THE MAGIC FLUTE, MACBETH, CATO IN UTICA and CANDIDE Set for the 2015 Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown
The Glimmerglass Festival has announced its 2015 Festival, which will celebrate the company's 40th anniversary.
The 2015 Festival will feature Mozart's The Magic Flute, Verdi's Macbeth, Vivaldi's Cato in Utica and Bernstein's Candide. The productions will run in repertory in the Alice Busch Opera Theater on Otsego Lake in Cooperstown July 10 through August 23. These mainstage offerings will be complemented by lectures, concerts and other special events.
"A beautiful garden has both unity and variety," Artistic & General Director Francesca Zambello said. "In planning our 40th anniversary season, I wanted to employ those same ideas. Our season will feature singular works from four centuries of operatic history, unified by strong musical values and intensely intimate theatrical experiences in the Alice Busch Opera Theater. Along with many important debuts, the season will see the return of some of our most beloved artists from past seasons."
Acclaimed bass-baritone Eric Owens will return as Artist in Residence, performing his role debut as Macbeth. As Artist in Residence, Owens will not only perform, but will work closely with members of the company's Young Artists Program, the renowned apprenticeship for performers and directors. Owens earned critical acclaim for his performance as Stephen Kumalo in the 2012 Glimmerglass production of Kurt Weill's Lost in the Stars.
THE MAGIC FLUTE (Mozart/Schikaneder)
The season will open with a new production of Mozart's The Magic Flute, last performed at Glimmerglass in 1992. A new adaptation of Mozart's classic Enlightenment tale will take its inspiration from Native American folklore and the magical qualities of an unspoiled natural landscape.
The new production will be directed by Madeline Sayet in her company debut. A recipient of the White House Champion of Change Award for Native America, Sayet is the co-founder and artistic director of the Mad and Merry Theatre Company and resident artistic director at Amerinda.
"As a Mohegan and descendant of Chief Uncas, I am honored to have the opportunity to direct in a town and festival so closely associated with the words of James Fenimore Cooper, who famously fictionalized Uncas as the last," Sayet said. "What other lasts might be undone by removing the artificial barriers of myth and reality? Our Magic Flute is not a journey to a fantastical other world, but a way of looking more deeply into the real place we live in, the woods around Glimmerglass, if you only open your eyes wide enough."
Hartford Symphony Orchestra's Music Director, Carolyn Kuan, will make her Glimmerglass conducting debut. Sean Panikkar, the Leader in the Glimmerglass production of Lost in the Stars and recent finalist on television's America's Got Talent, will sing the role of Tamino. The new production will also feature Jacqueline Echols, seen this summer in the Glimmerglass production of Ariadne in Naxos, as Pamina. Soloman Howard will sing Sarastro, a role he recently performed at Washington National Opera. The new adaptation will be by Kelley Rourke, who provided the new translation for King for a Day in 2013 and this summer's Ariadne in Naxos at Glimmerglass. Eric Sean Fogel returns to choreograph the production. His recent work includes a new production of Artus - Excalibur at Theatre St. Gallen, and he will choreograph Washington National Opera's upcoming production of Florencia in the Amazon. Designer Kaye Voyce returns to Glimmerglass for this production; her costume designs were most recently seen in Broadway's The Realistic Joneses. Troy Hourie, who designed this summer's Glimmerglass production of Ariadne in Naxos, will return to design sets. Mark McCullough will design lighting. McCullough has designed more than a dozen Glimmerglass productions and continues to work internationally.
In the first-ever Glimmerglass production of Verdi's powerful interpretation of the Shakespearean drama, returning Artist in Residence Eric Owens will make his role debut as the title character. The Grammy Award-winning bass-baritone will be joined onstage by Melody Moore, who returns to the Glimmerglass stage as his scheming wife, Lady Macbeth. Moore was seen as Senta in last year's Glimmerglass production of The Flying Dutchman, and she will perform the role of Dorabella in the upcoming Houston Grand Opera production of Così fan tutte.
SITI Company Artistic Director Anne Bogart will return to direct the new production of Macbeth, with choreography by fellow SITI Company member Barney O'Hanlon.
"The Tragedy of Macbeth is one of Western civilization's most iconic and powerful tales about blind ambition and hubris," Bogart said. "William Shakespeare mined the story for its dark and powerful drama, charting the psychological and political effects of evil action. Infatuated with Shakespeare's play, Giuseppe Verdi created his own operatic version, returning to it throughout his life to revise and expand. The result of Verdi's obsession is an opera that combines gripping drama and great music."
Glimmerglass Festival Music Director Joseph Colaneri, who conducts this year's Madame Butterfly at Glimmerglass, will conduct Macbeth.
"I've always been fascinated by Verdi's love and admiration for William Shakespeare," Colaneri said. "Verdi was struck by Shakespeare's Macbeth and Lady Macbeth and succeeded in creating a musical representation of these two characters that not only seeks to capture their dramatic essence in music but also to create a unique manner of vocal delivery that goes beyond anything Verdi had conceived before."
Soloman Howard will play the role of wise, but doomed, Banco in his first appearance at Glimmerglass. An alumnus of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, Howard has performed as Sarastro in The Magic Flute, as well as the Lion in The Lion, the Unicorn, and Me at Washington National Opera.
James Schuette, who designed the recent Glimmerglass production of Carmen, will design sets and costumes for the new production. Lighting design will be by Robert Wierzel, whose work appears in the company's 2014 productions of Madame Butterfly and An American Tragedy. A Tony Award nominee, Wierzel has designed more than 40 Glimmerglass productions.
CATO IN UTICA (Vivaldi/Metastasio)
Passion and politics collide in Vivaldi's setting of Metastasio's poetic depiction of Cato the Younger.
"Glimmerglass made a name for itself in the world of baroque opera beginning in the 90s," Artistic & General Director Francesca Zambello said. "Since then, Glimmerglass has produced more than a dozen new and innovative productions of early operas. In this tradition, I wanted to program a baroque piece for our 40th anniversary, and to our knowledge, Cato in Utica has never been produced in America."
Tazewell Thompson, who has directed several productions at Glimmerglass to great acclaim including Kurt Weill's Lost in the Stars, will return to direct the opera."I love the early operas. The Vivaldi masterwork Catone in Utica is especially enthralling with its spectacular instrumentation that feels new and edgy and always exhilarating," Thompson said. "Complex and conflicted characters are passionately expressing their story through brilliant vocals with highly entertaining flourishes and ornamentations. Sublime."
Conductor Ryan Brown, founder and Artistic Director of Opera Lafayette, will join Glimmerglass in his company debut.
"This is vibrant, colorful, and inventive Vivaldi - some of his best writing," Brown said.
Countertenor John Holiday will make his Glimmerglass debut as Caesar. Holiday earned first place in last year's Gerda Lissner Foundation International Vocal Competition and will make his role debut as Sorceress in Los Angeles Opera's upcoming production of Dido and Aeneas.Sarah Mesko will perform the vocally demanding role of Emilia in her first Glimmerglass appearance. The mezzo-soprano has recently performed with Washington National Opera and made her Houston Grand Opera debut this season.
John Conklin, who has designed more than 30 Glimmerglass productions, will design sets for the new production. He is joined by costume designer Sara Jean Tosetti, whose work has recently appeared in Radamisto at Juilliard Opera and The Barber of Seville at Central City Opera. Anthony Salatino, who has directed movement for productions across the country and serves as an associate professor at Syracuse University, will choreograph. Robert Wierzel will design lighting.
As philosophical as it is satirical, Bernstein's take on Candide transports Voltaire's novella and its Enlightenment-era ideas to the stage, featuring classic tunes such as "The Best of All Possible Worlds," "Glitter and Be Gay" and "Make our Garden Grow."
Director Francesca Zambello's new period production will examine wars waged between nations and classes. Zambello will join forces with conductor Joseph Colaneri in this co-production with Opéra National de Bordeaux and Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse.
"Leonard Bernstein was one of the most gifted and erudite musicians of our time, and his love of literature and wry comedy are exuberantly combined in Candide," Colaneri said. "I am always touched by the life-affirming themes and lessons of this effervescent and witty score that ring true from Voltaire's 18th century right down to the present day."
Candide will feature former Young Artist Andrew Stenson in the title role. Stenson made his Glimmerglass debut in The Tender Land and has since appeared in Carmen and Later the Same Evening. The role of Cunégonde will be performed by Kathryn Lewek, who makes her Metropolitan Opera debut this season as Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute. Marietta Simpson will sing the role of The Old Lady/Baroness. Simpson's expressive voice has led her to performances at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center, as well as roles such as Queenie in Houston Grand Opera's Show Boat.
James Noone will return to govern scenic design alongside Helen Hayes Award-nominated costume designer Jennifer Moeller. Candide will be choreographed by Eric Sean Fogel. Mark McCullough will design lighting.
For more information on the 2015 Glimmerglass Festival and performance dates and times, call the Box Office at (607) 547-2255 or visit www.glimmerglass.org.
The Glimmerglass Festival is a professional, non-profit organization presenting four new productions of opera and musical theater in rotation every July and August. The company's Alice Busch Opera Theater opened in 1987 and has been home to more than 100 productions, many of which have been world and professional premieres. Francesca Zambello was appointed Artistic & General Director in September 2010. The company continues is tradition of four new fully staged productions, now including three operas and a piece of American musical theater performed with full orchestra and no sound amplification. Mainstage performances are supplemented by special concerts, a discussion series and many free events, including cast question-and-answer sessions and backstage tours. The 2014 Festival focuses on 100 years of music and features new productions of Puccini's Madame Butterfly, Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel, Strauss' Ariadne in Naxos and Tobias Picker's An American Tragedy. The productions run in repertory July 11 through August 24. Founded in 1975, the company continues to attract an international audience to the scenic Cooperstown area, where the talent of singers, directors, designers and staff from around the world converges to produce world-class opera and music theater. For more information, visit www.glimmerglass.org.