Glimmerglass Festival Announces Updates for Summer 2020

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Glimmerglass Festival Announces Updates for Summer 2020

The Glimmerglass Festival, the central New York opera and music theater festival, will not host any live performances in summer 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced a phased plan to re-open the state, but the announcements emphasized that attractions that draw a large number of visitors from outside the local area will not be permitted. The Glimmerglass Festival Board of Trustees voted to cancel any live performances at the theater in Cooperstown this summer for the health and safety of the company and community.

The Glimmerglass Festival sells more than 35,000 tickets each summer to its more than 100 public events, drawing audience members from across the country and internationally. The Festival typically relies on a months-long timeline to produce its annual Festival, with staff arriving as early as April to begin preparations.

"As theater people, we are accustomed to problem solving," Artistic & General Director Francesca Zambello said. "We had already adjusted plans and schedules in the hope we might be able to welcome company members and audience members for a Festival this summer. But in considering the health and safety of our artists and staff, and following New York State and CDC recommendations, we must now instead focus on how we can provide an opportunity for people to come together around song and story - without coming together in person."

This summer and fall, the Festival will focus on its education programs. The company has resources in the works for the members of its 2020 Young Artists Program, Summer Internship Program, and its local Youth Opera Program.

"Public performances are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to our summer activities," Zambello said. "Behind the scenes, the company invests an enormous amount of energy in training the young people who make up the future of the art form. These include both group workshops and one-on-one mentoring from established professionals, and the Glimmerglass team is working hard to develop a robust selection of virtual opportunities for this summer."

Additionally, the company will take its Town Hall series virtual, starting with a Live Conversation with Zambello and Festival Music Director Joseph Colaneri. The Festival directors will discuss the role of an arts organization in a rapidly changing environment and will take the opportunity to answer questions. More information regarding this event will be shared at a later date. Additional special guests will include Sister Helen Prejean, Tana Ross, and others to be announced.

"A huge part of the Festival's mission is to inspire dialogue around meaningful issues through storytelling and music," Zambello said. "That is another reason we have endeavors like our performances at Attica prison, or our recent world premiere Blue discussing current issues.
I am very excited about the prospect of bringing our Town Hall discussions to a potentially wider audience."

Ticket buyers to the 2020 Festival can donate the value of their tickets back to the company, which will be used toward the Festival's ongoing professional education initiatives and supporting 2020 company members, or receive a refund for the face value of their tickets. The Glimmerglass Festival Board of Trustees, joined by Artistic & General Director Francesca Zambello and Faith Gay, have generously made a commitment to match the value of all tickets donated up to $500,000. Questions can be directed to The Glimmerglass Festival Box Office at (607) 547-2255 or In keeping with New York State regulations, the Festival staff is currently working remotely.

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