Opera over the border

Across the border with a free cup of New York coffee.
"You singers?" asks the homeland security officer at the border, when we tell him we're heading into New York State for an opera festival.
"Only in the car," we reply. "We're more listeners really."
We are in Cooperstown in upstate New York for the annual Glimmerglass Opera Festival. It's a five hour drive from Montreal but a bit longer when you answer lots of questions about opera at the border.

Hibiscus in Saratoga Springs
One of the joys of living in Canada is the road trip. Throwing everything in the back of the car and taking off. I found myself strangely comforted by the signs in miles not kilometres on the roads and the lack of French. I just need to see a Taco Bell, not available in Quebec, and I will be in heaven. We stopped at the beautiful Saratoga Springs on the drive down. Many think of the States and think of Disney, burgers and strip malls. This is a 200-year-old town with stunning architecture, tasteful cafes and lots of horse pictures. It hosts the oldest thoroughbred racing in the States.
The Adelphi Hotel in Saratoga Springs
Arriving in Cooperstown we head for the Alice Busch Theatre, with its removeable sides, as the sun is setting in our cowgirl hats. No not some dreadful faux pas at the opera - the first of four shows is Annie Get Your Gun. Americans always like it when you are from away and you wear a cowboy hat so we got a lot of comments.
The festival has been going since the 70s
The Glimmerglass Festival is named after the fictional lake of Glimmerglass in James Fenimore Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales. We are currently in the Leatherstocking region, which I'm not sure is a tourist area or a lifestyle choice. Mr Cooper wrote Last of the Mohicans and his family founded this town.
Cowgirl hat at the Alice Busch Theatre
One of opera's leading lights, Deborah Voigt played a wonderful thigh-slapping Annie. She is a good comic actress and got a rousing reception for some of the well-known numbers from the show - Anything you can Do and There's no Business like Show Business. We did think of throwing our hats into the air but resisted.
Carmen doll anyone?

As well as the usual t-shirts and water bottles with the festival logo - an opera produces a better class of souvenir. We spotted these Carmen dolls which sing too and tomorrow night's show is the real thing. Can't wait.
We stayed at www.creeksideny.com, where the owner, Gwen Ermlich, has a very long and colourful history with the Glimmerglass Festival.

Read: next post on Cooperstown

My post on opera on the Montreal Metro


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