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Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats." Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, occasional obituaries and classical news reporting, since 2007. All written content © 2019 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link. For advertising rates, click this link. Follow us on Facebook.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Superconductor 2016 Summer Festival Preview V: Glimmerglass Festival

Cooperstown, NY is your summer home for opera.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Sweeney Todd cuts heads at this year's Glimmerglass Festival.
Photo of the Alice Busch Opera Theater © Glimmerglass Festival.
Strong and fair, see it stand on the northeast bank of Lake Otsego, that famed body of water featured in the Leatherstocking Tales of James Fenimore Cooper. It’s the Alice Busch Opera House, home of the Glimmerglass Festival, Cooprstown, New York’s most significant contribution to the performing arts.

This year, Glimmerglass is home to three new opera productions and a musical--albeit one of the most operatic examples of that uniquely American genre. There are aLso scheduled concerts featuring rising opera stars like Jay Hunter Morris and Jamie Barton, not to mention the nearby town of Cooperstown, one of the most interesting and historic places to visit in upstate New York.

Visiting Cooperstown and the Glimmerglass Festival requires a little planning, and it's a good idea to be aware when the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is having its yearly induction ceremonies as it guarantees sold out hotels, lodges and motels. This year it's July 22-25 with the ceremony in the 24th so you might want to plan accordingly-unless you really want to see opening night of The Crucible.

Other options are staying in nearby towns like Oneonta or Auburn and commuting back and forth. The town features fine dining, shopping and the lake itself, a glorious green body of wafter so aerated that a swim is like bathing in seltzer water--amd so pure that it continues to be the source for the town’s drinking water.

This year's starting lineup features:

La bohème (opens July 8)
The most popular opera in the world gets a new, intimate staging focusing n the personal lives of four impoverished artists living in a freezing Paris attic apartment. Today, one would be a blogger, one a graphic designer and the philosophe of the bunch would probably have a day job at le Starbucks.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (opens July 9)
Blood and culinary metaphors are at the heart of Stephen Sondhem’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. This hyper-violent, cannibalistic musical is among the most tuneful and beloved works from the pen of this master of the theater. Sweeney is an ex-convict who returns to a filthy, squalid London hell-bent on revenge. To that end, he opens a barbershop and becomes meat supplier to the pie shop downstairs, run by the motherly but opportunistic Mrs Lovett. This show continues to thrill, inspire and horrify audiences. (Try the mince pie, it was made fresh this morning!)

The Thieving Magpie (opens July 16)
Rossini’s comic gem has o e of his most famous overtures but is mostly unknown tu audiences on is side of the Atlantic. It is the story of a girl blamed for a theft perpetrated by a bird. Expect high-flying coloratura writing, gorgeous bel canto arias and Rossini’s trademark wit and sparkle throughout,

The Crucible (opens July 23)
Robert Ward’s award-winning adaptation of the searing Arthur Miller play recalls th bad old days of colonial America th this harrowing story set during the Salem Witch Trials. Miller’s tale, inspired by the congressional hunt for Communists in the 1950s still chills the blood today. A powerful, contemporary opera with a searing message.

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