The sad news was released a few days ago: Francesca Zambello, the most innovative opera directors in the world, and who gave the Glimmerglass Festival its greatest years, was ending her tenue after the 2022 season.
Articles by Seth Lachterman
The streaming experience, June 27 at 5 PM, depicted Mr. Hamelin behind a view of gray skies on a rainy seacoast day replete with undulating seagulls underscoring Schubert’s somber and dark study with the neatly folded ensemble of insouciance, ribbons of color, and fleeting flights of weightlessness.
For over a decade I’ve covered the Glimmerglass Festival and have celebrated its ascension to an internationally lauded event under the direction of the boundlessly energetic and resourceful Franscesca Zambello. The cancelation of the 2020 season was another of many tragic cancelations of sister opera houses world-wide.
Maestro Søndergård gave his all, with the Berliners spurning any sign of pandemic gloom. Of course, the program reflected the bitter irony of the variegated excesses of the 1920s. Like a dream of a pristine past, Sibelius’s Sixth, the centerpiece, stood in reflective and almost solemn relief.
Ax and Ma chatted about their relationship over the years and the personal idiosyncrasies that sustain or annoy them both. To engage novice listeners, the Beethoven’s sonata became the subject of some slightly nerdy talk about the tonic-dominant-tonic arches that propelled the Beethoven’s sonata. Finally, somehow, they drifted to discussing chef Jacques Pépin’s freaky tolerance for seizing hot skillets its supposed relevance in interpreting the piano attacks in the scherzo.
In making this work seem a Romantic tour-de-force, yet being true in spirit to the music’s main mission is really astonishing and tricky to pull off. Having musical taste and a keen insight to Bach’s architecture gives room for his pianism.
The program in some ways reflected mood swings that strike us these days: melancholy, valediction, the hauntings of past ardors, and the impulse to get the hell out
With the dreariest seasons of late fall and winter fading away, those days Wallace Stevens described as being “evening all afternoon,” a few Union offerings I attended were enough to nourish the soul to spring in which a Beethoven’s Semiquincentennial will be celebrated.