators. The collaborative process concludes with an orchestral workshop on Thursday, October 17, 2024, at the University of Michigan’s historic Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor, culminating in the world premiere at The Glimmerglass Festival in the summer of 2025.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.