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Notes From Francesca

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Glimmerglass is on the road again…but…not me
In my last Traveling iPad (if you haven’t been receiving them, sign up here), I told you about my life on the “Acela/Amtrak Express Lane” — dashing to and fro between DC, NYC and Cooperstown. While this remains my “m.o.,” my colleagues are now on the road, hearing Young Artist auditions and doing all that’s required behind-the-scenes to take Glimmerglass productions to exotic lands…including Tasmania! (Seriously!)

  • How our garden grows. In my last Traveling iPad, I talked about the relationship between my other job as Artistic Director of Washington National Opera and my position at Glimmerglass. One of my hopes is that we can find ways to benefit both organizations, and even make it possible to do better work by sharing resources and ideas. Our Head of Music Staff and Director of the Glimmerglass Young Artists Program (YAP), Michael Heaston, also oversees the Washington National Opera young artists program. As a result, Jacqueline Echols and Patrick O’Halloran (the divine lovers in King for a Day) and Deborah Nansteel, our Mary from Dutchman, are all with me this fall in the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program in DC, for example. Then, as singers complete both programs, I want to cast them in as many roles as possible at Glimmerglass. As I work on casting for this summer, more than half the principal roles will be sung by artists who began their careers at Glimmerglass. My hope is that you, the audience, will make special connections with these talented performers as you watch their careers evolve.
  • Cincinnati, Chicago, Houston, DC, New York City, Syracuse, Ithaca. And so this process begins anew, right now, as Glimmerglass staff — Managing Director Linda Jackson, new Music Director Joe Colaneri, Michael Heaston and I — audition young artists in these cities across the country. More than 1,200 applicants applied for the 49 slots this year, a record. Stay tuned for more on this. The thing to remember is that we may hear some amazing voices, but they have to fit into our complex casting grid for the season’s productions.
  • A big dramatic Rubik’s cube. This month we begin the process of figuring out how all four productions will work together on the stage. We already have the designs, and next month we bring the designers and directors together for a meeting to look at models and drawings in one place, analyze the ease — or not — of scenic changeovers and determine what may need to be revised to make all of this work together. It’s like a big dramatic Rubik’s cube. This is one of my favorite meetings of the year. Stand by for more on this.
  • Glimmerglass goes to Tasmania. We all know about our stellar international reputation. I am thrilled to report that Glimmerglass’ 2003 production of Orlando will be going to Tasmania as part of Hobart Baroque‘s festival! Abby Rodd, our Director of Production who many of you know, gets to go and show the folks there how to put it together. When we rent a production, putting together the many pieces of scenery requires training from our production staff. I am so jealous of Abby; I wish I could go in the crate with the scenery!
  • Eat local. In my new East Coast-centric life, I enjoyed watching fall go through its colorful motions as I traveled up and back along the Hudson between Albany and DC. Now that I am back in Cooperstown, the lake is grey, but still reflects the sky so beautifully. There are deep and powerful images to be seen here in the cold seasons, and I feel closely in tune with nature. I believe very strongly in supporting organic producers and local agriculture (I urge you to do so wherever you live). I compare my appreciation for organically-produced food to why I love opera: it is like the pure sound of an orchestra and voices without amplification. We are lucky here in Upstate New York because there is excellent organic beef, pork, lamb, chickens, turkeys, milk, cheese and produce.
  • Smashing pumpkins. The quantity of local vegetables goes way down in the winter, but I really believe in using what I can. So humor me on this simple pumpkin recipe. Pumpkins are with us from now until Christmas and are each a thing of beauty set against the harsh pre-winter landscape. The Italians (of course!) do great things with them. Here are two of my favorites:

ROASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS (my kind). Also note they are so high in vitamin E and in magnesium (hello, women).

  • So go buy ONE MORE pumpkin this fall.
  • Cut it in half using a cleaver, and if you don’t have one, push a big knife into the pumpkin and use a hammer to slowly crack thru it so it will not slip and cut you. If you have neither then just throw it on the floor and it will break open … ideally with the help of a 5-year-old, as I had.
  • Dig out the insides and put the seeds into water. This is important to wash them clean as well as get extra moisture into them.
  • Drain them in a sieve.
  • Toss them with a little olive oil, sea salt or kosher salt, and fresh parsley, thyme or rosemary, which grows wild everywhere.
  • Spread them out on a cookie sheet on tin foil and bake at a high heat 400°F for about five minutes, shake them around a bit and bake five more minutes.
  • You can put them in a jar and eat them as a snack or put on salads as a topping. They last a long time. Also … they make great gifts.

SO WHAT ABOUT THE INSIDE?

  • Take the smashed or hacked pumpkin pieces and put them on a cookie sheet.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes at 400°F.
  • Scoop out the insides and puree with some fresh olive oil in a food processor.
  • Use this puree for pasta sauce, soup, pie, risotto and a myriad of things you might normally use with tomato sauce.

December 31 will be here soon. If you have not renewed your support during 2013 — or if you are able to make an additional donation this year, please help us get a jump on the exciting 2014 season with a gift to Glimmerglass before year-end.

If you are interested in learning about sponsorship opportunities or would like to contribute stock, please contact the Development office at (607) 547-0700 ext. 209 or 297. Also please call if you are interested in making a charitable IRA rollover gift. The Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 has been reinstated through Dec. 31 of this year. Individuals who are at least 70 -1/2 can make a donation directly from an IRA, and not be taxed for the income, and we’ve had many friends take advantage of this over the past two years to our and their benefit.

Thank you all again for being part of the Glimmerglass family. More again soon…and please send me YOUR recipes!

Warmly,

Francesca Zambello

 

 

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