Glimmerglass Festival gets $300K boost

In its 40th year, the Glimmerglass Festival, a two-month summer opera and theater program in Coopers

In its 40th year, the Glimmerglass Festival, a two-month summer opera and theater program in Cooperstown, is getting $300,000 from the state to help with a multiyear renovation project.

State Sen. James Seward, R-Milford, said in a news release that he pushed for the funding to be included in the 2015-16 state budget, and it will go toward repairs and upgrades to the lobby, pathways and other amenities.

The summer festival sells more than 30,000 tickets annually during July and August, and it draws half of those visitors from within a two-hour radius, according to Glimmerglass Marketing Director June Dzialo.

Seward said the $300,000 investment will “pay real dividends” for hotels, restaurants and other local businesses that benefit from the tourist traffic.

Dzialo said the renovation is in its very early stages, but will consist of two phases: Phase one, already underway, involves beautifying and cleaning the current facilities at the Alice Busch Opera Theater, built in 1987; phase two will involve more intensive renovations, including construction of a deck overlooking the pond on the grounds, as well as additional wings to shelter patrons.

Overall, the project is expected to cost about $750,000, said Dzialo.

The Glimmerglass Festival was founded in 1975 by “a group of local residents who really wanted to have an opera house in the area,” according to Dzialo. They started in the Cooperstown High School theater, then, in the 1980s, raised enough money to build the Alice Busch Opera Theater at the northern end of Otsego Lake.

Since then, the festival has been presenting three operas and one musical each summer in July and August, with up to seven performances a week at its peak.

“We are delighted to be able to honor our history and evolution from a grass-roots organization to an international festival with improved patron amenities that will be undertaken over the next two years,” stated Glimmerglass Festival board Chairman Sherwin M. Goldman. “The festival now annually attracts thousands of visitors from throughout the state, the country and the world, and these upgrades and new provisions will greatly enhance their experience.”

Categories: Entertainment

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