The Glimmerglass Experience

The Glimmerglass Festival’s summer-long celebration of the arts features a full schedule of performances, events and discussions to round out your visit, whether you’re here for the day, weekend or summer. Throughout the Festival, there are opportunities to mix and mingle with friends, artists and fellow arts enthusiasts. The Festival is truly a one-of-a-kind summer destination. Join us, and see for yourself why there’s no place quite like Glimmerglass.


The Alice Busch Opera Theater is an integral part of the Glimmerglass experience. Its casual elegance, beautiful surroundings and excellent acoustics provide an intimate, one-of-a-kind operatic encounter.

Our 918-seat Alice Busch Opera Theater is nestled on the northern banks of Lake Otsego in Cooperstown, New York. Just a fifteen minute drive from the country’s baseball capital, the Theater also puts guests in the center of the action. All seats within the Theater are less than 70 feet from the stage, which is closer than the distance between two bases on a regulatory baseball diamond. This intimacy allows productions to use natural amplification instead of microphones for both operatic and musical theater productions. Our productions feature projected English text above the stage, which allow the audience to easily follow the story. The Theater’s design ensures that regardless of where your seats are, your experience will be a home run.

The theater’s unique sliding side walls allow the audience to enjoy fresh air prior to and during performances. Because of the theater’s open-air design, we encourage our visitors to dress for comfort in warm or cool weather. Outside, the estate’s rolling lawns invite you to stroll, picnic and relax in a place that’s dedicated to music and the arts.


The theater was built on farmland donated by the late Glimmerglass Board Chairman Emeritus Tom Goodyear and his mother Jeanette Bissell Goodyear and opened in 1987. Following the opening of the Metropolitan Opera facility in 1966, the theater was the first American hall designed specifically for opera in 21 years.


Designed by Hugh Hardy of Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates, with acoustics by Peter George, the theater features an intimate design with a single wrap-around balcony and box seats, and unique sliding side walls that can be opened prior to performances and during intermissions. In designing the Alice Busch Opera Theater, Hardy worked to evoke Central New York’s rural, agrarian architecture. The ceiling of the theater features a traditional Double Wedding Ring quilt pattern; there are other touches that integrate the theater with its surroundings, including its barn-like architecture.


Nestled between the Adirondack and Catskill mountains on Otsego Lake, the Glimmerglass estate provides the perfect destination for a summer getaway. Surrounded by rolling hills, beautiful parks and crystal-clear lakes, the unspoiled beauty of Central New York’s rural landscape provides what The Sunday Times of London has called “the most magical of settings.”

The grounds offer Glimmerglass visitors an ideal setting in which to enjoy an informal picnic with friends or a leisurely stroll along Otsego Lake. Gourmet picnics are available for our visitors, delivered fresh to the theater daily, and featuring the finest local ingredients.

In addition to the Alice Busch Opera Theater, the grounds include the Pavilion and the Preview Pavilion. The grounds and many picnic tables are made available to guests for picnicking before and after productions. Enjoy delicious made-to-order wraps and sandwiches or visit our wine bar to create a special picnic on our grounds.


Called “Glimmerglass” in James Fenimore Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales, Otsego Lake is a landmark of both natural beauty and culture. The source for the Susquehanna River, the pristine Otsego Lake provides various opportunities for recreation, including swimming, boating and fishing, The nine-mile-long lake is bounded by The Glimmerglass Festival campus and Glimmerglass State Park on the northern end and the village of Cooperstown on the southern end.