Glimmerglass Festival announces 2019 season

Published Aug 8, 2018 at 4:00pm

COOPERSTOWN — As The Glimmerglass Festival prepares to open its 2018 season, the opera and musical theater company has announced programming for 2019.

The 2019 Glimmerglass Festival will include main stage productions of Kern and Hammerstein’s “Show Boat,” Verdi and Piave’s “La traviata” and Corigliano and Hoffman’s “The Ghosts of Versailles.” The season will also include the world premiere of “Blue,” a new opera by Jeanine Tesori and Tazewell Thompson.

Additionally, the festival will present Tchaikovsky’s “The Queen of Spades,” in an adaptation combining the text from Pushkin’s short story with highlights from Tchaikovsky’s score. It will be presented with piano accompaniment in the pavilion. The festival will also present a new production of Benjamin Britten’s youth opera “Noah’s Flood.” The operatic adaptation of a 15th-century mystery play about Noah’s Ark will feature the Glimmerglass Youth Chorus performing alongside members of the company’s Young Artists Program with piano accompaniment.

The season will run July 6 through Aug. 24, 2019.

“Since 2011, Glimmerglass has focused on creating seasons intended to spark conversations about today’s world,” Artistic and General Director Francesca Zambello said. “In 2019, we offer works that span more than 100 years that offer opportunities to explore social issues.”

The 2019 Festival will open with “Show Boat,” directed by Francesca Zambello and E. Loren Meeker and conducted by James Lowe with choreography by Eric Sean Fogel. Revolutionary for its exploration of serious themes such as racism, it blends humanity and humor with well-known songs including “Ol’ Man River,” “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man” and “Make Believe.” The production is sponsored by Beth and Gary Glynn.

“La traviata” returns to the stage of the Alice Busch Opera Theater after 10 years in a new co-production with Washington National Opera directed by Francesca Zambello and conducted by Joseph Colaneri. The production is sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Dudley D. Johnson.

Jay Lesenger directs a new production of “The Ghosts of Versailles” in a co-production with Royal Opera of Versailles. In the comedic nod to “The Barber of Seville” and “The Marriage of Figaro,” the ghost of Marie Antoinette is upset about her untimely ending, so her favorite playwright, Beaumarchais, attempts to cheer her with a new work. He produces an opera within an opera starring Figaro, Count Almaviva and Susanna, who try to save the queen from her beheading. Joseph Colaneri conducts and Eric Sean Fogel choreographs. The production is sponsored by Elizabeth M. and Jean-Marie R. Eveillard.

The opera “Blue” offers an intimate look at the reality of an unimaginable loss. With a cast of 10, the opera focuses on a black family in Harlem: the father, a police officer; the mother, loving and fearful for her child; and their son, a politically active teenager.

“I approached Jeanine and Tazewell almost two years ago about writing an opera tackling the subject of race in America,” Zambello said. “The result will be a tender, beautiful production offering audience members the opportunity to reflect, question, and continue the conversation. ‘Blue’ brings the discussion on race to the forefront of modern opera.”

Thompson directs and John DeMain conducts the new opera. Fogel choreographs.

The Festival has received grants in support of this world premiere. The commissioning of Tesori received funding from OPERA America’s Opera Grants for Female Composers program, supported by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation. The development received major support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The production received funding from OPERA America’s Opera Fund, with additional support from The Amphion Foundation.

Breaking Glass, a series of national forums and a related podcast with “Blue” composer and librettist, Tesori and Thompson, is made possible by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (forums) and an OPERA America Innovation Grant, supported by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation (podcast).