Expect the Unexpected – Glimmerglass Opera 2011

Cooperstown, NY – The 2011 Glimmerglass Festival ushers in an exciting line-up of ‘firsts,’ for an otherwise well-seasoned summer opera company. What does the 37th festival hold? The first season under new General & Artistic Director, Francesca Zambello, a World Premiere and a Professional Premiere, the company’s inaugural annual Artist in Residence Series, and an annual musical theater production.

“For years, Glimmerglass has been celebrated for its devotion to the operatic form and for its adventurous productions of familiar and unfamiliar works from the classic repertoire,” Zambello said. “As part of the company’s mission to produce new, little-known and familiar operas and works of music theater, The Glimmerglass Festival will offer an annual production of an American musical theater piece performed in the way it was first heard with full orchestra and chorus and without amplification. Irving Berlin’s Annie Get Your Gun will inaugurate this series as our fourth production.”

The 2011 Festival will open with new productions of Bizet’s Carmen and Cherubini’s Medea. Additionally, a double bill of two new operas highlighting American artists will feature the world-premiere production of A Blizzard in Marblehead Neck, a Glimmerglass-commissioned work by the award-winning team of composer Jeanine Tesori and playwright Tony Kushner, and the professional premiere of John Musto and Mark Campbell’s acclaimed Later the Same Evening. The four operas will be joined by Irving Berlin’s Annie Get Your Gun.  The main stage productions will be supplemented by special performances, concerts, lectures and symposiums throughout the season.

Find out more, including performance details, below. Single tickets and subscriptions are on sale and can be found by visiting www.glimmerglass.org or call the company’s Box Office at (607) 547-2255, Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

CARMEN (Bizet/Meilhac & Halévy)

The 2011 season features strong heroines – and the fiery Carmen is no exception. The role of the independent protagonist will be sung by Ginger Costa-Jackson in her role and company debut. Costa-Jackson is a recent member of the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. Adam Diegel returns to Glimmerglass as Don José after his performance this summer as Cavaradossi in Tosca, for which he was praised for his “smooth and darkly tinged voice.” Keith Miller will sing the role of Escamillo. Miller has been seen as Zuniga in the Met’s production of Carmen and also recently appeared in Salome andMadame Butterfly, both of which were broadcast live in HD around the world. American soprano Anya Matanovič will sing the role of Micaëla in her company debut. The production will be directed by Anne Bogart, who serves as the Artistic Director for the SITI Company and whose work was last seen at Glimmerglass in 2008 with Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi. Glimmerglass Music Director David Angus will conduct.

“Glimmerglass is known for unusual repertoire, so Carmen seemed a strange choice, until I heard that it would be directed by Anne Bogart,” Angus said.  “Everything that Anne touches is transformed into something exceptional and different, so I am thrilled I will be doing Carmen with her.

“We can expect a completely new approach to the work, and I am sure we will discover many new layers of the story and a very strong staging.  When this is combined with the Glimmerglass tradition of bringing in the newest generation of young stars, this will be a Carmen worth traveling a long way to see.”

James Schuette, who designed costumes for Bogart’s Glimmerglass production in 2008, will design sets and costumes. 2010 Tony Award nominee Robert Wierzel, who has designed more than 35 productions for Glimmerglass, will design lighting. SITI Company member Barney O’Hanlon will choreograph.

MEDEA (Cherubini/Hoffmann)

Medea, Cherubini’s rarely performed opera, will be presented in Italian as a co-production with Ireland’s Wexford Festival Opera.The role of Medea, the scorned wife who will stop at nothing for revenge, will be sung by Alexandra Deshorties in her role and company debut. A graduate of the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, Deshorties made her Met debut as the High Priestess in Aida and has since appeared as Elettra in Idomeneo, Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte and First Lady inThe Magic FluteJason Collins, seen last summer in Seattle Opera’s Ring Cycle, will sing the tenor role of Jason. Collins last performed at Glimmerglass in 2002 as The Chevalier in Dialogues of the CarmelitesWendy Bryn Harmer, also a graduate of the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, will sing the role of Glauce. The role of King Creon will be sung by David Pittsinger, last seen at Glimmerglass in 2005 as The Traveller and The Elderly Fop in Death in Venice. Pittsinger has most recently performed at the Met as The Animal Trainer/Acrobat in Alban Berg’s Lulu and The Speaker in Julie Taymor’s production ofThe Magic Flute. Other engagements include performances as Emile de Becque in South Pacific at Lincoln Center Theater. He also appeared as Enobarbus in a Carnegie Hall concert performance of Antony and Cleopatra with New York City Opera. Englishman Michael Barker-Caven, known for his work in London’s West End and the Royal Opera House, will direct and Italy native Daniele Rustioni will conduct, both in their U.S. debuts. They will be joined by Joe Vanek, who will design sets and costumes. Robert Wierzel will design lighting.

DOUBLE BILL

A Blizzard in Marblehead Neck (Tesori/Kushner)

The world premiere of A Blizzard in Marblehead Neck will be inspired by an episode in the life of playwright Eugene O’Neill. This will be the first operatic composition for Jeanine Tesori, who is well-known for her scores on Broadway, including Shrek The Musical and Tony Award-winning Caroline, or Change. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner will provide the original libretto; Kushner is acclaimed for his Tony Award–winning play, Angels in America, which was later turned into a mini-series. His other plays include A Bright Room Called DaySlavs! and Homebody/Kabul. He wrote the book for Tesori’s Caroline, or Changeand the screenplays for Mike Nichols’s film Angels in America and Steven Spielberg’s MunichZambello will direct A Blizzard in Marblehead Neck.
Court Watson will design costumes.

Later the Same Evening (Musto/Campbell)

Originally commissioned by the National Gallery of Art, the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center and the University of Maryland,Later the Same Evening is a one-act opera inspired by five paintings of American icon Edward Hopper. The opera is written by Pulitzer Prize-nominated composer John Musto and award-winning librettist Mark Campbell, who previously collaborated on the highly successful comic opera, Volpone, for Wolf Trap Opera. Later the Same Evening imagines the lives of the figures in Hopper’s paintings and weaves a narrative that connects them – both tangentially and directly – on a single night in New York City in 1932. “Ultimately, the opera is a love letter to the city,” explains librettist Campbell, “and celebrates the serendipity its inhabitants hold sacred…and its belief that love could always be just around the next corner.” The production will feature Patricia Schuman in the role of Estelle Oglethorpe. Schuman has performed in many leading opera houses and festivals, including the Met, Vienna State Opera, Salzburg Festival, Royal Opera House Covent Garden and Houston Grand Opera.  Baritone Jake Gardner will perform the role of Ronaldo Cabral. Gardner returns to Glimmerglass after performances as Jupiter in the company’s 2007 production of Orpheus in the Underworld. Leon Major, who directed Later the Same Evening’s 2007 premiere to critical acclaim, will direct; David Angus will conduct. David Roberts designed costumes for the premiere and designs this new production. Erhard Rom, who also teamed with Major on the premiere, will design the sets for the double bill in his company debut. Mark McCullough will design lighting for A Blizzard in Marblehead Neck and Later the Same Evening.

ANNIE GET YOUR GUN (Berlin/Fields)

Based on the real-life romance of sharpshooter Annie Oakley and Frank Butler, Berlin’s Annie Get Your Gun features the popular and well-known songs “Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better,” “I Got Lost in His Arms,” and “There’s No Business Like Show Business.” Leading dramatic soprano Deborah Voigt will sing the title role. Although Voigt is internationally revered in the operas of Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss, and is noted for portrayals of such Italian operatic heroines as Tosca and Aida, she has also sung Broadway and popular songs in recital and in special cabaret presentations. Rod Gilfry will sing the role of Frank Butler, Annie’s love interest. Gilfry is a two-time GRAMMY nominee who can currently be seen as Emile de Becque in the U.S. National Tour of the Lincoln Center Production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific. Buffalo Bill Cody will be sung by Jake GardnerZambello, known for both her opera and theater productions, will direct the musical. Kristen Blodgette, who has many Broadway credits, will conduct. Court Watson will design sets and costumes in his company debut, and Mark McCullough will design lighting. McCullough returns, after having designed Das Liebesverbot in 2008, for his ninth season with the company.

GLIMMERGLASS FESTIVAL ARTIST IN RESIDENCE

New in 2011, the company will host a Glimmerglass Festival Artist in Residence. Each summer, an Artist in Residence will join the company for the season and be fully integrated into the Festival. The inaugural Glimmerglass Festival Artist in Residence will be Deborah Voigt who, in addition to starring in Annie Get Your Gun, will perform special solo performances throughout the summer and work closely with members of the company’s Young American Artists Program.

“Great opera singers are always seeking ways to renew and refresh their art,” Zambello said. “Every summer, The Glimmerglass Festival will be enriched by an internationally acclaimed artist who will join us for the entire season to explore new avenues of expression, to mentor our Young Artists and to interact with our public.  We are especially pleased to welcome Deborah Voigt as our first Artist in Residence in 2011.”

Voigt said, “I am honored to have been chosen as The Glimmerglass Festival’s first Artist in Residence. I love working with young, talented singers. To have the opportunity to mentor them over a period of weeks, during which we all live, work and create together, will be very special. I certainly hope it will be enriching for them, and I know it will be fulfilling for me.

“Fifty or 60 years ago, these big, classic American musicals were originally scored with very large orchestras, and there was certainly no sound amplification,” she continued. “It will be exciting to sing Annie this way, and I’m certain that our audiences will find it very satisfying to hear the orchestra and the singing performed the way it was intended.”

1st Photo: Francesca Zambello, by: Claire McAdams/Glimmerglass Opera

2nd Photo by: Peyton Lea/Glimmerglass Opera

3rd Photo: Deborah Voigt, by: Dario Acosta

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