The Latest Update
BLUE featured on the Breaking Glass podcast
The latest episode of the Breaking Glass podcast features conversations centering on the issues that influenced the composer and librettist of BLUE. Listen here: https://radiopublic.com/breaking-glass-GmRjKw/ep/s1!982fd
First workshop of BLUE
August 25, 2018 – Cooperstown, NY
Artistic and General Director Francesca Zambello of The Glimmerglass Festival introduces the invited audience of industry leaders and Festival artists and staff to the first workshop and sing-through of BLUE by Jeanine Tesori and Tazewell Thompson. Also, in attendance are members of the BLUE production team including the Set Designer Donald Eastman and Lighting Designer Robert Wierzel. The workshop cast brought together 8 young artists from around the US and principal artist Kenneth Kellogg who will sing the role of THE FATHER in the world premiere on July 14, 2019.
BLUE and BREAKING GLASS NEWS
Followers! For more information about BLUE and to hear conversations with the creators and artists about the contemporary social issues in opera today, please listen to the BREAKING GLASS PODCAST – debuting August 4, 2018 wherever you download your favorite podcasts. BREAKING GLASS NATIONAL FORUM livestreamed conversations are available now at glimmerglass.org/breaking-glass where you can also subscribe to hear more about The Glimmerglass Festival and the upcoming podcast.
The Glimmerglass Festival has commissioned composer Jeanine Tesori and librettist Tazewell Thompson to write a new opera about race in America, entitled Blue, which will be given eight world premiere performances throughout July/August 2019, in the Festival’s 900-seat opera theater. Blue brings audiences into the emotional epicenter of an African-American couple — a father and a mother — who lose their teenage son when he is killed by a police officer. The opera is inspired by contemporary events and Black literature, including Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me and James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, and focuses on the joys and sorrows of bringing a child into a world in which African-American families are forced to question if their sons’ lives matter.
Blue is the Festival’s 13th commission. Although Glimmerglass offers a wide range of music each season, the production and presentation of new and recent American work is an anchor of the company’s programming. With this commitment, Glimmerglass has progressively focused on creating seasons intended to spark important conversations about today’s world by braiding together mainstage repertory and ancillary programs that delve into the difficult and sensitive process of transforming news-making real-life issues into opera.
Composer Jeanine Tesori on Blue: “When I read Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me, I also thought about James Baldwin and how race isn’t represented on the musical stage as much as I’d wish, and that it implicates all of us. I also thought about the concrete reality that [African-American] librettist/director Tazewell Thompson shared, of being patted down by the police, of the look in the eye of a cop who stepped in front of him while he walked across the Brooklyn Bridge in a protest march. The policeman said to him, ‘So what are you going to do?’ What can you do? Our response can be ‘to make work.’ The abstraction of music and the epic quality of the operatic voice as a foil to the all-too-real state of race politics in the United States is a combustible combination. There is power in the musical story of a family, of a Black man leading his family. No men in jail, no slaves — just a Black man; the musical searching for hope versus reality; and the right every human being has to be safe in his or her own body. There is a deep history of that lack of safety and an imperative of hope that we must keep in the conversation.”
Pictured: Bass Kenneth Kellogg, who will sing the role of “The Father” in Blue, with his son, born October 2017. The cast for the world premiere production also includes internationally-renowned bass-baritone Eric Owens. Sets will be by Donald Eastman, costumes by Jessica Jahn and lighting by Robert Wierzel.
Start and End Dates
07/07/2019 — 08/31/2019
Cooperstown, New York