Photo Flash: First Look at Glimmerglass Festival's KING FOR A DAY

In celebration of Romantic composer Giuseppe Verdi's bicentenary, The Glimmerglass Festival premiered a bold new production of the composer's rarely seen comedy King for a Day (Un giorno di regno) on Sunday. BroadwayWorld has a first look at the cast in action below!

Verdi's second opera and first comedy, King for a Day musically resembles the style of Rossini and Donizetti. Conductor Joseph Colaneri said, "You can already hear the fingerprint of the genius." Colaneri made his Glimmerglass debut in 2009 with the Festival's production of La Cenerentolaand has been on the Metropolitan Opera's roster for 15 years. He begins as Glimmerglass Festival music director in the fall.

Director Christian Räth plunges the audience into this zany tale of celebrity, masquerade and young love. The King of Poland has arrived for the fabulous double wedding. Except, he's not the real king, his lover is one of the brides-to-be and the other "lucky lady" is in love with another man. Not to worry, though, in true comic opera style, all loose ends are tied and every character walks away content.

Despite being a nearly 200-year-old opera, Räth presents a modern-feeling production.

"I think that there are many elements in this story that are still valid today," Räth said. "This idea of being a king or celebrity is very contemporary because basically everybody dreams about being a star, if just for one night. If you turn on the TV, most of the shows are about being a celebrity even if you're not."

Court Watson, who made his Glimmerglass debut in 2011 and has worked with respected companies both domestically and abroad in Germany and China, has designed 60s-era costuming and a set that allows the actors to interact on the stage in unusual and exciting ways.

The production features choreography by Eric Sean Fogel, who also choreographed The Flying Dutchman this season. Fogel debuted with the Festival in 2011 with Annie Get Your Gun and has worked with such companies as Washington National Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago. He took inspiration for this production's moves from pop cultural phenomena.

"Christian approached me about putting contemporary dance in King for a Day," Fogel said. "Using everyday dance we know - flash mob, krumping, Harlem shake - and references to 20th-century pop culture."

To long-time Glimmerglass lighting designer Robert Wierzel, "This piece is fun and effervescent, like drinking champagne."

Presented in a new English translation by Festival dramaturg Kelley Rourke and with projected text, this production offers comedy as relevant today as it was on its premiere 1840.

Said Colaneri, "I think you're going to be wonderfully surprised."

The Glimmerglass Festival has now opened all of its four shows, Wagner's The Flying Dutchman; Lerner and Loewe's Camelot; and Passions, the double bill of Pergolesi's Stabat Mater and David Lang's the little match girl passion and finally Verdi's King for a Day. These productions will run in repertory through the end of August. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.glimmerglass.org or contact the Box Office at (607) 547-2255.

Photo Credit: Karli Cadel/The Glimmerglass Festival (unless otherwise specified)

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Jason Hardy as Baron Kelbar and Alex Lawrence as Belfiore


Andrew Wilkowske as La Rocca and Jason Hardy as Baron Kelbar


Jacqueline Echols as Giulietta with members of the ensemble


Ginger Costa-Jackson as Marchesa, Joe Shadday as Count Ivrea and Jason Hardy as Baron Kelbar


The Glimmerglass Festival production of Verdi's King for a Day (Photo Credit: Jamie Kraus/The Glimmerglass Festival)

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