COOPERSTOWN, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – The Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown is off the grass and back inside the Alice Busch Opera Theater for the start of its 2022 season.

Opening night was last Friday evening with the first performance of the classic musical “The Sound of Music.”

The season also includes one of the most popular operas of all time, “Carmen.”

Acclaimed singer Denyse Graves is making her directorial debut with Carmen and also singing in “The Passion of Mary Cardwell Dawson” which is about the founder of the National Negro Opera Company.

Other productions include “Tenor Overboard” a new comedic opera using the music of Gioachino Rossini and a double bill of one act operas “Taking Up Serpents” and “Holy Ground.”

After canceling the 2020 season due to COVID, Glimmerglass performed its productions on an outdoor stage last year.

Artistic and General Director Francesca Zambello says it’s wonderful to be back inside the theater for the first time since August 2019.

“We all, of course, suffered a great deal during COVID and continue to do so. But, to be back was very, very special,” said Zambello. “It was a lovely opening night. The Sound of Music is a piece that brings out community and is very much about family. So, it was wonderful for us to all be together with the audience.”

Zambello announced before the start of the season that this would be her last year at the helm. She says that during her 12 years at Glimmerglass, she’s worked to expand the facilities, increase community outreach, establish an apprenticeship program for non-performers, put a greater emphasis on staging and choreography and bring financial stability to the organization.

Zambello, who will continue to work as Artistic Director of the Washington National Opera and as a freelance director, says Glimmergalss and the surrounding community have been a beautiful home for her and her family.

“Really watching it grow for the last 12 years has been thrilling. We really focused on building up our regionalism in the first part of my tenure. In the second part, we worked on addressing a lot of social issues. That’s become part of our core mission.”

This summer, the company has repurposed some of the outdoor viewing boxes it created for Glimmerglass on the Grass and turned them into picnic boxes scattered throughout the property.

In May, Glimmerglass announced that Robert Ainsley will take over as director at the end of this season.

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