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Glimmerglass Festival Announces Their Plan for 2021

Opera company, Glimmerglass Festival, is back at Cooperstown, NY this summer after a year of absence due to cancellations because of the pandemic. 

What is Glimmerglass Festival?

Glimmerglass Festival usually takes place in the summer. They put on a series of opera performances throughout the season. As the company has grown, Glimmerglass Festival puts on performances ranging from traditional operas to other American musical theater. 

Each performance includes an entire orchestra and full cast with no sound amplification. The company hopes to provide enriching performance opportunities for emerging interns and artists. Additionally they hope to inspire dialogue, and nurture current artists to improve central New York life.

The Redesign of Glimmerglass Festival

With the company’s return, they have constructed a grand, new outdoor stage for their performances. The previously used indoor theater seated 915 people indoors, however the outdoor stage for the 2021 season has been redesigned to cooperate under COVID safety regulations.

“We have re-imagined the Glimmerglass experience for the 2021 season,” said Festival and Artistic & General Director, Francesca Zambello. “While this move outdoors is primarily for the health and safety of our company members, audience members and community, it is in harmony with what people love about Glimmerglass — innovative art and performances in a beautiful location.” 

The new stage is designed by Peter J. Davidson and ensures a socially distanced experience. It will occupy the south end of the festival grounds and the lawn will be divided into Festival squares that seat parties of up to four. Visitors can reserve a personal box that seats up to six as well. Guests are welcome to bring lawn chairs and blankets to stay comfortable during the outdoor performances that will run for 90-minutes.

What’s to Come This Season

This season, the company will perform operas and renditions of Mozart’s Magic Flute, Verdi’s II Trovatore, and the world premiere of Sandra Seaton’s The Passion of Mary Cardwell Dawson, telling the true story of the founder of the New York Negro Opera Company (NNOC).

A professor of musicology at the University of South Florida said with Opera News, “There had been all-Black opera companies in existence, but most of them were run by white men and a few by Black men…But the NNOC was the first to be founded and run by a Black woman.”

Composer of The Passion of Mary Cardwell Dawson, Carlos Simon said, “[Dawson] paved the way for African-American musicians like me to have the opportunity to have a career in opera, which has been traditionally a space reserved for people who don’t look like me…Telling her story in 2021 gives insight and hope to a younger generation.” 

The performance will star Denyce Graves, a mezzo-soprano internationally famous for her roles as Carmen and Dalila. However, this will be her debut performing with Glimmerglass. 

Zembello commented on their upcoming shows by stating that “now, more than ever, we need to find common ground…I believe the arts can help us forge new connections and serve as a catalyst for dialogue.”

Glimmerglass Festival Performers

Performers for the other shows will include Raehann Bryce-Davis, William Burden, Amanda Castro, Denyce Graves, Ian Koziara, Gregory Kunde, Isabel Leonard, Latonia Moore, Eric Owens, Michael Mayes and Alexandria Shiner. In addition, young artist’s in Glimmerglass’ apprentice program will be in the performances as well. 

The season will run from July 15th through August 17th.

You can check the summer 2021 schedule on their website here or with the images below.


The festival is sure to please opera lovers and enthusiasts. Everyone can agree nothing quite beats live entertainment so if you’re looking for a fun, COVID-safe activity for the summer, look no further. Purchase your tickets here.

Featured image from glimmerglass.org

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