Jonathan Pell, Summer of Opera, Part 13

by Megan Meister

You know the expression “Getting there is half the fun”?

There are only two ways to get to Cooperstown, New York for the Glimmerglass Opera Festival from Dallas.  You can either fly to Albany or Syracuse.

Since American stopped flying non-stop to Syracuse a few years ago, however, both routes involve changing planes in Chicago.  When I got to DFW yesterday I discovered that my flight to Syracuse was delayed because of weather conditions in Chicago (apparently there were thunder storms in the area, a natural phenomenon unfamiliar of late to North Texans…)

The flight delay would have caused me to miss my connection, which might have meant getting stranded in Chicago, if in fact, I would have ever even made it there.  Since I fly so much, though, American Airlines managed to get me on an earlier flight to Chicago (which had also been delayed but actually took off at the time my original flight was scheduled to depart.)

Thanks American!   That must be why they are the official airline of The Dallas Opera!

Anyway, I finally made it to Syracuse and made the pleasant ninety-minute drive to Cooperstown, through the rolling countryside, in record time (and without being stopped for speeding.).

Starting this morning, I am scheduled to hear all the Glimmerglass apprentice artists (who sing small roles throughout the summer season, “cover” some of the leading roles, and also comprise the chorus for the four productions being performed.)  These young singers are selected from the best young talent across the country, and it is here that I have discovered such wonderful singers as Michael Todd Simpson, who last appeared at TDO as “Guglielmo” in COSI FAN TUTTE in the opening season of the Winspear and Joelle Harvey, who debuted with us as “Barbarina” in LE NOZZE DI FIGARO in 2009.

After the auditions I will attend a special benefit matinee, the premiere of a new cabaret act starring Deborah Voigt, written for her by prize winning playwright Terrence McNally and directed by Francesca Zambello, who now runs Glimmerglass.

I am then meeting Michael Heaston, who is the head of the Glimmerglass Apprentice Program, for an early dinner to “catch up.”.  I first met Michael here in Cooperstown several years ago in his first season with the company, and was so impressed with him that he now spends the rest of the year as the Head of Music Staff for The Dallas Opera !

Tonight is a performance of a new double bill of one-act operas by composers John Musto and Jeanine Tesori, and I will report on that tomorrow.

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