Glimmerglass changes chief

Glimmerglass changes chief


norman lebrecht

October 18, 2021

Glimmerglass Festival has announced that Artistic and General Director Francesca Zambello will step down after the 2022 festival, her 12th.

‘My years with The Glimmerglass Festival have been the best of my life,’ Zambello said. ‘I got married and built a home here with Faith and our son, Jackson, and the Cooperstown community has become an integral part of our lives. I am so proud of this company and all we have accomplished over the last decade. This is not goodbye; it is a time of transition and excitement for this company I adore. I am excited to witness and support the beginning for the next era of the ever-evolving Glimmerglass Festival.’



  • Just a member of the audience says:

    She’s been an effective, innovative, and charismatic leader and will be missed. But change is good, and Glimmerglass will move on. I look forward to the next chapter.

  • Larry says:

    She is, of course, also artistic director of the Washington National Opera.

  • Tiredofitall says:

    If only the Met had a GM of Francesca’s caliber. But, the old guard being just a TAD sexist, I won’t live to see the day.

    Brava to Francesca for a job well done!

  • Not buying it says:

    Somehow she has managed to rally quite a cheering section over the years (even here), but lots of patrons especially in Washington, D.C. have been cringing at her bland, virtue-signaling productions — a similar departure from the WNO can’t happen soon enough.

    • Singeril says:

      Her “Ring” was grandly received in the press and jam-packed in the audience..totally sold out. She’s had some misses but many great successes as well.

    • Tiredofitall says:

      Should that happen, other companies will gladly take WNO’s loss.

      What exactly were WNO’s glory days??????

  • Anonymous says:

    This likely is the end of Glimmerglass as we know it. Francesca’s wife has been covering the budget shortfalls every season to keep them in the black. There is no way they continue to attract the quality of artists after she leaves, as many of them worked there out of loyalty to Francesca and the fact that she will hire those singers in other companies that pay better fees. Glimmerglass will likely fall back into the category of any number of smaller US summer festivals that focus solely on hiring singers that are just starting out, which can be a good change, but it will definitely be quite different.

    • David G says:

      That’ll be fine. I saw many singers at Glimmerglass who were just starting out — Christine Goerke, Nathan Gunn, William Burden, many others — and they were just as good, perhaps better, than the stars attracted by Zambello.

    • MWnyc says:

      Well, that’s more or less what Glimmerglass did before — until then-director Paul Kellogg (who got the festival attention by doing the summer-festival-using-inexpensive-young-singers thing very well) took the helm at New York City Opera as a second job. Then more prominent singers started doing Glimmerglass for the same reasons they’ve since done so under Zambello.

      So all Glimmerglass needs to do to keep things as they are is hire someone good who already runs an opera company elsewhere, one that doesn’t perform during the summer.

      (Well, they need a good fundraiser, too.)