Glimmerglass Festival kicks off with Aida

July 5, 2012

Click above to listen as WSKG's Bill Snyder interviews Bass-baritone Eric Owens, tenor Noah Stewart and  mezzo-soprano Daveda Karanas.

The Glimmerglass Festival kicks off its 2012 season at 8 p.m. on July 7 with a new production of Verdi’s Aida.  As part of a season focusing on social, political and cultural issues, Aida will be presented in an intimate setting meant to highlight the personal drama of the main characters and the political conflict at the heart of the work.

Glimmerglass Artistic & General Director Francesca Zambello directs. “Aida is often thought of as a grand opera, a spectacle with elephants and pyramids,” Zambello said. “I have always wanted to present Aida in an intimate setting where we can focus on the love triangle set against the tensions of war and politics in Egypt.”

Nader Abbassi, who has led the Cairo Opera, will conduct.  Costumes are by rising fashion designer Bibhu Mohapatra.  Lee Savage makes his company debut designing sets.  Choreographer Eric Sean Fogel returns to Glimmerglass for Aida after his company debut in 2011 when he choreographed Annie Get Your Gun.  Robert Wierzel – a Glimmerglass veteran – serves as lighting designer.

Adina Aaron will sing the title role in the first three performances of Aida, as soprano Michelle Johnson has been placed on vocal rest by her doctor.  Johnson, a 2011 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Winner, will return to the role July 23.  Aaron has received acclaim for her performances of Aida at the Savonlinna Festival in Finland, and in Marseille.  Bass-baritone Eric Owens, the company’s 2012 Artist in Residence, will appear as Amonasro, and Noah Stewart will perform the role of Radamès.  Daveda Karanas will sing Amneris, fresh off her acclaimed role debut at Arizona Opera in March.

Aida runs through August 25 at the Alice Busch Opera Theater in Cooperstown, New York.  The show runs in repertory with three other mainstage productions: Meredith Willson’s The Music Man, Lully’s Armide, and Maxwell Anderson and Kurt Weill’s Lost in the Stars.  Tickets are available at www.glimmerglass.org and through the Glimmerglass Box Office at (607) 547-2255.