As the summer opera season begins, major changes are coming to the two major companies in our region. Last month, Lawrence Edelson, artistic and general director of Opera Saratoga, announced his departure at the end of the summer, his eighth season with the company. In the fall, he will take up a teaching and producing position at the University of Houston, while continuing with his own development company, the American Lyric Theater. This follows the announcement in October that Francesca Zambello is retiring, also at the end of the current season, after 12 years as General and Artistic Director of the Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown. She extended her contract as Artistic Director of the Washington National Opera and remains a leading director on the international stage.
The transformative tenures of Edelson and Zambello make them tough acts to track. Zambello changed the company’s working name from Glimmerglass Opera to Glimmerglass Festival, scheduled an annual American musical, and added many other initiatives like children’s opera, an annual visit to Attica prison, and guest appearances. events, including with the late Supreme Court Justice. Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The physical factory has also undergone major upgrades. At Opera Saratoga, Edelson has taken the quality of productions to a much higher level and refreshed the repertoire with new and recent works, as well as adventures in Baroque and Spanish opera.