Tears for a diva and saying goodbye to Glimmerglass.
|Debbie Voigt. in Annie Get Your Gun. Pic Julieta Cervantes|
We say goodbye to Glimmerglass today and seven opera events in four days in the rolling hills of upstate New York. Divas are supposed to make you cry but Debbie Voigt's one-woman show Voigt Lessons was a tearjerker and the only role she was playing was herself. Her story of her battle with weight gain and alcohol addiction is a moving one. The production is interspersed with music which has touched her life. She had to battle with one final demon today - the sound of a torrential rain storm which forced the soprano to pick up a microphone at one point - something she never needs to do. She can be very funny - telling us of a time she was signing an autograph for a woman who told her Renée Fleming was her absolute favourite soprano. Funny how Debbie Voigt can look like Screw You when you write it out, she laughs.
Later the Same Evening is a modern opera based on characters in Edward Hopper's paintings. He has been dubbed the painter of loneliness and one of the characters in the opera says NYC is somewhere you can be perfectly happy being lonely. The weather has played a central role in the operas this week - it was steamy hot for Carmen, a downpour for Medea and today high humidity had everyone glad to take refuge inside the Alice Busch Theatre - especially when the opening scene of A Blizzard on Marblehead Neck showed just that - huge snow drifts on stage and snowflakes falling. It is the first time I've seen the set get a spontaneous round of applause.
|Buckwheat (right) and Jigs at the Farmer's Museum|
Meanwhile at the Farmer's Museum down the road we stroked sheep, chatted with oxen, milked a fake cow and chased chickens. The staff are enthusiastic with many authentic demonstrations from village life of 150 years ago.
|Taking a break from the opera to milk a cow.|
Over the road at the Fenimore Art Museum you can learn how the village was founded by William Cooper in 1786 at the southern tip of Lake Otsego. There are paintings of scenes from the Leatherstocking Tales including the Last of the Mohicans.
|Outside the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown|
Our memories of Glimmerglass will be the friendliness of the other opera fans, festival director Francesca Zambello who seems to know everyone in the audience, the dramatic weather but the even more dramatic productions. Our favourites were Adam Diegel as Don Jose, Alexandra Deshorties as Medea, Jeffrey Gwaltney as Jason and of course Deborah Voigt as Annie and especially as just Debbie. Also Cooperstown itself is a delight whether you are strolling through the neighbourhoods, exploring the history of America's national sport or like us tonight, gazing out from the grand Otesaga Hotel over Lake Otsego or Glimmerglass as we now know it to be called.
Beer and baseball yesterday in NY
|View from Otesaga Hotel|