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Opera Saratoga Announces 60th Anniversary Summer Festival

July 14, 2021 - July 17, 2021

Opera Saratoga announces today the company’s return to the stage for its 60th Anniversary with a season of performances inspired by the iconic novel Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. Working closely with a team of medical professionals and a dedicated COVID Safety Officer, Opera Saratoga is committed to bringing audiences and artists together safely for the 2021 Summer Festival, which will be produced outdoors during June and July in partnership with the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), Saratoga Spa State Park, and Pitney Meadows Community Farm to provide three unique performance spaces for audiences to safely enjoy two fully staged productions and a special concert. 

In partnership with SPAC, Opera Saratoga will present MAN OF LA MANCHA, the Tony Award winning musical, featuring Broadway and Opera star Zachary James in the role of Cervantes / Don Quixote; and Opera Saratoga favorite, Kelly Glyptis, returning to Saratoga Springs as Aldonza. The production, directed and choreographed by Opera Saratoga’s Artistic and General Director Lawrence Edelson in full compliance with New York State COVID safety guidelines, will feature projection and lighting design by Barry Steele, costumes by Glenn Avery Breed, and will be conducted by Laura Bergquist – who most recently led the musical Allegiance on Broadway. The beloved musical, with a book by Dale Wasserman, music by Mitch Leigh, and lyrics by Joe Darion, was inspired by Miguel de Cervantes’ 17th Century masterpiece Don Quixote. A universal tale of love, hope, and adventure, Man of La Mancha celebrates the perseverance of one man who refuses to relinquish his ideals, and who is determined to see life not as it is, but as it ought to be. The celebrated score includes “The Impossible Dream,” “I, Don Quixote,” “Dulcinea,” “I Really Like Him,” “Little Bird,” and “To Each His Dulcinea.” Three performances are scheduled on the SPAC Amphitheater Stage on July 8th, 9th, and 10th at 8pm.

In a more classical vein, Opera Saratoga will also present DON QUICHOTTE AT CAMACHO’S WEDDING, a one-act comic serenata by Georg Philipp Telemann with a libretto by Daniel Schiebeler, taken from an episode from Part Two of Cervantes’ celebrated novel, in which the Knight and his squire Sancho Panza encounter some rather strange wedding celebrations as they roam the world in search of adventure. The al fresco production will be staged by Rebecca Miller Kratzer and will be conducted by Michelle Rofrano in and around the Columbia Pavilion in Saratoga Spa State Park, with the backdrop of the forest creating a natural set for this pastoral adventure. The performances will feature Festival Artists from Opera Saratoga’s Young Artist Program – the second oldest professional training program for emerging professional singers in the country. Twelve performances are scheduled between July 14th and July 18th, with performances at 11am, 1pm, and 6pm.

The two staged productions will be complemented by QUIXOTIC OPERA, a concert of scenes from other operas inspired by Cervantes’ novel, presented in partnership with Pitney Meadows Community Farm. The program, under the music direction of Laurie Rogers, will feature scenes from Don Quichotte chez la Duchesse (1743) by Joseph Bodin de Boismortier and Charles Simon Favart; Die Hochzeit des Camacho (1827) by Felix Mendelssohn and Friedrich Voigts; Il furioso all’isola di San Domingo (1833) by Gaetano Donizetti and Jacopo Ferretti; Don Quixote (1898) by Wilhelm Kienzl; La Venta de Don Quijote (1902) by Ruperto Chapí and Carlos Fernandez Shaw; Don Quichotte (1910) by Jules Massenet and Henri Caïn; and El retablo de maese Pedro (1923) by Manuel de Falla. Two performances are scheduled on June 24th and 25th at 7pm.

Opera Saratoga’s Artistic and General Director Lawrence Edelson explains that “as we considered how to best return to the stage this summer, I found myself repeatedly drawn to works inspired by Don Quixote. I think we’ve all needed to channel some of the famous knight-errant’s idealism and extreme optimism – and to dream impossible dreams in the face of unprecedented challenges. Thanks to the willingness and enthusiasm of our partners at SPAC, Spa State Park, and Pitney Meadows to dream with us, we are able to come back together as a community to safely enjoy some incredible music and theater together this summer. The enormous size of the SPAC amphitheater will allow us to welcome socially distanced audiences as well as to stage Man of La Mancha with all necessary safety protocols in place, incorporating vivid projection design to enhance the production; while the more intimate spaces in Spa State Park and at Pitney Meadows Community Farm will allow for safe gathering of smaller audiences in covered, open-air venues that allow us to draw upon the natural beauty and intimacy of these unique spaces.”

Leading up to the Festival, Opera Saratoga will also offer an 8-week online course: Another Age, Another Place, Another La Mancha: Don Quixote and the Birth of the Modern World. Taught by Skidmore Professor Grace Burton, this course will explore why the story of an old man’s wanderings through the dusty plains of 17th-century Spain have captured the imagination of philosophers and filmmakers, composers and choreographers, dramatists, and dreamers alike. “To answer this question, we will go back to the time and space of Cervantes’ La Mancha,” says Burton. “What we will find there is a man who, having arrived too late to live in a chivalric world filled with knights in shining armor and damsels in distress, sets out on an adventure that leads not to the past he so fervently admires, but to a future he never could have imagined: the world we now recognize as modern.” The course will be offered via Zoom, on eight consecutive Wednesday evenings, from May 12th through June 30th. 

Opera Saratoga is committed to ensuring that audiences have a safe and enjoyable experience this summer. All performances will be produced in compliance with New York State and CDC guidelines to ensure the health and safety of audience members, artists, and staff. As required by New York State, all ticket buyers will be required to show either proof of vaccination at least 14 days prior to their attendance, or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the performance they are attending. In addition, attendees will be required to complete a health screening questionnaire and pass a mandatory temperature check prior to entry. Audience members will be required to wear masks at all performances, regardless of vaccination status or proof of a negative test. Restrooms will be available with social distancing and enhanced cleaning and sanitation protocols in place in accordance with recommended guidelines. 

Due to social distancing at all performances, tickets are extremely limited this season, and it is anticipated that performances will sell out in advance. At all venues, tickets will be sold in socially distanced pods of two seats. At SPAC, pods of one, two, or four seats will also be available on the SPAC lawn for Man of La Mancha. Very limited single tickets will be available under the roof of the amphitheater for Man of La Mancha, but single tickets are not available for Quixotic Opera or Don Quichotte at Camacho’s Wedding due to the seating configurations at these venues. Advance ticket purchases are required for Quixotic Opera and Don Quichotte at Camacho’s Wedding. Advance ticket purchases are strongly advised for Man of La Mancha. If tickets are available on the day of performance at SPAC, ticket purchases will be subject to an additional fee.
Priority pre-sale for members will begin May 3rd; ticket sales open to the public on May 10th.


Thursday, June 24th @ 7pm
Friday, June 25th @ 7pm

Don Quichotte chez la Duchesse (Boismortier / Favart)
Die Hochzeit des Camacho (Mendelssohn / Voigts)
Il furioso all’isola di San Domingo (Donizetti / Ferretti) 
Don Quixote (Kienzl)
La Venta de Don Quijote (Chapí / Shaw)
Don Quichotte (Massenet / Henri Caïn)
El retablo de maese Pedro (de Falla)

Musical Director: Laurie Rogers 
Featuring Opera Saratoga’s 2021 Festival Artists 
All tickets: $50 (two-person pod)

Tickets for QUIXOTIC OPERA will go on sale for Opera Saratoga Members on Monday, May 3rd; and to the general public on Monday, May 10th:

Opera Saratoga Members should call 518.584.6018 for member priority tickets.
As of May 10th, tickets will be available to the public online at www.spac.org


Thursday, July 8th @ 8pm
Friday, July 9th @ 8pm
Saturday, July 10th @ 8pm

Lyrics by JOE DARION 
Original Production Directed by Albert Marre

Director and Choreographer: Lawrence Edelson
Conductor: Laura Bergquist
Projection and Lighting Design: Barry Steele
Costume Design: Glenn Avery Breed
Wig and Makeup Design: Sue Sittko-Schaefer
Audio Design and Mixing: Paul Bevan

Cervantes / Don Quixote: Zachary James
Aldonza: Kelly Glyptis
Sancho: Brian Yeakley
Governor / Innkeeper: Aidan Smerud
Paco / Padre: Steven Ricks
Antonia: Lauren Cook
The Housekeeper: Whitney Robinson
Anselmo / Barber: Jeremiah Tyson
Captain of the Inquisition / Tenorio: Bradley Bickhardt
Duke / Jose / Dr. Carrasco / Knight of the Mirrors: Joel Balzun
Pedro: Titus Muzi
Maria: Jouelle Roberson
Fermina: Laura Soto-Bayomi
Ensemble: Lisa Buhelos, Naomi Brigell, Blake Jennings, Marcus Lee, De’Ron McDaniel


A: $125 (single tickets) or $250 (two-person pod)
B: $100 (single tickets) or $200 (two-person pod)
C: $80 (single tickets) or $160 (two-person pod)
D: $60 (single tickets) or $120 (two-person pod)
E: $40 (single tickets) or $80 (two-person pod)

LAWN: Lawn tickets are available to purchase for $30 (single tickets); $60 (two-person pod) or $120 (four-person pod)

Tickets for MAN OF LA MANCHA will go on sale for Opera Saratoga and SPAC Members on Monday, May 3rd; and to the general public on Monday, May 10th:

Opera Saratoga Members should call 518.584.6018 for member priority tickets 
SPAC Members should log in to their online account at www.tickets.spac.org for access to member priority tickets
As of May 10th, tickets will be available to the public online at www.spac.org 

MAN OF LA MANCHA is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Tams-Witmark LLC. www.concordtheatricals.com


Wednesday, July 14th @ 11am, 1pm, 6pm
Thursday, July 15th @ 11am, 1pm, 6pm
Friday, July 16th @ 11am, 1pm, 6pm
Sunday, July 18th @ 11am, 1pm, 6pm


Director: Rebecca Miller Kratzer
Conductor: Michelle Rofrano
Don Quichotte: Titus Muzi / De’Ron McDaniel
Sancho: Blake Jennings / Aidan Smerud
Grisotomo: Laura Soto-Bayomi / Jouelle Roberson
Pedrillo: Naomi Brigell / Whitney Robinson
Quiteria: Lisa Buhelos
Camacho: Lauren Cook
Basilio: Jeremiah Tyson / Bradley Bickhardt

All Tickets: $100 (two-person pod)

Tickets for DON QUICHOTTE AT CAMACHO’S WEDDING will go on sale for Opera Saratoga Members on Monday, May 3rd; and to the general public on Monday, May 10th:

Opera Saratoga Members should call 518.584.6018 for member priority tickets 
As of May 10th, tickets will be available to the public online at www.spac.org

8-week course – Wednesday evenings from 7pm – 8:30pm
May 12 – June 30
Instructor: Grace Burton
Cost: $95 ($70 for Opera Saratoga Guild Members)
To register, call 518.584.6018 or visit www.operasaratoga.org

ZACHARY JAMES (debut) – Cervantes / Don Quixote, MAN OF LA MANCHA
Zachary James is an international opera singer, Broadway/TV actor, and recording artist recently named BroadwayWorld’s Performer & Vocalist of the Decade. On Broadway, he’s performed in The Addams Family, South Pacific, and Coram Boy. Off-Broadway productions include The Most Happy Fella, Irma La Douce, Sweeney Todd, and The Pirates of Penzance. Additionally, he’s been seen on TV & FILM in such shows as 30 Rock, Murphy Brown, Succession, Charmed, The Gift, ESPN Great Outdoor Games, Late Nite with David Letterman, and The Tony Awards. On the opera stage, Mr. James has performed at such houses as the Metropolitan Opera, English National Opera, Teatro Real, Opera Philadelphia, LA Opera, Opera Queensland, Arizona Opera, Virginia Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Nashville Opera, Opera Roanoke, Anchorage Opera, Central City Opera, Union Avenue Opera, Shreveport Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Opera Ithaca, Knoxville Opera and more. Mr. James has solo albums including On Broadway, Call Out, and Exordium, available where music is streamed.

Soprano Kelly Glyptis recently recorded Suor Angelica (Suor Angelica) at the ARTfactory and was Fruma Sarah and Golde/Yente cover (Fiddler on the Roof) and Mother Abbess (Sound of Music) in the North American National Tours. Previously at Opera Saratoga as a member of the company’s Young Artist Program, she was seen as Sir Elton John’s Trainer (Vinkensport, or the Finch Opera) and The Foreign Woman/Magda Sorel Cover (The Consul). Miss Glyptis has also performed leading roles and in concert with Virginia Opera, The Atlanta Opera, Fargo- Moorhead Opera, Shreveport Opera, OperaDelaware, Prizery Theatre, Cardinal Stage, Baltimore Concert Opera, Brooklyn Metro Chamber Orchestra, George Mason University, Pied Piper Theatre. Miss Glyptis won 1st place in the 2021 Odin International Music and Canadian International Music Competitions, 3rd place in the John Alexander Competition, audience choice award in Tri- Cities Opera and New Voice of UK Musicals Competitions. Upcoming engagements: Madeleine in Surrey Opera’s World Premiere of Madeleine, Finalist Concert Music International Grand Prix, Winner’s Concert New Voice of UK Musicals on the West End in London, England. 

Laura Bergquist (Music Director/Conductor) most recently was on Broadway, conducting Allegiance, a new musical starring George Takei and Lea Salonga. Off-Broadway, she has conducted Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish and Daddy Long Legs. Ms. Bergquist has also conducted the National Tours of The King and I, Titanic, Miss Saigon, Camelot, The Music Man and My Fair Lady. She has conducted concerts at notable venues such as Avery Fisher Hall, Merkin Hall, Symphony Space, 54Below, Joe’s Pub. Ms. Bergquist has worked with regional companies such as Chicago Shakespeare, Arena Stage, The Old Globe, Paper Mill Playhouse, Music Theatre of Wichita, and Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma and has conducted the world premieres of Emma, Sense and Sensibility, Daddy Long Legs, and Jane Eyre. Ms. Bergquist received her BME in Opera from Wichita State University and MM in Voice and Conducting from Friends University. She is a published composer of the musical, Christmas Letters and an ASCAP awards recipient. Ms. Bergquist is a guest masterclass clinician for colleges around the country and is on faculty at NYU and Friends universities. She has participated in cast recordings, published choral and piano works, and has a large vocal coaching studio in NYC where she lives with her husband in Hell’s Kitchen. 

Michelle Rofrano is an opera and orchestral conductor with an interest in the intersection of art and social activism. Her operatic work includes leading productions of The Queen of Spades and Trouble in Tahiti with The Glimmerglass Festival; Le nozze di Figaro with the Crane School of Music; Trouble in Tahiti, Service Provider, Avow, and A Flourish of Green with Westminster Choir College; Così fan tutte and The Turn of the Screw with DC Public Opera; Così fan tuttewith the Oberlin in Italy opera festival; and Suor Angelica with the New Jersey Opera Project. She has served as assistant conductor for productions of La Bohéme and Le nozze di Figaro with Florida Grand Opera; The Cunning Little Vixen, La Traviata, Blue, and Silent Night with The Glimmerglass Festival; Eugene Onegin and Salome with Spoleto Festival USA; and La Bohéme with Opera Birmingham. Rofrano enjoys performing orchestral repertoire in addition to opera and has led concerts with the Spoleto Festival USA orchestra, and The Little Orchestra Society.

Opera Saratoga, formerly known as Lake George Opera, began with a production of Die Fledermaus at the Diamond Point Theatre on July 5, 1962, playing to an audience of 230. The Company now calls Saratoga Springs home and performs for more than 25,000 people annually. Opera Saratoga celebrates its 60th Anniversary this season. The company serves the communities of Saratoga Springs, the Lower Adirondack and New York State Capital areas by providing access to world-class opera through the production of an annual Summer Festival, as well as year-round activities including extensive educational programs, mentorship of emerging operatic artists, and unique opportunities for the public to experience opera in both our home theater and non-traditional venues that leverage and embrace the unique cultural, historic, and natural resources of the area. To date, the company has performed 104 different fully staged works by 65 different composers, including 42 works by American composers and 14 premiere productions. In 2014, the Board of Directors appointed Lawrence Edelson Opera Saratoga’s Artistic and General Director. Edelson’s leadership has marked a new chapter in the company’s history, with increased emphasis on community partnerships throughout the year, diversification of the company’s repertoire, and a reaffirmed commitment to both the presentation of American works and the mentorship of emerging artists as core activities in the company’s programs each season. For more information, visit www.operasaratoga.org


July 14, 2021
July 17, 2021