The Glimmerglass Festival Announces Plans for Summer 2021

New Outdoor Stage to Host Performances
Three-Year Initiative for New Works Announced
World Premiere of The Passion of Mary Cardwell Dawson stars Denyce Graves

Cooperstown, New York — The Glimmerglass Festival, the summer opera and musical theater festival in Cooperstown, New York, has announced plans for the summer of 2021 in the wake of its 2020 season cancelation due to COVID-19.

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

“We have re-imagined the Glimmerglass experience for the 2021 season,” said Francesca Zambello, Festival Artistic & 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.”

On a stage designed by Peter J. Davison inspired by Cooperstown’s surroundings, 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. 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 July 15 through August 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 new work 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. 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 which 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 Logistics

The Andrew J. Martin-Weber 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 Squares may be shared by up to four people of the same party — guests are encouraged to bring low-profile chairs, blankets and more to enjoy their portion of the Festival Lawn. In addition to the Squares, the Festival will 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 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 2021 Glimmerglass Festival is generously sponsored by the following Season Sponsors: Betsy and Ed Cohen, Chris and Bruce Crawford, Elizabeth M. and Jean-Marie R. Eveillard, Faith E. Gay and Francesca Zambello, Nellie and Robert Gipson, Jacqueline B. Mars and Andrew J. Martin-Weber.

Tickets go on sale March 31, 2021. For more information, visit

Where to Stay

Grand Colonial Bed and Breakfast, located at 112 W Main Street, Herkimer, NY is the ideal place to stay when attending The Glimmerglass Festival. Here’s why:

Short, Scenic Drive

You can’t truly appreciate The Glimmerglass Festival without taking in the beauty that surrounds it. Those who make the quick 35-minute drive from Grand Colonial Bed and Breakfast are inspired during a journey through quintessential New York countryside, filled with rolling hills, orchards, and rustic farmlands. The natural beauty of the short trip is as memorable as the Festival itself.

Here’s to Hospitality

Our historic house is a reflection of our commitment to hospitality – a perfect harmony between the past and present. After attending The Glimmerglass Festival, you’ll want a comfortable and well-appointed place to rest and a delicious homemade breakfast to get you going again the next morning.  Our guest rooms offer modern-day convenience with private en suite bathrooms, premium cable television and complimentary Wi-Fi. Premium Beekman 1802 amenities, signature bathrobes and slippers will help you relax before tucking in for a great night’s sleep in our luxury bedding. A stay at Grand Colonial Bed and Breakfast is an experience outside the ordinary and the perfect alternative to a cookie-cutter hotel.

Incredible Value

Lodging in the Village of Cooperstown can be hard to find and really expensive. This is particularly true during the summer months and especially during on Festival performance dates.  We know it’s not just about finding a great rate on a place stay, so we’re all about exceeding expectations and delivering incredible value to our guests. With a promise of personalized service, rates as low as half of those in Cooperstown, no pre-payment to reserve your room, free cancellation, and a return guest discount, you can’t go wrong booking your stay at Grand Colonial Bed and Breakfast.

Our Stay Safe & Well Commitment

To learn more about what we’re doing to ensure the health and safety of our guests during the COVID-19 pandemic, please read our Stay Safe & Well Commitment.