2019 Glimmerglass Festival Annual Report

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R E P O R T E 0 1 9


OFFICERS Robert Nelson, CHAIRMAN Wendy Curtis, PRESIDENT Edward L . Turner, VICE-CHAIRMAN Jean Stark, VICE-PRESIDENT Mark Villamar, TREASURER Erna Morgan McReynolds, SECRETARY


James Barton Patricia Chadwick Nellie Gipson Sherwin M. Goldman Mrs. John R. Hupper Gregory Long James C. Miles Thomas C. Ragan Elisabeth A . Sapery Robert B. Schlather Michael Sekus Martin Senzel Senator James L . Seward Thomas Simpson Claudia Slacik Ted Snowdon Kara Unterberg Michael Young


William Goodenough1 Mary Margaret Kuhn2 Sage Mehta1 Eric Owens3


John ^ and Wendy Curtis Elizabeth M. and Jean-Marie R. Eveillard Andrea K. Fallek ^ Allen R. and Judy Brick Freedman Faith E. Gay and Francesca Zambello Sherwin M. Goldman Mrs. John H.J. Guth ^ Alfred F. Hubay ^ Dudley D. and Carole H. Johnson Patricia Kavanagh and James Grant Lady Juliet and Dr. Christopher Tadgell Eugene V. ^ and Clare E. Thaw ^ Young Glimmerglass Representative; Guild President; 3Chairman, Artistic Advisory Board 1


^ deceased


Francesca Zambello


Joseph Colaneri



Bill Burden Amy Burton Joyce Castle Beth Clayton Sarah Coburn Anthony Roth Costanzo Dwayne Croft Michelle DeYoung Rod Gilfry Christine Goerke Anthony Dean Griffey Julie Gunn Nathan Gunn Joe Kaiser Michael Kaiser Peter Kazaras Mark Lamos David Lang Ryan McKinny Melody Moore Eric Owens, CHAIRMAN Tobias Picker Patricia Racette Talise Trevigne Deborah Voigt Joseph Volpe



Beekman C. Cannon ^ Ferdinand Ermlich ^ Thomas Goodyear ^ Louis Busch Hager ^ Mrs. Louis C. Jones ^ Dr. Peter Macris ^ Mary-Jo Merk Mrs. James M. Symington ^


2019 AT A GLANCE From the Palace of Versailles and the salons of Paris, to a show boat on the Mississippi River and a close-knit community in present-day Harlem, the 2019 Festival season sparked conversations about issues and ideas that affect us all. John Corigliano’s 20th-century “grand opera buffa,” The Ghosts of Versailles, and Verdi’s timeless La traviata examine the restrictions of societal norms and the clashing of classes. We returned to America’s Broadway musical roots with Jerome Kern’s ground-breaking Show Boat, which revolves around the tragic consequences of miscegenation laws. Blue, a Glimmerglasscommissioned world premiere, by composer Jeanine Tesori and librettist Tazewell Thompson, told the story of an African-American family grappling with the effects of racism in their lives and community. It garnered 5 stars in the Financial Times and was described in the Wall Street Journal as “a remarkably original opera that explores deeply personal emotional truths and gives them universal resonance.” Show Boat and Blue were written more than 90 years apart, yet both tackle racial issues that speak deeply to today’s audiences. This year, progress was made on a new roof for the Alice Busch Opera Theater. We welcomed our first Artist in Residence composer, John Corigliano, and our first Young Artist composer. Our literary series was expanded to include three talks by award-winning authors, among them, Ta-Nehisi Coates, whose National Book Award-winning novel, Between the World and Me, was one of the inspirations for Blue. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s always popular concert-withcommentary showcased members of the Festival’s Young Artists Program and illuminated legal issues represented in the selected arias. The youth opera, Benjamin Britten’s Noah’s Flood, and a new adaptation of Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades further solidified Festival-goers’ interest in one-act offerings. Artists and staff returned to Attica Correctional Facility for the fifth year — this time with a performance of scenes from Show Boat with the participation of the Glimmerglasstrained Attica Men’s Chorus singing “Ol’ Man River.” Our professional education programs provided opportunities for 54 Young Artists and 65 summer interns to gain important skills, while helping to anchor operations and contributing to the vitality of the Festival.


Audiences were given 118 opportunities to experience programs: •

41 performances of Kern & Hammerstein’s Show Boat, Verdi’s La traviata, Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles, and the world premiere of Tesori & Thompson’s Blue

41 free previews before mainstage performances

4 performances of Benjamin Britten’s Noah’s Flood, this season’s opera for youth

3 performances of a new adaptation of Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades

3 ShowTalks with esteemed talent: composer and 2019 Artist in Residence John Corigliano with Glimmerglass Music Director Joseph Colaneri; President and Chief Creative Officer of Rodgers and Hammerstein Ted Chapin; Director of the Clark Art Institute Olivier Meslay

2 singular mainstage events with distinguished guests: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with members of the Young Artists Program; bestselling author Ta-Nehisi Coates

2 literary conversations with regionally-connected authors: National Book Award finalist Dana Spiotta and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon

1 Springfield Appreciation Concert

4 second stage events: 2 gospel concerts; “Stars’ Night Out” musical revue; Klea Blackhurst’s one-woman tribute to Ethel Merman, “Everything the Traffic Will Allow”

1 musical preview of the 2020 season

4 weekly concerts in August at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

4 Q&As with artists following performances

4 production “changeover” talks

4 free backstage tours

plus our Attica Correctional Facility initiative and community engagement programs

In 2019, 34,273 Festival tickets were sold, positively impacting the economic vitality and cultural enrichment of the community and region. •

70% of the audience visited from New York State — 50% of these New Yorkers came from within a two-hour radius of Cooperstown — 11% of them traveled from New York City

26.5% visited from across the country

3.5% visited from 11 foreign countries (Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Norway, South Africa, Switzerland, United Kingdom)


Talking Shop The Festival is renowned for its original productions of four mainstage shows, an annual youth opera, and a one-act offering in the Pavilion. All of these productions are designed for and built by Glimmerglass. As audiences are sitting in the Alice Busch Opera Theater enjoying performances, our crew is in the scene shop, already working on the following year’s shows. When the final curtain comes down, 10 artisans remain on campus throughout the fall, winter and spring months, continuing to build the productions for the upcoming season. When the theater complex was opened in 1987, heating and air conditioning were not included because the upper Catskills were known for their comfortable summers, and Festival leadership did not envision the scope of set building that would eventually evolve. Thanks to generous gifts from Dudley and Carole Johnson beginning in 2013, the company was able to build production offices and fully climatize its scene shop, making it possible to build shows year-round. Many of our carpenters and painters began as apprentices, such as Sasha Glinski (opposite page, top), who joined the company in 2014 as a scenic artist intern. For the 2019 season, Sasha painted five full-stage drops, and has been at work since the summer rendering scenic designer Adrianne Lobel’s beautiful landscape paintings for 2020’s Die Feen. The experience Glimmerglass affords these artisans is unique; the carpenters and painters are able to work closely with the shows’ designers to ensure the scenery being built is exactly what was envisioned.

“ We get a better level of quality because there is no telephone game involved. Our designers can speak directly to the carpenter or painter who is responsible for

realizing their designs. 6

— Abby Rodd, Director of Production



Glimmerglass artisans build the costumes and wigs in the costume shop and wardrobe house. Each May, designers begin working with shop staff to purchase fabrics, draft patterns and start the costumes. Crafts artisans specialize in unique aspects of costuming, such as dyeing, painting and distressing fabric; assembling accessories like masks, fans and belts; and constructing hairpieces and headdresses. In-season hair and makeup artisans finish the performers’ transformations into their roles by building the wigs (restyled after each performance) and applying stage makeup.

This season’s productions, which included several large ensembles, included 414 costumes and 84 wigs. With an increasing number of Glimmerglass shows conceived as co-productions — a contracted arrangement in which sets and costumes are shared by a number of opera companies — the designs must be engineered and constructed in ways conducive to travel, and must be able to fit in partner organizations’ theaters. As examples, our production of La traviata was built at Glimmerglass during the summer of 2018 and then seen at Washington National Opera that fall, before returning to Cooperstown for the 2019 Festival. The Ghosts of Versailles traveled to the Château de Versailles Spectacles for performances in December.

In 2019, six of our home-built productions traveled to 11 cities across the United States:

CARMEN Kentucky Opera (Louisville, KY)

THE CUNNING LITTLE VIXEN Boston University (Boston, MA)


“ Now that our shows are going

to places like Houston and Lyric

The Atlanta Opera (Atlanta, GA)

Opera of Chicago, we’re able to send

Minnesota Opera (Minneapolis, MN)

Glimmerglass staff to help load the sets

Washington National Opera (Washington, DC)

they built into those grand theaters.


There’s such a sense of pride. They can

Cincinnati Opera (Cincinnati, OH)

say, ‘I know where every single bolt

Fort Worth Opera (Fort Worth, TX)

hole is in that wall, because I built it.

SILENT NIGHT Austin Opera (Austin, TX)


— Ross Rundell, Technical Director

Washington National Opera (Washington, DC)

WEST SIDE STORY The Atlanta Opera (Atlanta, GA) Houston Grand Opera (Houston, TX) Lyric Opera of Chicago (Chicago, IL) Lyric Opera of Kansas City (Kansas City, MO)


SHOW BOAT | Music by Jerome Kern Libretto by Oscar Hammerstein II “ The Glimmerglass Festival…has created a production of Show Boat that not only honors the historical importance of the show, it has spectacularly succeeded in putting together an electrifying, soul-searing work of art that is remarkably satisfying on so many levels.”


— Berkshire on Stage

This production was generously sponsored by a patron who wishes to remain anonymous.


Show Boat delighted audiences with an impressive roster of star performers. Lauren Snouffer, an alumna of the Young Artists Program, and Michael Adams, who will return next season as Don Giovanni, were the romantic leads, Magnolia Hawks and Gaylord Ravenal. Musical theater veterans Lara Teeter and Klea Blackhurst played the comedic duo Cap’n Andy and Parthy Ann Hawks. Judith Skinner’s dynamic stage presence as Queenie balanced beautifully with Justin Hopkins’s Joe, whose “Ol’ Man River” received resounding applause each performance. Acclaimed soprano Alyson Cambridge was heart-wrenching as the ill-fated Julie La Verne. The 2019 musical theater Young Artists ensemble were tasked with learning dance styles spanning Show Boat’s 40-year-long story. These “triple threat” performers — equally talented in singing, dancing and acting — earned high praise from reviewers:

“ Eric Sean Fogel’s snappy choreography — especially the Charleston number at the end — showed off Glimmerglass’s terrific cadre of musical-theater dancers.” — Wall Street Journal



Audiences were wowed by the colorful costumes and grand sets, particularly the show boat itself. The Cotton Blossom, like all of our scenery, was built at Glimmerglass, and its design enabled it to be configured in a multitude of ways, adapting to the action on stage and accommodating the performers on board. The boat was not the only impressively large aspect of the production; Show Boat had an extraordinary 166 costumes, designed by Paul Tazewell for the 36 cast members.

Building the boat. Historically significant as both the first American musical and the first Broadway show with an integrated cast, Show Boat remains relevant because of its candid look at racism in America. In the context of the season, the production was additionally powerful juxtaposed with Blue. “It was a daring move to present an integrated cast on a Broadway stage in 1927. In the festival at hand, Show Boat also contrasted memorably with Blue, another opera on the schedule that dealt powerfully with the issue of race in America. It is sobering to note how some things have not changed much since Show Boat’s premiere.” — Opera Today



LA TRAVIATA |Music by Giuseppe Verdi Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave “ From the first haunting, glistening sound of the orchestral strings to the ponderous final strokes in the score that echoed the dying heartbeats of a doomed heroine, Glimmerglass Festival’s superior La traviata was an indelible achievement.” 16

— Opera Today

This production was generously sponsored by Chris and Bruce Crawford, and Ann Ziff. A co-production of Washington National Opera, The Atlanta Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival, Seattle Opera and Indiana University.


Lavish and larger-than-life, Glimmerglass’ new production of Verdi’s beloved opera captivated audiences from the orchestra’s first notes. Director Francesca Zambello refreshed this evergreen classic with a staged overture, set in the hospital where Violetta is struggling through her final hours. The tragic story unfolded as memories told through her eyes, as reflected in the show curtain’s striking design, finally returning to the sanatorium for the toolate, heart-wrenching reunion of the star-crossed lovers. The production was a visual feast, with vibrant costumes, a grand ballroom and party scenes complete with gypsy dancers. The staging involved several extensive scene changes that had to be executed with precision and speed. Clever engineering was required to accomplish this. Designer Peter J. Davison conceived three-sided columns, called periaktoi, which rotated to create entirely new settings, whisking audiences from Violetta’s infirmary bed to Flora’s festive salon and the French countryside. Adding to the atmosphere in the country were special cameos by Blue the dog and Peggy the chicken.




In their Glimmerglass debuts, soprano Amanda Woodbury (Violetta) and tenor Kang Wang (Alfredo) brought exquisite singing that fully personified their characters’ hapless circumstances. Adrian Timpau, a former Young Artist, returned as a principal in the role of Giorgio Germont. His powerful performance complemented Woodbury’s impeccable Violetta and Wang’s stirring Alfredo, resulting in the beautiful trio at the end of Act III. “Amanda Woodbury was a touching Violetta; Adrian Timpau a nicely pompous Germont; and Kang Wang… [brought] tenorial brightness and youthful ardor to Alfredo.” — Wall Street Journal


THE GHOSTS OF VERSAILLES Music by John Corigliano Libretto by William M. Hoffman “ The production is dazzling, a treat for both eyes and ears…[It] shines with wonderful singing, beautiful staging, and lots of good spirits.” — Ithaca Times

This production was generously sponsored by Elizabeth M. and Jean-Marie R. Eveillard. A co-production of The Glimmerglass Festival and Château de Versailles Spectacles.




2019 Artist in Residence, composer John Corigliano, worked closely with the cast of The Ghosts of Versailles as they brought his 1991 opera — and the ghosts of the French Revolution — to life. In her Glimmerglass debut, soprano Yelena Dyachek was touching in her portrayal of Marie Antoinette. “ With her luminous soprano, Dyachek sounded every bit a queen, but also touchingly human as she became reconciled to her fate.” — Seen and Heard International

The remaining 31 roles were impressively performed by members of the Young Artists Program. Jonathan Bryan, a returning Young Artist, was a convincingly lovesick but confident Beaumarchais. Tenor Christian Sanders was an audience favorite as the scheming Bégearss, earning wild applause for his “Aria of the Worm.” The ensemble energetically embraced the story’s humor, chaos, and political turmoil. The ghost of playwright Beaumarchais attempts to ease Marie Antoinette’s melancholy with a staging of his new play. This “opera-within-an-opera,” based on beloved and recognizable characters from Mozart and Rossini, brought literal and figurative color to the stage. Baritone Ben Schaefer’s Figaro hardly rested through the story’s hilarious hijinks. Mezzo-soprano Kayla Siembieda was steadfast both vocally and dramatically as Susanna. Second year Young Artists mezzo-soprano Katherine Maysek (Cherubino) and soprano Joanna Latini (Rosina) soothed audiences with their tender story of forbidden love. The riotous party at the Turkish Embassy sparkled with mezzo-soprano Gretchen Krupp’s performance as Samira.


A visually stunning production, The Ghosts of Versailles, like La traviata, showcased the fine craftsmanship of our scene shop artists. Iridescent paneling, hand-painted scrims, and vibrant backdrops helped distinguish the world of the ghosts and the world of the internal opera. Audiences were particularly impressed by the “string drop” curtain and were delighted to learn it was a handpainted image, not a projection. Scenic charge artist Stephanie Nimick led the team in researching, experimenting with and executing the unique design technique. The curtain was comprised of individuallypainted strings that had to be adhered to the shop floor using double-stick tape in order to prevent the strips of fabric from moving while being painted. Like many productions at Glimmerglass, the backdrop to the singing was larger than life. For Ghosts, that world was “ethereal and marvelously inventive. The multiple scrims, the seamless changing of the many sets, the use of silhouette, the clarity of the lighting, the chandeliers, the over-the-topness tickled and amazed—all created by set designer James Noone and lighting designer Robert Wierzel.” — The Daily Gazette (Schenectady, NY)

In addition to beautiful scenery, the talented drapers, stitches and artisans in the costume shop built 84 stunning costumes for Ghosts. The company was honored to bring this production to the Château de Versailles Spectacles for performances in December, as part of the 250th anniversary of the Versailles Royal Opera.



BLUE | Music by Jeanine Tesori Libretto by Tazewell Thompson

THE NEW YORK TIMES BEST CLASSICAL MUSIC OF 2019 list included BLUE “ The composer Jeanine Tesori, best known for her Tony Award-winning musical ‘Fun

Home,’ and the librettist-director Tazewell Thompson tell the story of a striving black family in Harlem with a rebellious teenage son who’s incensed over police intimidation of young black men. In a twist, the devoted but flummoxed father is a police officer. Ms. Tesori’s strong yet subtle score is combined with Mr. Thompson’s grimly elegant and snappy words — one of the best librettos I’ve heard in a long while.” — Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times


The development of Blue received major support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The commissioning of Jeanine Tesori for Blue was made possible in part by OPERA America’s Opera Grants for Female Composers program, supported by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation. The production of Blue received funding from OPERA America’s Opera Fund, Betsy and Ed Cohen, Eugene and Jean Stark, Jacqueline B. Mars, and with additional support from The Aaron Copland Fund for Music and The Amphion Foundation. Blue was supported by New Music USA , made possible by annual program support and/or endowment gifts from Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Helen F. Whitaker Fund, Aaron Copland Fund for Music, New York State Council on the Arts, Rockefeller Brothers Fund & Anonymous. Scenery and costumes for Blue are co-produced by The Glimmerglass Festival, Washington National Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago.


In 2015, Artistic & General Director Francesca Zambello reached out to composer Jeanine Tesori and librettist Tazewell Thompson with a commissioning offer to write an opera with the overarching subject of “race in America.” The result was an intimate story about family and community. Blue takes audiences into the emotional epicenter of a black couple who experience the joy of bringing a baby boy into the world, only to lose him 16 years later when he is killed by a white police officer. “ With Blue, I return to not what I know, but what I feel…What I feel is a necessary yarn to spin at this critical moment in our country where all lives matter, in general; where black lives matter, in particular.” — Tazewell Thompson, librettist and director of Blue

The intimate opera is sung by characters who are only referred to in the libretto by their roles. Of the cast of 11, The Father, The Mother, and The Reverend were sung by principal artists. Briana Hunter (an alumna of the Young Artists Program) moved audiences with her emotional performance as The Mother. Internationally renowned baritone Gordon Hawkins lent depth and strength as The Reverend, particularly in the highly emotional funeral chorus. The remaining singing roles were performed by members of the Young Artists Program. The Mother’s three girlfriends were sung by sopranos Ariana Wehr and Brea Renetta Marshall, and mezzo-soprano Mia Athey. They powerfully conveyed the women’s initial playfulness and ultimate grief.


“ A remarkably original opera that explores deeply personal emotional

truths and gives them universal resonance.” — Wall Street Journal


Aaron Crouch exemplified the passion of the angry teenage son, who conflictingly foresees a bright future. Tenors Camron Gray and Edward Graves, and baritone Nicholas Davis were amiable as The Father’s three police buddies, jovially welcoming him into the “daddy club,” and somberly mourning the loss of the son. The Son as a young child makes a brief, touching appearance; this non-singing role was played by Jayden Kellogg, the real-life son of Kenneth Kellogg (The Father), who remarked that having Jayden on stage with him deepened his connection to the role and amplified his own emotional response to the action on stage. “ Blue deserves pride of place because it was a commissioned world premiere, and because it is very, very strong.” — 5 Stars, Financial Times

“ The powerful cast, headed by bass Kenneth Kellogg (Father) and mezzo Briana Hunter (Mother), captured the story’s volcanic upheavals and simple everydayness; tenor Aaron Crouch made the Son’s teenage rebellion absolutely believable; and baritone Gordon Hawkins brought dignity and doubt to the Reverend.” — Wall Street Journal


Jeanine and Tazewell formed a deep creative partnership and personal friendship as they worked through the emotions and subject matter. They also participated in Glimmerglass talks across the country about the opera’s development through the prior year’s Breaking Glass series of national forums and five-episode podcast, and at the Guggenheim Museum’s Works & Process program. Both spoke frequently about Blue being a defining experience in their lives. “…In what would be revealed to me to be my most rewarding collaborative partnership, Blue was a labor of love.” — Tazewell Thompson

“ When people say anybody can tell any story, it’s factually true but morally complicated. I think of myself as a facilitator, there to illuminate the story of my collaborator.” — Jeanine Tesori

Blue was the Festival’s 13th commission. With a commitment to nurturing and presenting new and recent American work, Glimmerglass has progressively focused on creating seasons intended to spark important conversations. Blue became a powerful focal point for discussion, addressing the subject matter through pre-show lectures, youth initiatives and ShowTalks. The overwhelmingly positive reactions from audiences, industry colleagues and reviewers are indicative of the public’s interest in stories that tackle issues of the day. It is a testimony to the artistic strengths of Blue that it has been added to the schedules of Washington National Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago and Michigan Opera Theater in Detroit.



YOUTH OPERA PROGRAM An avid proponent for introducing children to the performing arts, Artistic & General Director Francesca Zambello often states, “When children see children on stage, it captures their imagination.” In 2011, Zambello developed the Glimmerglass Youth Chorus and began incorporating more opportunities for young performers within each season, programming mainstage operas that include youth choruses and roles for children. Four years later, the program introduced a fully-staged opera for youth. Children from the region are invited to audition, regardless of their prior theater experience. For those selected, there is no tuition fee for participation, allowing young people of every socioeconomic status to be part of a professional-level production. This year, 25 youth from throughout the region were cast in Benjamin Britten’s opera for young people, Noah’s Flood. They had the unmatched opportunity to perform under the direction of and alongside professionals, like director Brenna Corner, chorus master and conductor Aurelia Andrews, three innovative designers, Young Artist coaches and two outstanding Young Artists in the roles of Noah and Mrs. Noah. On the mainstage, four youth performers appeared in Show Boat. Nine-year-old Bella Crowe from Canajoharie charmed audiences as Kim, the young daughter of Magnolia Hawks and Gaylord Ravenal. The remaining three youth ensemble members participated in crowd scenes and choruses, exposing them to a professional rehearsal process and allowing them to work with director Francesca Zambello, co-director E. Loren Meeker, choreographer Eric Sean Fogel and maestro James Lowe.



Taking part in the youth opera and in mainstage productions benefits participants, even if they do not pursue careers in music. When asked what they want to be when they grow up, responses from this summer’s youth ranged from architect to electrical engineer and large animal veterinarian. The skills realized through the rehearsal process, performances and individual practice can be applied to their academics and lives, with participants gaining personal confidence.

“ With this process, I learned that even if you’re wrong, you just have to sing out and be strong and wrong. I used to be a silent, quiet singer, and now I’m singing out.” — Aliza Hopkins, 13 years old

Some participants do go on to pursue studies in music. Giovanni Rivera-Litz, who was in prior years’ youth operas, like Odyssey, is currently a musical theater major at Nazareth College. He also is one of several youth opera alumni who appeared on the 2019 mainstage. Catie LeCours, who was Penelope in Odyssey (2015) and Marian in Robin Hood (2017), and youth opera veteran Loial Davis Fralick also took on non-singing (supernumerary) roles in La traviata and Show Boat. With returning participants like Gio, Catie and Loial, audiences get to see these young performers grow and develop their skills each summer.



NOAH’S FLOOD | Benjamin Britten This production was generously sponsored by Van Broughton Ramsey and Robert Nelson, and Robert L . Turner.



The annual Glimmerglass youth opera has traditionally been a Festivalcommissioned work. For 2019, the company chose to present Benjamin Britten’s Noah’s Flood, written specifically for young performers. “ Kids are natural storytellers. What’s so great about the children’s opera is that they get the chance to do that through the words of Britten and through the support of the Glimmerglass production team.” — Brenna Corner, director

Aside from the roles of Mr. and Mrs. Noah (Young Artists Wm. Clay Thompson and Gretchen Krupp) and the pre-recorded voice of God (former Trustee Felicia Blum), the performers were all young talents from the region, ranging in age from 7 to 16. In addition to their singing roles, they were puppeteers, animating the furry and feathery couples. The puppets were crafted to be manageable by a young cast, promoting individualized refinement of fine motor skills and exercising the performers’ multitasking abilities.


“ You have to have a certain amount of hand-eye coordination or movement while still watching the conductor or getting the props in the right place. It involves a lot of multitasking, and it’s definitely applicable to real life as well.” — Gretchen Krupp, 2019 Young Artist (Mrs. Noah, Samira in The Ghosts of Versailles, and 2018 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Finalist)

Several youth also played unconventional musical instruments, as conceived by the composer in the score. Various percussion roles provided opportunities for rhythmic development and showed the children that music can be made from almost anything. One of the most interesting of these instruments was a string-line of porcelain coffee mugs, all of which produced a different tone and, when combined together, created the effects of rain and thunder. As with all Glimmerglass youth operas, the artistic attention given to Noah’s Flood attracted seasoned opera aficionados as well as young people and families. The engaging instrumentation, dynamic set, clever puppetry and enthusiastic young performers created a rich production for audiences of all ages.



In the Pavilion: A new translation and adaptation of Tchaikovsky’s THE QUEEN OF SPADES Over the past four years, the addition of a oneact second stage production in the Pavilion has become a much-anticipated Festival event. This season, Glimmerglass dramaturg Kelley Rourke — who writes the libretti for our commissioned youth operas and has dazzled audiences with numerous English-language adaptations for our mainstage — worked in collaboration with Francesca Zambello and Young Artist composer Nicolas Lell Benavides to create a 75-minute, cleverly nuanced adaptation of Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades, using Pushkin’s poetry and a reduced orchestration for piano, string trio and clarinet. The addition of the instrumental ensemble was an expansion for the Festival; in prior years, the one-act offerings in the Pavilion were accompanied solely by piano. “Despite its indelible characters and glorious music, The Queen of Spades is seldom performed. With this adaptation, we gave our audiences a taste of Tchaikovsky’s thrilling score and Pushkin’s powerful drama in an intimate theatrical experience.” — Kelley Rourke, Dramaturg


The innovative set by James F. Rotondo III, who also designed Noah’s Flood, boasted rich colors and eye-catching décor that captivated audiences. It also utilized a thrust stage, which maximized sight lines and capitalized on the intimacy of the Pavilion. “ [Francesca Zambello] moved the characters around the small space with the skill of a chess master, always repositioning them to favor all lines of vision, and unfolding the tale with spontaneity and inevitability. The effect of the piece relied on a well-controlled, inexorable build of tension until the big payoff, which was so well managed it electrified the room.”

— Opera Today

The cast included six Young Artists, who shone in their roles. Soprano Julia Wolcott and tenor Maxwell Levy displayed their emotional and musical versatility as Lise and Hermann. Baritone Ben Schaefer was moving as the scorned Prince Yeletsky. Nicholas Davis, Christopher Carbin and Spencer Hamlin all lent dramatic strength to the ensemble. Joining the Young Artists was internationally-renowned mezzo-soprano Patricia Schuman, who delivered high drama to the role of the regal Countess. Adapting the music and story of a classic work into a new telling was so enthusiastically embraced by audiences, it inspired the company to create Così?, a modern take on Mozart’s Così fan tutte, which will be the Festival’s 2020 Pavilion offering.



Professional Education In many ways, Glimmerglass is as much an educational institution as it is a world-renowned producer. Glimmerglass’ Young Artists and Summer Internship programs, which welcomed 119 apprentices this summer, are foundational initiatives of the organization. These two programs provide opportunities for professional development for up-and-coming performers, artisans, technicians and arts administrators.


“ This past summer at The Glimmerglass Festival was an incredibly fun and inspirational journey as a Young Artist. The coaches, master teachers, staff and artists created an environment in which we could all step outside our comfort zones and explore our creative instincts.” — Julia Wolcott, 2019 Young Artist (Lise, The Queen of Spades)

The real-life professional experience given to participants in the Young Artists and Summer Internship programs is an essential complement to college and conservatory classes. Festival staff remain in touch with apprentices following their residencies, providing continued guidance and references. “ My experience at The Glimmerglass Festival taught me what it means to be a true arts administration professional. Thanks to the incredible staff and the opportunities they work so hard to provide all of their interns, I have confidence in pursuing my passions within nonprofits and the arts.” — Mary Kate Kenney, Development Intern

49 49

Young Artists Program From 11 participants in 1988 to 54 in 2019, the Glimmerglass Festival Young Artists Program has grown to become one of the leading training initiatives of its kind in the world. Young Artists are competitively selected conservatory students or recent graduates in the early stages of their careers. During each summer’s 12-week residency, Young Artists receive guidance and training from industry professionals, and are given opportunities to perform named and featured roles on our mainstage.

Of the 73 roles in the 2019 Festival’s four mainstage productions, 58 were given to Young Artists. For 2019, over 1,000 applicants applied for the 54 Young Artists slots: 918 promising opera singers, 11 emerging conductors, 27 young directors, 25 pianists, 75 musical theater performers, as well as — for the first time — composers. Applicants hailed from 42 states and 9 foreign countries: Australia, Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Mexico, Norway, South Korea, and the United Kingdom. Of the total, 500 were selectively chosen for live auditions and interviews in New York City, Cincinnati, Houston, Ithaca, Minneapolis and Syracuse. All of the Young Artists worked alongside veterans across the industry to gain proficiency on stage and receive individualized coaching and career guidance from principal guest performers, celebrated master teachers and the 2019 Artist in Residence, John Corigliano.



Artist in Residence This year, Glimmerglass welcomed its first composer as Artist in Residence, John Corigliano. In addition to advising on the production of The Ghosts of Versailles and providing guidance to our inaugural Young Artist composer, Corigliano collaborated with Music Director Joseph Colaneri on the curation of a ShowTalk with excerpts from his wide-ranging works. Established in 2011, the annual Artist in Residence provides direct mentorship to the Young Artists through coachings, career guidance and stage experience alongside renowned professionals. Previous luminaries include Christine Goerke, Julie & Nathan Gunn, Jay Hunter Morris, Eric Owens and Deborah Voigt. The opportunity created by a composer in residence inspired the company to add a Young Artist composer to the program this year. “Assisting and studying with [Artist in Residence] John Corigliano was a life changing experience. Asking him questions about the creation of his own opera was a masterclass in itself, and having the opportunity to study with him and show him my own music helped guide me leading up to my recital evening at Glimmerglass.” — Nicolas Lell Benavides, Young Artist composer

John Corigliano’s numerous scores — including three symphonies and eight concerti among more than 100 chamber, vocal, choral and orchestral works — have been performed and recorded by many of the most prominent orchestras, soloists and chamber musicians in the world. He is the winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Grawemeyer Award, four Grammy Awards and an Academy Award. One of the few living composers to have a string quartet named for him, Corigliano serves on the composition faculty at the Juilliard School of Music and holds the position of Distinguished Professor of Music at Lehman College, City University of New York, which has established a scholarship in his name.


John Corigliano was generously sponsored by Ed and Mary Lee Turner.


Summer Internship Program The Glimmerglass Festival Summer Internship Program welcomed 65 apprentices in 2019. The program provides an invaluable experience for the next generation of technicians, artisans and administrators. From scenery, costumes and stage operations, to development, marketing and company management, opportunities exist for internships in all areas of operations. Just as Young Artists are given master classes and mentorship, interns receive personal instruction and guidance from experts in their fields. Interns have many opportunities throughout the pre-season and during the summer to attend seminars and speak with industry professionals about career-advancement topics such as writing cover letters and resumes for jobs, networking, marketing a personal brand and practicing interview skills. Whenever possible, Glimmerglass looks to hire former interns into permanent positions. Currently, eight of the company’s 30 full-time year-round staff, and seven of the 10 off-season staff in the scene shop began as Festival interns.




In the Community The Festival’s mission includes the tenet to “collaborate with regional organizations, schools and businesses to enhance life in Central New York.” This is achieved through a number of community partnerships. Prior to the season opening, the company presented an outdoor concert in nearby Richfield Springs for town residents, and a community concert benefiting the Springfield Center “Hometown 4th of July Parade.” This charming parade is a 105-year-old tradition held in the town in which the opera house is located. This summer’s Fenimore Art Museum exhibition, “Floating Palaces on the Hudson,” featured paintings of showboats from the 19th century, resonating with our production of Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II’s musical. At the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Glimmerglass Young Artists again performed a weekly baseball-inspired concert series in August. Now in its eighth year, this program continues to engage audiences of all ages. These partnerships, along with our youth programs, animate our commitment to collaborating with regional organizations.


In the Community In 2018, a group of regional community volunteers brought together 50 underserved students, organized with the help of six service organizations, to attend a performance of West Side Story. The program attracted so much interest, that it was expanded in 2019 to include more students, more volunteers, more financial supporters and the addition of Glimmerglass-led educational workshops and classes.


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4 counties: Delaware, Herkimer, Oneida and Onondaga 9 service/educational organizations: Oneida County Youth Bureau, Junior Frontiers, Mohawk Valley Latino Association, Mohawk Valley Center for the Arts, Midtown Utica Community Center, Dodge Pratt Northam Art and Community Center (Old Forge), Rome Free Academy, ICAN (formerly Kids Oneida), Franklin Central School 10 funders: Adirondack Bank, Bank of Utica, Birnie Bus Service, Robert and Esther Black Family Foundation Fund of the Richland County Foundation, The Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, First Source Federal Credit Union, Golub Corporation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Tianaderrah Foundation, Utica National Insurance 171 underserved junior and senior high school students 3 interactive workshops on theater, movement and spoken word, led by teaching artist Paige Hernandez (librettist, Stomping Grounds, Glimmerglass’ second-stage and schooltouring production, 2017) in Utica; and a class on Show Boat at Franklin Central School led by Glimmerglass Dramaturg Kelley Rourke Attendance at performances of Show Boat and Blue, with a production tour and special preview, and question session with the cast after the performance (including a chance to have their programs signed)


Special Events The 2019 season included the return of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with her popular concert-withcommentary. Also on the mainstage, author Ta-Nehisi Coates was joined by Dr. Teresa Miller, State University of New York Senior Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Chief Diversity Officer, in a discussion about politics, the arts and racial issues. Two literary conversations were held in the Pavilion, with Pulitzer Prizewinning poet Paul Muldoon and National Book Award finalist Dana Spiotta — both writers of distinction with local connections. The Pavilion was also the venue for a diverse array of cabaretstyle offerings: Klea Blackhurst (Parthy in Show Boat) performed her criticallyacclaimed tribute to Ethel Merman; the Festival’s principal guest artists delighted audiences with an array of show-stopping numbers for the musical revue, Stars’ Night Out; and Festival artists presented two sold-out gospel concerts, curated by Young Artists Program alumnus Chaz’men Williams-Ali. The ShowTalk series delved into an array of topics related to three of our four mainstage shows. Guest speakers this summer were 2019 Artist in Residence John Corigliano, Glimmerglass Music Director Joseph Colaneri, President of the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization Ted Chapin, and Director of the Clark Art Institute Olivier Meslay.





ATTICA: “Because we care” “ Why do you come to Attica?” This was a question asked by an incarcerated man following Glimmerglass’ performance of selections from Show Boat at the Attica Correctional Facility this summer. The prison’s multi-purpose hall reverberated with cheers as the men applauded Francesca Zambello’s answer: “Because we care.” 2019 marked the fifth year of the Glimmerglass Festival’s Attica project. Show Boat principals Michael Adams (Ravenal), Lauren Snouffer (Magnolia), Alyson Cambridge (Julie), Justin Hopkins (Joe), Lara Teeter (Cap’n Andy), Hayley Ayers (Ellie May Chipley), plus pianist Grant Wenaus, and four Festival staff made the three-and-a-half-hour drive to the facility to present musical excerpts and participate in a post-performance Q&A session. This was the second year Glimmerglass was able to perform with a chorus of incarcerated men. In the months leading up to our visit, the company engaged Isaac Hutton, a music teacher who volunteers with the Attica ministry, to coach five individuals who earned the privilege of taking part in the program. A stirring rendition of “Ol’ Man River” with Glimmerglass artists and the Attica Chorus was made even more profound by the dedication of these men in this setting. The audience of incarcerated men and guards welcomed the humor of Show Boat, while appreciating the gravity of the story and the important historical significance of the piece. “ In speaking with a few of the inmates, it was clear that neither their past nor present circumstances have uprooted the humanity inherent in each of them. I feel proud to have been a part of something that gave the inmates a distraction from the monotony of prison life, allowing them to feel involved, enriched, and — most importantly — cared for.” — Lauren Snouffer (Magnolia Hawks)

“ I could feel that our performance and our mere presence afforded many of these men a form of momentary freedom. That is the awesome power of music and theater. I was in awe from the experience, and it will remain with me forever.”

— Justin Hopkins (Joe)

“ I saw the impact that one day of music had on these prisoners. If we love those who struggle, regardless of their circumstances, all wounds can heal.” — Michael Adams (Gaylord Ravenal)

“ Once our performance began, I was immediately reminded of the transformative nature of music and theater. I will not soon forget observing the faces of both the inmates and the correctional officers as they watched one singer’s performance into the next.” — Lara Teeter (Cap’n Andy)


Glimmerglass Volunteers The success of Glimmerglass would not be possible without a dedicated team of volunteers, whose generous contributions enhance the experiences of visitors and provide critical support to Festival staff. Throughout the year, The Guild of The Glimmerglass Festival helps the company in numerous ways, supplementing the work of the administration, hosting Opening Night Cast Parties and feeding more than 1,000 meals to staff and guests throughout the season. The group also generously contributes to the Festival through fundraising activities, notably their annual Gala each August. Other dedicated volunteers give their time and enthusiasm to the Festival, assisting in operations across campus. Volunteer ushers not only take tickets and welcome patrons during the summer, but share their love of Glimmerglass year-round. Guild members and volunteer ushers provided a combined 8,595 hours of service, which greatly contributed to the success of the Festival’s 2019 season.


Corporations 1% $23,549

Fundraising Event 15% $745,154 Government 3% $140,000

Foundations 13% $674,589

Individuals 68% $3,519,241

Concessions/Gift shop & Ads 6% $214,702 Other Earned Income 2% $72,551

Ticket Sales 82% $2,984,684 Set/Costume and Rental 10% $350,774

Earned Revenue $3,622,711

Salaries & Administration 30% $2,714,394

Marketing & Concessions 5% $375,353

Other 5% $486,167

Young Artists & Summer Internship Programs 7% $653,998

Non-Artistic Seasonal Expenses 4% $334,847

Fundraising 2% $202,996

Artistic Programming 47% $4,259,440

This presentation is an unaudited report of annual operations in conformity with the Board approved Operating Budget. Audited financials are avaliable on request

Operating Expenses: $9,027,195

Endowment Earnings 4% $332,000

Contributed Income 56%

Contributions $5,102,533

Ticket Sales 33%

Other Earned Income 7%

Endowment 4%

Operating Income: $9,057,244

Glimmerglass Festival | 2019 Operating Income and Expenses


REFLECTING ON THE SEASON Artistic Citizenship + Social Responsibility Glimmerglass seasons are thoughtfully curated to include programming that inspires dialogue around meaningful issues of the day through song and story, a tenet of the Festival’s mission. Great art is a bridge to understanding our world and each other, and in doing so, it can help bring us together. The goal of great art is to “fill” the intellectual and emotional gas tank of our audiences, and inspire them to see the world anew. This was particularly evident in Show Boat and Blue, and the associated previews and programs. The impact of miscegenation laws, highlighted in Show Boat, is still felt nearly four decades after being ruled unconstitutional. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s concert-with-commentary intertwined arts and the law, including arias that addressed legal and humanitarian issues. Ta-Nehisi Coates engaged in candid conversation about politics, racial issues and the role of the arts in propagating and combating these problems. The Festival also hosted a series of talks in conjunction with Blue, led by faculty from the Educational Studies and Sociology departments at Colgate University. Blue, in particular, became a catalyst for the company to reflect upon its own efforts toward diversity, equity and inclusion. With a commitment to “Artistic Citizenship,” the Festival continues to actively explore the overarching question, “ What social responsibility does an opera company have beyond its artistic mission?” Blue inspired several special initiatives: a five-episode podcast and series of national forums entitled Breaking Glass, which aired the prior year, and which explored the role of composers and librettists in tackling difficult contemporary subjects; workshops for staff that addressed racial and social issues; and the formation of an ongoing committee comprised of staff and artists, which will continue to bolster Glimmerglass’ efforts toward improving protocols for addressing equity, diversity, and inclusion throughout the organization. Subsequent seasons will build upon these initiatives, ensuring the Festival continues to serve its community through programming that both enlightens and entertains.


PO BOX 191 COOPERSTOWN NY 13326 www.glimmerglass.org The Glimmerglass Festival receives major support from the following institutional funders: The Clark Foundation The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation OPERA America The Glimmerglass Festival receives public funding from:

We thank all of our 1,700 supporters, who are listed in the Festival Program Book. For questions or additional copies of this report, please contact: Joan Desens Director of Institutional Advancement (607) 547-0700 ext. 297 jdesens@glimmerglass.org GLIMMERGLASS IS A MEMBER OF