THE COOPERSTOWN CRIER
Glimmerglass Festival artistic and general director Francesca Zambello was named the artistic director for the Washington National Festival last week, according to a media release from the WNO.
Zambello will assume the new position Jan. 1. She has served as the company’s artistic advisor since June 2011.
Her new position with the WNO will not affect her role with the Glimmerglass Festival, according to Brittany Lesavoy, the director of public relations for the Festival.
“My position as artistic director at Washington National Opera will complement my work at Glimmerglass, not unlike my predecessor Paul Kellogg, who ran both Glimmerglass and New York City Opera,” Zambello said in an email. “As my work outside our festival expands, I am able to bring more and more ideas, collaborations and opportunities back to Glimmerglass. I am very passionate about our Glimmerglass Festival as well as the surrounding Central New York community — I actually just bought a new home in the area. I look forward to continuing collaborations with area organizations and artists this coming season and beyond.”
Zambello will have responsibility for the WNO’s artistic vision and direction, including repertoire and casting. She will work in close collaboration with Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser, WNO Executive Director Michael L. Mael, and WNO Music Director Philippe Auguin to further the company’s long history of artistic excellence, the release stated.
She will also oversee the artistic growth of the company’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program and will guide the future of the American Opera Initiative, WNO’s new American opera commissioning program. She will continue to direct one production each season.
“Cesca is both a brilliant director and a highly effective administrator,” WNO Board Chairwoman Jacqueline B. Mars said in the release. “Her stature in the international opera community enhances the company and I have great confidence that she will take WNO in a positive direction.”
“Francesca Zambello will bring much passion and vision to WNO in her expanded role as Artistic Director,” Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser said in the release. “Her deep commitment to WNO’s mission, its legacy of rich artistic programming, and its outreach and education initiatives will help bring WNO to a new level of artistic achievement.”
Zambello has directed numerous productions for WNO and will direct her new production of “Show Boat” in May 2013. She directed an acclaimed production of “Aida” with the Glimmerglass Festival this season.
According to the Glimmerglass Festival website, she began her career as the Artistic Director of the Skylight Opera Theatre and as an assistant director to the late Jean-Pierre Ponnelle. She has been a guest lecturer at Harvard, Juilliard and Yale. An American who grew up in Europe, she speaks French, Italian, German and Russian and is a graduate of Colgate University in Hamilton.
She became the Glimmerglass Festival Artistic and General Director Sept. 1, 2010.
“It will be an enormous pleasure and honor to expand my role with WNO as its Artistic Director, maintaining the high standards set by my predecessors and leading WNO into the future,” said Ms. Zambello. “I will respect what appeals to our long-time patrons and supporters while at the same time work hard to attract new audiences to opera. I look forward to raising the profile of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, continuing the great work already underway with the American Opera Initiative, and highlighting special and unique repertoire and artists that only the intimacy of the Kennedy Center affords us. This is a challenge I embrace unequivocally, and I look forward to sharing more of my plans in the coming months.”
“Francesca Zambello will bring much passion and vision to WNO in her expanded role as Artistic Director,” stated Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser. “Her deep commitment to WNO’s mission, its legacy of rich artistic programming, and its outreach and education initiatives will help bring WNO to a new level of artistic achievement.”