Every year in upstate New York, a grand festival is held celebrating performance in Opera and Musical Theater. The Glimmerglass annual Gala is held to benefit the on-going educational and artistic experience that is the Glimmerglass Festival.
Upon entering the famous and beautiful Metropolitan Club, gala attendees were greeted in a very friendly and welcoming manner by all in service for the evening. After a brief cocktail hour, patrons entered the evenings “performance hall” and awaited the show to begin.
The hostess for the evening, Francesca Zambello, quickly and charmingly introduced the first performance duo, Noah Stewart and Nadine Sierra singing the Aria, “E il Sol Dell’anima” from Giuseppe Verde’s Rigolleto. The duet was accompanied by Michael Heaston, the noted and well respected collaborative pianist for most of the evening’s performances.
Nadine Sierra was absolutely stunning, her soprano voice as beautiful as the spring birds we have been longing to hear. Her duet with the powerful and very handsome Noah Stewart was delightful. To open the show with such strong performers can be risky, yet comforting to patrons who now have a set tone for the quality of the evening.
Eric Owens presented an attention-worthy rendition of “Infelice!… e tuo credevi” from Verdi’s Ernani, followed by David Pittsinger’s rendition of “This Nearly was Mine” from South Pacific by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. Both Male performances were magnificent and telling of the passionate program that is the Glimmerlass Festival.
Glimmerglass’ inspiring 2013 Co-artists in residence, Nathan and Julie Gunn introduced the lovely and talented Andriana Chuchman, who performed the second duet of the night with Nathan Gunn. Gunn and Chuchman graced us with “Make Believe” from Showboat, also composed by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein. Immediately following, Nathan gave a second performance, in which he flawlessly sang “Die Taubenpost” a song from Franz Schubert’s Schwanengesang song cycle,with a piano accompaniment by his wife Julie Gunn. Congratulations to the wonderful couple for being the very first “Co-artists” in residence at Glimmerglass. The seasoned couple are very deserving of the honor and great things are to be expected.
In an exciting way to start the bottom of the show, Tenor, Richard Cox, delivered a powerful and booming version of “Wintersturme” from Richard Wagner’s Die Walkure as Sigmund. Richard Cox is a very powerful tenor, who deserves to be continuously watched in the Opera World as his career follows in the path of his talents.
A crowd and personal favorite of the evening, Klea Blackhurst commanded the stage with her vulnerable and honest rendition of “There’s No Business Like Show Business” from Irving Berlin’s Annie Get Your Gun. She was accompanied by Michael Rice on the piano. The performance was comical, well sung, and Blackhurst’s anecdotes about her Glimmerglass experience were well received and perfectly timed.
To close the show, Jennifer Check belted “Dich teure Halle” from Richard Wagner’s Tannhauser. Check’s body language was so intentional and her technique sans weakness. The strength of her voice was astonishing, and her presence, dominating but pleasant. The beautiful soprano most certainly ended the evening on a high note, pun, very much intended.
Overall, Glimmerglass is a festival worth patronizing this July if you are still working on your summer plans. For those not particularly interested in opera, musical theater is represented during the festival as well. For more information, visit www.glimmerglass.org
– Cheryl Dearborne
Photos by Karli Cadel