Artistic Director Jonathan Pell, Glimmerglass Part I

by Megan Meister

Otsego Lake, the setting for the Glimmerglass Festival.

The Glimmerglass Festival in upstate New York is my last stop on my summer travels.  This is only the second season under general and artistic director Francesca Zambello and is filled with interesting repertoire in unusual productions.

Last night was Jean-Baptiste Lully’s ARMIDE, first performed in 1686, and was a co-production with Toronto’s Opera Atelier, a company dedicated to performing Baroque opera.  The entire cast from Canada was brought to the festival intact, and it was interesting to observe a production so dedicated to early performance style, both musical and theatrical.

The sets and costumes were colorful, but alas the singers for the most part were not.  Obviously cast for their youth and beauty and ability to move gracefully, only soprano Peggy Kria Dye in the title role was completely successful vocally.

More a ballet with occasional arias, the production style was a little too precious for my taste, but the audience seemed to love it.

I have auditions this morning and again tomorrow, and will hear all the apprentice singers (who make up the chorus and sing some of the smaller roles.)  This summer’s repertoire required an unusually large group and I will hear about 40 young singers over two days.

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