I'm off today on my annual trip to the Glimmerglass Opera Festival in Cooperstown, NY. Their policy under the new directorship of Francesca Zambello is to devote one of the four annual productions to a classic American Musical Comedy performed in the original keys, with the original orchestration but WITHOUT amplification of any kind. This year it is Meredith Wilson's The Music Man.
The operas are Verdi's hardy perennial Aida and Lulli's Armide along with Kurt Weill's Lost in the Stars, a famous musical play on the evils of Apartheid during the time of its formulation in South Africa. Weill's music requires operatic voices. Another Zambello innovation, the resident big star who spends the summer in a wide variety of activities at the Festival, this year has brought the sensational baritone Eric Owens to Cooperstown. Owens will sing the lead in Lost in the Stars as well as Amonasro in Aida.
On Saturday morning, I'll head out to see what's left of the great antique barns that used to be among the best I'd seen anywhere but which were closing rapidly last year, unable to survive the under 30-somethings' preference for Ikea to great furniture from the past. Along the way, there'll be a stop at the Ommegang Brewery for a couple of cases of their magnificent Belgian-style beer (secondary fermentation in the bottle as with champagne).
Glimmerglass has announced its offerings for 2013 already -- resident artist next season will be heartthrob baritone Nathan Gunn who will sing Launcelot in Lerner & Loewe's Camelot. There will also be Wagner's The Flying Dutchman, Verdi's early-career Un Giorno di Regno, and a rather odd double bill called Passions consisting of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize-winning opera, The Little Match Girl Passion and, from the 18th century, Pergolesi's Stabat Mater, a religious cantata which may or may not be staged -- I can't tell from the publicity.
With thanks to George Takei, "How things went afowl between good friends"