The Glimmerglass Festival has announced plans to perform outdoors during the summer of 2021 after canceling its 2020 season because of COVID-19.

The festival, which typically performs in a 915-seat theater, will bring its performances outdoors to a new stage built on the festival grounds, according to a media release.

“We have re-imagined the Glimmerglass experience for the 2021 season,” said Francesca Zambello, the festival's artistic and general director. “While this move outdoors is primarily for the health and safety of our company members, audience members and community, it is in harmony with what people love about Glimmerglass — innovative art and performances in a beautiful location. We are extremely grateful to Andrew Martin-Weber for making this outdoor stage possible, and we look forward to bringing amazing performances to you from the Andrew J. Martin-Weber Lawn Stage.”

"There’s an expression I find evocative, ‘water from the moon,’ meaning that which is unattainable, the impossible,” Martin-Weber said. “For me, this beautiful outdoor stage and the entire 2021 festival is ‘water from the moon,’ and I am grateful to the Glimmerglass staff and all of our supporters for helping to make this a reality. It's an impossible dream come true that I am part of this festival where we come together to build the future of opera."

The festival will offer 90-minute re-imagined performances of opera and musical theater starring guest artists Raehann Bryce-Davis, William Burden, Amanda Castro, Denyce Graves, Ian Koziara, Gregory Kunde, Isabel Leonard, Latonia Moore, Eric Owens, Michael Mayes and Alexandria Shiner, complemented by a 2021 roster of young artists, performers in the company’s apprentice program, the release said. Burden, Leonard and Owens also serve as the festival’s 2021 artists in residence. In addition to their performances this summer, they serve as mentors to the 2021 young artists.

The 2021 season will run from July 15 through Aug.t 17 and offers performances of new productions of Mozart’s "The Magic Flute", Verdi’s "Il Trovatore", Offenbach’s "Songbird (La Périchole)" and the world premiere of "The Passion of Mary Cardwell Dawson", a play with music about the founder of the National Negro Opera Company, the longest-running all-Black opera company in the United States. The season will also feature "Gods and Mortals", an event featuring works of Wagner, and "To the World", a concert of musical theater favorites.

The 2021 season marks the beginning of "Common Ground", a three-year initiative that will unveil six new pieces that tell stories of life in America.

The initiative begins this summer with "On Trac |<\", a dance piece composed by Nicolas Lell Benavides and choreographed and performed by Amanda Castro, that looks at the intersection of human and machine in rural America, the release said. This summer, the festival will also begin creating a film version of "The Knock", a world-premiere one-act opera by Aleksandra Vrebalov and Deborah Brevoort that tells a moving story centered on a group of military wives awaiting news of their deployed husbands.

“These commissions will showcase the diversity of the American experience through a variety of creative voices and approaches to storytelling,” Zambello said.

The lawn stage will be built on the south side of the festival’s campus, and the festival lawn will be divided into distanced "Festival Squares" the release said. The squares may be shared by up to four people of the same party. Guests are encouraged to bring low-profile chairs or blankets. The festival will also offer "Glimmerglass Boxes" — booths which provide cover and seating for up to six people of the same party. Festival tables are also available for audience members in the same party.

Guided by evolving regulations from New York state and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Festival Health and Safety Committee "continues to refine its Health and Safety Plan for the 2021 season," the release said. The plan will reflect guidance from public health authorities and Bassett Healthcare Network, as well as industry best practices. State and local approvals must be attained prior to rehearsals and performances commencing. More information will be released as details are confirmed, the release said.

Tickets will go on sale March 31. For more information, visit


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