The village of Cooperstown will remove a controversial solar-powered speed limit sign from Pioneer Street.
The village’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously Monday, April 26, to remove the sign, which was in front of 100 Pioneer Street and told motorists heading south on Pioneer if they were exceeding the village’s 30-mile-per-hour speed limit.
The meeting was held in person in the village ballroom at 22 Main St.
As part of the motion, the trustees agreed to relocate the sign to the southern entryway to the village on State Route 28.
The sign has drawn complaints from dozens of current and former village residents, complaining about the aesthetics of the sign and dismissing the need to put it in a residential area. Two residents spoke against the sign Monday, leading Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh to tell the crowd of about 15 people that the trustees would fix the sign problem later in the meeting.
“The intent of the meeting tonight will be to remove the solar-powered sign … and nothing will be on Pioneer.
Opera will be back on Otsego Lake’s shores this summer.
The Glimmerglass Festival announced today it will build an outdoor stage on the festival grounds, where it will present four operas.
The 2021 season will run July 15 through Aug. 17 with performances of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” Verdi’s “Il Trovatore,” Offenbach’s “Songbird” (La Périchole), and the world premiere of “The Passion of Mary Cardwell Dawson,” a new play with music about the founder of the National Negro Opera Company.
“We have re-imagined the Glimmerglass experience for the 2021 season,” said Francesca Zambello, Festival artistic & general director. “While this move outdoors is primarily for the health and safety of our company members, audience members and community, it is in harmony with what people love about Glimmerglass – innovative art and performances in a beautiful location.”
COOPERSTOWN REFLECTS – 7 p.m. Library Anti-Racism series continues with “Cooperstown Reflects on Racism in Arts and Monuments.” Panel includes Eva Fognell, Thaw Collection of Native American Art, Fenimore Museum; Tom Heitz/Sharon Stuart, Otsego town co-historian; CGP Director Gretchen Sorin, and Glimmerglass Festival Art & General Director Francesca Zambello. Free, registration required. Presented by Friends of the Village Library of Cooperstown. 607-547-8344 or visit www.eventbrite.com/o/friends-of-the-village-library-23034666815
COOPERSTOWN – One summer, while visiting Cooperstown, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader
Ginsberg had a request for her friend, Kay Pierro.
“She wanted to go waterskiing!” Pierro said.
“So I asked around for a friend who had a boat to take her on, but (federal marshals) needed to follow in a second boat, so I had to ask around for another.
“She tried so hard to get up, but the skis we had were too long for her.”
Ginsburg, 87, who has starred in an “Opera & Law” presentation every summer since 2013 (except this one) at the Glimmerglass Festival, died Friday, Sept 18, from pancreatic cancer.
Pierro first met Ginsburg when Jane Forbes Clark hired her to cook for the justice and her husband, Marty, who were staying in Miss Clark’s guest house for the weekend in 2004.
“My husband always called it ‘the improbable friendship,’” Pierro said. “She was a Supreme Court justice and I was just a cook, but she was the kindest, warmest, most gentle person I have ever known.”
They stayed in contact for years, and Ginsburg frequently invited her to events, including to the Supreme Court itself and to the unveiling of her portrait at the New England School of Law in Boston. “My son graduated from there, and when she found out, she invited us both to the ceremony,” said Pierro. “She would bring me gifts back from Europe, and we would write to each other.”
Glimmerglass’ music & general director, Francesca Zambello, had struck up a friendship with Ginsburg after she directed Beethoven’s “Fidelio” at the National Opera House in 2003.
“She wrote me a letter and said it was her favorite production of ‘Fidelio’ that she had ever seen,” Zambello said.
“I saw her at the Washington National Opera right before the pandemic,” she continued. “And she had her tickets reserved for this year’s Glimmerglass Festival. We’re all mourning her passing.”
When Zambello became head of the Festival in 2010, she invited Ginsburg and her family to attend the shows. “She had visited when Paul Kellogg was director, but we began talking about doing a program about opera and the law, since so many of them involve contracts and wrong-doing,” she said.
“And I thought, how wonderful it would be if I could engage her in our love of opera together in a way the public could appreciate.”
The program started in 2013 and was a sell-out every summer. “It was one of our most successful programs,” she said.
In 2017, the Festival produced “Scalia/Ginsburg,”
a comic opera about the friendship between Ginsburg and fellow Justice Antonin Scalia.
“After one performance, she came and spoke about him, which was great,” said Zambello. “He never visited Glimmerglass, but I would see him at the National Opera, and they would sit on opposite sides of the aisle. They disagreed all day, but at night they would share this passion for opera.”
Following the news of her death, a vigil was held on the steps of the Otsego County Courthouse, where Village Trustee Richard Sternberg and Dave Pearlman, retired CCS high school principal, led the gathering in Kaddish, the traditional Jewish prayer of mourning.
“People were very moved,” said Sternberg.
Sternberg had met Ginsburg several times; his cousin was a protégée and student of her husband, Marty Ginsburg, at Columbia Law School. “When my nephew was born, I found myself standing next to a short, very slight lady at his bris,” Sternberg said. “She was introduced to me as Judge Ginsburg, but I didn’t think much of it.”
He saw her at several other events, including his nephew’s Bar Mitzvah. “She was a Supreme Court justice then, and I made the connection,” he said. “I didn’t say much, which was unusual for me.”
At his niece’s Bat Mitzvah, he overheard another woman ask about the famous lace on her collar. “She told the story that she and Sandra Day O’Connor thought that since Judge (William) Rehnquist put gold stripes on his robes, that they would put lace on theirs as a response,” he said.
Though he often saw Ginsburg at the Festival, he declined to introduce himself again. “I was intimidated, plus she had bodyguards,” he said.
Zambello said the Festival is beginning to look at ways to honor her legacy during next year’s season.
“She loved the Festival and was very proud of what we were doing with social justice,” she said. “But she also loved a good ‘La Boheme.’ She really was our greatest spokesperson.”
“We had a wonderful relationship,” said Pierro. “She was a real treasure.”
As many people may know, the Young Artist Program at the Glimmerglass Festival is an integral part of our work. One of our recent alumni, Alexandria Shiner (last seen as Bertha in the Barber of Seville 2018), went on to become part of the Cafritz Young Artist Program at the Washington National Opera and to win the first prize of the Met auditions.
A few weeks before COVID closed everything, Ali took the lead role in a version of Gian Carlo Menotti’s “The Consul” in the Supreme Court’s private chambers. The opportunity came about because Justice Ginsburg held occasional musicales at the Court, carrying on a tradition started by Sandra Day O’Connor.
Rob Ainsley, the director of the Cafritz Young Artist Program, and I wanted to do something different than just a concert. We asked Justice Ginsburg if we could present a one-hour version of “The Consul,” an opera that deals with immigration issues not unlike those currently being hotly debated.
We had already presented the opera in various locations as a kind of outreach work, but all these were previews leading up to what we felt would be our most important showing of the piece.
We arrived in the morning to rehearse in the chambers like a funny band of traveling players carrying our costumes and props into the Supreme Court.
How strange – and how moving – to be telling this story of political dissidents, government overstep and visa frustrations before an audience of men and women who had sworn to uphold our country’s ideals.
RBG always loved meeting the new young artists and this was a special year. I still remember Ali, as Magda, staring into the eyes of one justice after another as she sang these words:
To this we’ve come: that men withhold the world from men. No ship nor shore for him who drowns at sea. No home nor grave for him who dies on land.
To this we’ve come: that man be born a stranger upon God’s earth, that he be chosen without a chance for choice, that he be hunted without the hope of refuge.
To this we’ve come. (To the Secretary) And you, you too shall weep! If to men, not to God, we now must pray, tell me, Secretary, tell me, who are these men? If to them, not to God, we now must pray…
Who are these dark archangels? Will they be conquered? Will they be doomed? Is there one, anyone behind those doors to whom the heart can still be explained? Is there one, anyone, who still may care? Tell me, Secretary, tell me!
As she threw the papers in the air screaming “Papers, Papers,” the room felt electric. I shall never forget this, nor will anyone there.
RBG, with a wink, told me how she loved the simple and direct performance of “The Consul” so close to the halls of justice. I am grateful for all she gave to our Festival over the past decade.
GLIMPSE – 5:30 p.m. Enjoy first look at ‘From The Diary of Sally Hemmings’ a dramatic song cycle that imagines the experience of Sally Hemmings, who was the slave of Thomas Jefferson, as told through fictional diary entries. Presented by Glimmerglass Festival. Visit glimmerglass.org/events/glimpse-from-the-diary-of-sally-hemings/ for info.
COVID-19 TESTING – 9 a.m. – Noon. Healthy individuals are invited to drive-thru testing for Covid-19, free to Otsego County residents courtesy of the Otsego County Department of Health. Registration required. Greenie’s, 2591 St. Hwy. 7, Otego. 607-547-4279.
ESCAPE GAME – 7 – 8 p.m. Join resident Game Master and your friends for fun quest to escape imaginary Witches Hut. Solve puzzles to escape, cure the poison mushrooms you and your party have consumed. Available to 4 County Library System Users only. Presented by Huntington Memorial Library. Visit www.facebook.com/hmloneonta/
WRITERS SALON – 7:30 p.m. First virtual writers salon by CANO. Features presentation by local author Jennifer Donohue with opportunity for Q&A. Presented by Community Arts Network of Oneonta. Visit www.facebook.com/CANOneonta for info.
VIRTUAL BIRD WALK – 9 -10 a.m. Enjoy virtual walk through sights & sounds of the Edith Wharton Estate to discover/identify the different bird calls with the Otsego County Master Gardeners. Visit www.facebook.com/CCEOtsegoMG/ for info.
COOPERSTOWN – With the curtain on “The Sound of Music” scheduled to rise in just two months, the Glimmerglass Festival has announced it will not host any live performances this summer.
“It was our hope this summer to gather at the Festival,” Francesca Zambello, artistic director, said Tuesday, May 5. “But it became clear that, for all our safety, we cannot gather together to perform
the beautiful season we had planned for you.”
Following Governor Cuomo’s order prohibiting attractions that would draw a large number of visitors, the Glimmerglass Festival Board of Trustees made its decision.
The festival was slated to perform “Don Giovanni,” “Rinaldo,” “Die Feen
(The Fairies)” and “The Jungle Book.”
However, the festival will continue its educational pro-grams, including the 2020 Young Artists program, Summer Internship Program and its local Youth Opera Program.
“Public performances are only the tip of the iceberg,” Zambello said. “Behind the scenes, the company invests an enormous amount of energy in training the young people who make up the future of the art form (through) group workshops and one-on-one mentoring from established professionals.”
The festival is also planning “a robust selection of virtual opportunities.”
The Glimmerglass Festival is late to the table.
Other local cultural institutions, including The Farmers’ Museum, Fenimore Art Museum and Hyde Hall, remain closed at present, but all intend to open as soon as the governor declares it is safe to do so.
“The museum is nothing without people,” said Paul D’Ambrosio, Fenimore and Farmers’ president. “We are preparing for an eventual reopening, with all procedures and guidelines in place.”
Meanwhile, each is offering virtual programs. The Farmers’ focus is on crafts and cooking; The Fenimore on collection highlights and open mic nights, Hyde Hall with a new series on the mansion’s lighting, which was cutting-edge technologically in the 19th century.
“We want to create a virtual museum experience,” said Jon Maney, Hyde Hall executive director.“It’s a good way to keep present in people’s minds, to make them interested for when they can come here.”
Similarly, the festival will take its Town Hall series virtual, starting with a Live Conversation with Zambello and Music Director Joseph Colaneri.
“A huge part of the Festival’s mission is to inspire dialogue around meaningful issues through storytelling and music,” Zambello said. “I am very excited about the prospect of bringing our Town Hall discussions to a potentially wider audience.”
Though Hyde Hall is closed, Maney has invited visitors to tour the grounds and sit on the porch overlooking Otsego Lake.
When tours can resume, he said, they will likely be by reservation only.
COOPERSTOWN – The Glimmerglass Festival will not host any live performances this summer, according to a release sent a few minutes ago.
“As theater people, we are accustomed to problem solving,” Artistic & General Director Francesca Zambello said. “We had already adjusted plans and schedules in the hope we might be able to welcome company members and audience members for a Festival this summer.
“But in considering the health and safety of our artists and staff, and following New York State and CDC recommendations, we must now instead focus on how we can provide an opportunity for people to come together around song and story — without coming together in person,” she said.
COOPERSTOWN – Though New York State remains under a state of emergency until the end of April, Francesca Zambello, Artistic & Creative Director, Glimmerglass Festival, is trying to stay optimistic that the season will open as scheduled.
“We are still hopeful that we will see you this summer,” she wrote in a letter sent earlier this afternoon. With so much unknown at this time, and with all New York State businesses either closed or functioning remotely, we are unable to make firm plans at this time.”
COOPERSTOWN – In a letter to the “Glimmerglass family” dated today, Artistic & Creative Director Francesca Zambello said “possible scenarios on the 2020 schedule are being examined” and it will be for “the next two weeks” before a decision is made on the future of the upcoming season.
During that time, “we will be heavily weighing what is happening in the world and our local community, and will keep you updated,” said Zambello.