The Glimmerglass Festival is finally taking it on the road, and quite a trip it is.
Founded in 1975 as Glimmerglass Opera, Cooperstown’s summer opera company is traveling to the Middle East this week to put on four productions of “The Music Man” at the Royal Opera House Muscat in Oman.
“This is something we’ve never done before, but once we got the invitation and once we realized it was feasible financially, because they’re paying for a significant part of the trip, I don’t think anybody thought it would be a bad idea,” said Linda Jackson, managing director at the Glimmerglass Festival. “We’ve never toured a production, so this is going to be totally new and exciting for all of us.”
“The Music Man,” Meredith Willson’s Tony Award winner for Best Musical in 1958, was part of the 2012 summer season at Glimmerglass and helped the company to a 12 percent increase in ticket sales over 2011. With just a few exceptions, the cast and crew that put on the production this summer in Cooperstown, about 100 people, are currently making their way to Oman.
John Boehr, a former member of the Young Artists Program at Cooperstown, will be playing Professor Harold Hill instead of Dwayne Croft. Elizabeth Futral, however, will be reprising her role as Marian.
“Our Harold Hill was unable to go with us, but just about everybody else that worked on the show this summer is on the trip,” said Jackson. “We’re also going to have one rehearsal in Oman after we all get there.”
“The Music Man” will be performed four times over three days beginning on Tuesday at the Royal Opera House, which seats around 850 and opened in October of 2011. Established by royal decree, the facility is a multi-disciplinary arts and culture center supported by the ruler of Oman, Sultan Qaboos Bin Said.
Officially called the Sultanate of Oman, the country is run by an absolute monarch and is located on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. Jackson and two other members of The Glimmerglass Festival traveled there earlier this year to check out the venue.
“The trip was finalized last January, and three of us went over there in January to look at the theater, which is a beautiful place,” said Jackson. “I had been to Europe but never the Middle East, so it was very beautiful and exciting. It’s a very different country, so it’s a great opportunity for all of us.”
Also on the trip is Francesca Zambello, Glimmerglass artistic and general director.
“Marcia Milgrom Dodge’s production of ‘The Music Man’ was incredibly successful in Cooperstown, and now we bring the charms of Harold Hill and his Marian to Oman,” said Zambello.
Along with “The Music Man” this past summer, Glimmerglass presented productions of Verdi’s “Aida,” Lully’s “Armide,” and “Lost in the Stars” by Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson.
The 2013 summer season will include Wagner’s “The Flying Dutchman,” Lerner and Loewe’s “Camelot,” Verdi’s “King for a Day” and “Passions,” David Lang’s “The Little Match Girl Passion” and Pergolesi’s “Stabat Mater.”
For more information visit www.glimmerglass.org.