Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Before Glimmerglass Fest, a Delectable Amuse Bouche

Francesca Zambello, Eric Owens, Luke Frazier and Adrienne Arsht in the Great Hall of the Metropolitan Club at the GL!MMERATA gala. Photo by Karli Cadel.

NEARLY a week later the voices of Sean Panikkar and Dwayne Croft still ring in the ear. In their hands, the friendship through all adversity at the core of Verdi’s Don Carlo was heartfelt and spirited.

The duo was perfectly in sync – ebbing and flowing like the surf – their respective tenor and baritone at once expressing individuality and unity. It was rather chilling. Their longtime friends are two men who are passionately in agape love – both tender and ferocious. If only all could express their feelings so guilelessly.

The performers, in concert at GL!MMERATA in the dimly lit West Lounge of the tony and rococo Metropolitan Club, offered but a taste of what is to come at this summer’s 37th The Glimmerglass Festival nee Glimmerglass Opera. GL!MMERATA is the festival’s annual fundraising gala. Dancing, dessert and dinner also figured in the evening's merrymaking.

Haunting best describes Eric Owens’ “Lost in the Stars,” an exploration of the spiritual crisis experienced by a South African priest. It is based on the novel, “Cry, the Beloved Country,” by Alan Paton. The Metropolitan Opera star’s baritone was smooth and velvety, akin to a rich dark chocolate sauce. It hugged and embraced ever so urgently, palpably evoking a man’s anguished heart.

Aerial view of the interior of the Alice Busch Opera Theater. Photo by Peyton Lea for The Glimmerglass Festival.

For the uninitiated, Glimmerglass is an eight-week summer opera and music theater festival that is staged on scenic grounds near Cooperstown, New York along the shores of Otesgo Lake. Think of it as New York's Tanglewood. Glimmerglass, the second most prolific opera in New York behind The Met Opera, according to its new (only one season in the can) and indomitable Artistic and General Director Francesca "Cesca" Zambello, has produced some of the greatest opera talents working today. Of course, it has also brought joy to the lives of thousands of opera lovers for nearly four decades.

Anyone who is skittish about opera and thinks everyone involved is a terrible snob has clearly not heard of Glimmerglass. It is fairly democratic, not to suggest, for instance, that The Met Opera isn’t. However, that perception of the latter persists.

No so for Glimmerglass. This could explain in part why every July and August it attracts visitors from all 50 states and a number of foreign countries. This year, the 900-seat Alice Busch Opera Theater and other locations will serve as a backdrop for productions of “Aida,” "The Music Man,” “Armide” and “Lost in the Stars,” as well as numerous special programs, including Q&As, lectures, previews and a special concert by Artist in Residence EO. In “Eric Owens Sings Billy Eckstine,” the baritone pays homage to the balladeer/bandleader. Stay tuned for more on the festival in the coming weeks.

Alexandra Deshorties, center, as Medea with the Argonauts in a production of Cherubini's Medea from last year's Glimmerglass Festival. Photo by Julieta Cervantes for The Glimmerglass Festival.

Though Glimmerglass is opera-centric, it does not treat musical theater as a stepchild, though perhaps a younger sibling, since it was opera-only at the beginning. Buttressing this fact, the latter artform was recognized at the
GL!MMERATA concert in the form of the irrepressible Klea Blackhurst. Before she delivered an engaging “Taking a Chance on Love” without sound amplification, she wondered aloud and loudly about any kinship between opera and musical theater. Then concluded there existed none. However, there is a symbiotic relationship.

“We just all went to kindergarten, high school and college together and now live in the same neighborhood to keep the property values up.”

This is the essence of Glimmerglass.

Visit http://www.glimmerglass.org/ to learn more about The Glimmerglass Festival.

Transition: It’s a Car! It’s a Plane! It’s Both!

DESPITEe their best efforts, the developers of the Transition could not prevent a determined public from referring to their creation as the flying car or the car that flies.

Terrafugia’s Transition Street Legal Airplane was the single most talked about vehicle at the 2012 New York International Auto Show, which shuttered on Sunday. (See trailer above).

Indeed, it is not every year that the auto mart attracts such an innovation. From the brains of MIT rocket scientists, Transition has been in the works since 2006.

Creators refer to it as a street-legal airplane. It is the world’s first, they assert. This cannot be said of the Boeing 787 or any of its suite of airplanes. Specifically, Transitions is designed to cruise the streets in case of inclement weather, which can be the death knell for small aircraft, rather than the vehicle of choice for errands or joyriding. It is a homely, albeit interesting, hybrid with both car and plane attributes.

Unlike Transition, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner was not designed to drive on the open road. Photo courtesy of Boeing.

Transition has a rear wheel drive, a collapsible steering column and driver/passenger airbags. It get better gas mileage than SUVs – 35 mph on the highway. In the airplane category, it is equipped with a parachute, can fly 490 miles on a tank of gas, meaning, for instance, that it can easily do a roundtrip to The Glimmerglass Festival (see story above) from many points in the Tri-State area. Transition also has a cargo hold large enough to accommodate at least one set of golf clubs. At 1,430 pounds, it is small enough (6.5 x 7.5 x 19.6) to fit into a conventional home garage, eliminating the need for a hangar.

The first Transitions will roll out by year’s end. At $279,000, they are not in economy class. Yet, there is a waitlist. A range of deposits, refundable and nonrefundable, can reserve a place in the queue.

Visit http://www.terrafugia.com/ and http://www.autoshowny.com/ to learn more about Transition Street Legal Airplane and the 2012 New York International Auto Show.

No comments :

Post a Comment

Creative Commons License
VEVLYN'S PEN: The Wright take on life by Vevlyn Wright is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License .
Based on a work at vevlynspen.com .
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at vevlyn1@yahoo.com .