News of Otsego County

Glimmerglass Festival

Glimmerglass Festival Announces New Director

Glimmerglass Festival
Announces New Director

The Glimmerglass Festival has announced the appointment of Robert Ainsley as the company’s next Artistic & General Director to succeed Francesca Zambello who helmed the festival since 2010.

Ainsley has appeared as a pianist, administrator and speaker with a variety of prominent institutions, including the White House, Supreme Court, Smithsonian Museums, National Gallery, Kennedy Center Honors, Wolf Trap National Park, Met Stars Live in Concert, embassies and diplomatic residences.

He was previously the Director of the Washington National Opera’s Cafritz Young Artists Program and the American Opera Initiative, where he commissioned, developed, and premiered more than 30 new operas, songs, and more by leading artists.

Community pays tribute to Bob Schlather

Community pays tribute
to Bob Schlather

CLICK HERE to view the full obituary

Last week, the community lost an exceptional friend in Bob Schlather. Those who attended the Mass at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Cooperstown on Saturday were graciously asked upon entry if they were with a particular organization, to be shown where others from their group were seated. This spoke volumes about Bob, who was involved in a dizzying array of groups and causes encompassing healthcare, human services, education, arts, historical associations, Rotary — basically, anything established for the betterment of the community. And it was with compassion, dedication, gentleness and a legendary and comforting sense of humor that Bob jumped into his volunteer roles as advisor, advocate, contributor and leader. In her homily during the Mass, the Rev. Betsy Jay referred to Bob as “invincible;” he was always there to get things done, and he did so with understated deliberation.

The Glimmerglass Festival was incredibly fortunate to be a keystone cause of Bob’s. He and his wife, Karen, first became involved as volunteers and supporters in 1979, when the Opera was still in its infancy. By 1984 he was elected to the Board and during his nearly 40 years as a Trustee, Bob served as: Treasurer for seven, Vice President of Personnel for four, Vice President of Legal Affairs, Chairman of the Audit Committee, an At-Large member
of the Executive Committee, and importantly, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for an impressive six years — in tandem with Peter Duchin as his President, with whom he then swapped the Presidency and Chairmanship positions for a year.

In Memoriam Robert B. Schlather, Esq., 75 May 3, 1946 – April 27, 2022

In Memoriam

Robert B. Schlather, Esq., 75

May 3, 1946 – April 27, 2022

Robert B. Schlather, Esq.

COOPERSTOWN – Robert Bernard Schlather, Esq., Cooperstown lawyer, CPA and philanthropist, died Wednesday afternoon, April 27, 2022, at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown as a result of a brain tumor diagnosed in June 2020. He was 75.

Born May 3, 1946, in Olmsted Falls, Ohio, Bob was the second eldest of thirteen children of Bernard Paul Schlather and Helen Virginia Bilskey. Raised in Elyria, Ohio, he graduated in 1964 from Elyria Catholic High School. He went on to attend and graduate magna cum laude with a BA in Accounting from Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and earned his Juris Doctorate and graduated cum laude from University of Notre Dame Law School in South Bend, Indiana. In addition, he was awarded a Certificate in English and American Law from the University of London as part of the Notre Dame Law School curriculum. He successfully completed the New York State Bar and Certified Public Accountancy Exams in 1971 and commenced work in the tax department of Price Waterhouse & Co, in both New York City and London.

On July 14, 1973, Bob married his best friend, Karen Ruth Hammer in a ceremony at Saints Philip and James Roman Catholic Church in St. James, Long Island. They moved to Cooperstown in 1976.

This week 02-10-22


The Freeman’s Journal • Hometown Oneonta

February 10, 2022


Telly in her element: Telly couldn’t have been happier than to get on the ice and snow that fell on Cooperstown last week. The two-year-old Bernedoodle enjoyed playing and relaxing on the snowbank in front of her mom’s shop on Main Street. Jen Howard, owner of Cooperstown Classics, said, “Telly lives for this weather. It’s her favorite time of year!” The good girl is full-grown, topping out at 75 pounds.


Cooperstown Central plots anti-racism strategy, addresses complaints

Doubleday renovations on track for June finish

Inside The Paper

State says ‘no’ to gifting pot

Not a day over 27

Fate of James Fenimore Cooper murals rests with Westchester school board

Glimmerglass Festival names three ‘Honorary Life Trustees’

Cooperstown costume pro voting on top film awards



District Attorney right on bail, discovery


Rust never sleeps

Sternberg on COVID this week: Getting better?

Opportunities for Otsego: The Childcare Dilemma

History Column

Bound Volumes


Editors Policy


Lloyd H. Johnson

Linda J. Hall

Marshall L. Thorne

David S. Wilshere


Happenin’ Otsego

Glimmerglass Festival makes three ‘honorary life trustees’

Glimmerglass Festival names three ‘Honorary Life Trustees’

The Glimmerglass Festival’s Board of Trustees this week named Nellie Gipson, Robert Schlather, and Senator James Seward Honorary Life Trustees, recognizing the trio’s exceptional involvement with the world-renowned program.

“Honorary Trusteeships were established several years ago by the governing board to recognize and acknowledge individuals from our ranks for their extraordinary service and exceptional contributions,” said Board Chairman Robert Nelson. “Nellie, Bob, and Jim have provided and continue to provide invaluable guidance as regular trustees, and this additional distinction is a special way we are able to express our deepest appreciation.”

Mr. Nelson said the Honorary Life Trustee honor is not an annual event but is reserved only for those times when the Board believes they should recognize high achievement.

“It’s the highest honor a trustee for the Festival can ever reach,” Mr. Nelson said. “Their total contributions over the years are amazing.”

Glimmerglass Festival announces summer schedule

Glimmerglass Festival announces summer schedule

Never mind that we’re in the middle of some typically bone-chilling January weather – summer is coming and with it, the 2022 Glimmerglass Festival. Tickets for the summer favorite go on sale Monday, January 24!

On the schedule:

  • The Sound of Music (July 8 – August 19)
  • Carmen (July 16 – August 21)
  • Tenor Overboard (July 19 – August 18)
  • Double Bill (July 29 – August 20)

Patrons planning to see more than one performance may purchase tickets need not wait until Monday – packages for two or more shows are available immediately. Those buying tickets for more than one show receive the greatest discount available, may purchase additional tickets at a 10 percent discount with no additional processing fees, and receive free exchanges.

Glimmerglass Festival releasing opera film for free on website

Glimmerglass Festival releasing opera film for free on website

The Glimmerglass Festival is releasing  ‘The Knock’, a 50 minute opera as a film for free on its website on Veteran’s Day, Thursday, November 11.

‘The Knock’, composed by Aleksandra Vrebalov, was originally slated for a 2020 stage production, but after the pandemic hit, they decided to create the work as a film. The one-act opera is about the wives of military men waiting for news of their husbands.

The libretto, created by Deborah Brevoort, is based on interviews of soldiers’ spouses.

Letter by Frances Marx: Glimmerglass ensures customer satisfaction despite snafu

Letter by Frances Marx: Glimmerglass ensures customer satisfaction despite snafu

I’ve been visiting your area and going to the opera for more than 20 years. This year it was Friday, Aug. 12, and we were leaving from Rochester and anticipating Mozart’s “Magic Flute” at The Glimmerglass Festival.

I rejoiced that I had remembered to look on the back of my calendar for the envelope holding the tickets I had ordered about a month before. WHAT A SHOCK! No such luck … the envelope was empty, and I was full of dread! All I could think of was having to climb back into the car and start back on Route 28 toward home.

Cooperstown & Around: August 5, 2021

Cooperstown & Around

August 5, 2021

State grants include Coop Concert Series

The Cooperstown Concert Series was awarded $10,000 through a state grant to support live music or theater performances. Other groups that got $10,000 include the Glimmerglass Festival, Chenango River Theatre, Franklin Stage Company and the Catskill Symphony Orchestra.

CAA invites artists to submit for ‘Fine Arts on the Lawn’

Artists are invited to participate in the Cooperstown Art Associations’ Fine Arts on the Lawn event Labor Day weekend in Cooperstown. Artists are allowed to display up to five works or apply for and maintain a 10′ x 10′ tent. Go to for more information.

An opera primer: Glimmerglass regular explains the basics of the genre

An opera primer: Glimmerglass regular explains the basics of the genre


First, opera is supposed to be quite serious.

One writer of praise for Verdi’s “Trovatore” observed, totally without irony: “When the soprano part is sung as Madam X sings it, one cannot survive without tears.”

As for the composer himself: “He made a nest for singers in his music like the mother-bird warming
her young.” Such comments have as much relation to events as political promises for “a new life” — which turn with experience to be even less exciting than a “new laundry powder.” However, humans are
susceptible to such notions — like the “word itself, “the “poem itself,” even the “opera itself” — all without context. Such theories limit experience and blunt contacts with other lives in the human family.(As for that “mother-bird,” Verdi bitterly complained about inadequate singers,
conductors, and impresarios.)

This composer entered profound depression after the death of both children and his wife. The libretto of Nabucco pulled him from the depths.

A reader of the bible and of Shakespeare, he responded to admired language in the libretto Verdi then describes writing one note at a time, then phrase by phrase, “little by little the opera was written.” At a rehearsal, a chorus so pleased the carpenters that they beat on the woodwork with their tools and cried, “Bravo, bravo, vive il maestro.”

Wagner’s “Cycle,” better reduced to another form? It is already a “ring.” A controversy of taste since its origins, the whole lasts many hours. The critic Irving Kolodin proposed a shortened version; the Glimmer-form trims even more. Is this an improvement? What might bother even informed listeners is the pomposity of Wagner’s own text, an extensive mythological soap opera. The composer’s place in musical history is found in reactions to what one biographer in 800 pages called “Wagner’s Mind.” French culture, with its clarity and discipline, was never to his taste. He even prohibited the speaking of French in his own household.

However, French compositions are therapeutic for the pretended grandiosity of this composer. Debussy included a “Tristan chord” in a satiric piano solo with direction that it was to be played “with great feeling.” The composer Eric Satie had great fun with mythological and self-important pretenses. Answering complaints about his lack of musical form, he composed pieces in “the shape of a pear.” He called some of his other works “wall paper music.”

Brahms, however, was a quietly persistent critic. A score by Wagner was on his Streicher grand. A visitor noted the text was upside down. Brahms righted it: “Now it makes no sense at all,” he said.

Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” was intended as a light entertainment, commissioned by his Masonic friend and theater owner Schikaneder. Is the mythology of the libretto serious? The conductor Bruno Walter thought so, but the light of heart should think otherwise. A baritone roughly imitating a bird song? A Queen of the Night reaching the heavens with her high notes?

The work passes into its own immortality, just as Mozart and other composers of this Glimmerglass season still live through their art.

The Glimmerglass adapts: Festival performances to begin Thursday, July 15, with Mozart’s ‘The Magic Flute’
Glimmerglass Festival electrician Bryson Kiser works on the lights for the outdoor stage for this summer’s performances. (Karli Cadel)

The Glimmerglass adapts: Festival performances to begin Thursday, July 15, with Mozart’s ‘The Magic Flute’

The Glimmerglass Festival, home to the summer opera and other theater, will open Thursday, July 15 with “The Magic Flute” by Mozart.

The festival will have outdoor performances on a specially built stage, in order to accommodate
COVID-19 restrictions.

Francesca Zambello, Festival artistic and general director said in a me

dia release that the theater “reimagined” the Glimmerglass experience in order to safely showcase their works.

“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,” Zambello said. “We are extremely grateful to Andrew
Martin-Weber for making this outdoor stage possible, and we look forward to bringing amazing performances to you from the Andrew J. Martin-Weber Lawn Stage.”

The outdoor stage will be at the south part of the Glimmerglass’s Springfield Center campus, with socially distanced festival squares for spaced-out seating. Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets and lawn chairs with low profiles, so the performances can be enjoyed comfortably.

“The Magic Flute” is described by the press release as a “whimsical tale of love and wisdom with an original libretto from Emanuel Schikaneder.” It is directed by N.J. Agwuna and conducted Joseph Colaneri, with costumes by Christelle Matou.

“Il Trovatore” an epic love story which is co-directed by Zambello and Eric Sean Fogel with music
conducted by Joseph Colaneri, will open Sunday, Aug. 1.

“Songbird,” adapted from “La Perichole,” will have its first performance Friday, July 30.

“To the World” opens Friday, July 16. The show is a journey around the globe through popular musical theater hits. It stars Isabel Leonard,

William Burden, Alexandria Shiner, Michael Mayes and members of the Young Artists Program.
Eric Sean Fogel directs and James Lowe conducts.

“Gods and Mortals,” which opens Tuesday, Aug. 3, celebrates the work of Richard Wagner with
selections from some of his most popular operas, including “The Ring Cycle” and “Tannhäuser,” as well as some of his lesser known works, including “Die Feen.”

“At a time when the world can feel strikingly small — confined to a bedroom and a laptop — Wagner’s grand works remind us of feeling larger than life. His fascination with mythology and the natural world will propel us as we take the festival outdoors,” Zambello said in the media release.

The staged concert will star Eric Owens, Alexandria Shiner and Ian Koziara. “Gods
and Mortals” is conducted by Joseph Colaneri and directed by Zambello.

The season will also include “The Passion of Mary Cardwell Dawson,” a new play with music celebrating the founder of the historic and groundbreaking National Negro Opera Company and starring acclaimed mezzo soprano Denyce Graves in the title role.

Written by the Mark Twain Award-winning playwright and librettist, Sandra Seaton, the play includes selections from the repertory of the National Negro Opera Company and original music composed by Carlos Simon.

“Madame Dawson was an arts pioneer, a woman of many firsts, whose remarkable story had been all but forgotten until recently,” Graves said in the media release. “Mary Cardwell Dawson broke through incredible barriers to give voice to singers of color, creating opportunities that eventually brought them to major American opera house stages for the first time. It is an honor to champion her story — and that of the National Negro Opera Company she founded in 1941.”

Go to for more information and to purchase tickets.

Glimmerglass Festival increases capacity thanks to new state guidelines

Glimmerglass Festival increases capacity thanks to new state guidelines

STAFF REPORT • Special to

The Glimmerglass Festival will have increased sales for festival squares and tables thanks to new guidance from New York State regarding COVID restrictions, according to a media release.

Socially distanced festival squares will be available for people of the same party (between one and four) as well as festival boxes (one to six) and festival tables (one to six).

Glimmerglass recommends patrons bring a blanket or chair.

There will be updated COVID guidelines for the event including the requirement of either a negative COVID test or vaccination series completed 14 days prior.

Audience members will need to go through a screening before attending. Ticket purchases will need to provide contact information for the purpose of contact tracing.

In addition, a mask will be required at all times except when eating.

Call 607-547-2255 or e-mail for more information.


Trustees Agree To Remove Sign That Angered Residents

Trustees Agree To Remove
Sign That Angered Residents

By GREG KLEIN • Special to

A solar-powered speed limit sign on Pioneer Street that village residents disliked will be moved to State Route 28.

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.

Glimmerglass Plans 4 Shows On Lawn

Glimmerglass Plans 4 Shows On Lawn

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.”

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Cooperstown Reflects Series Continues 01-27-21

‘Cooperstown Reflects’ Continues

14-19eventspageCOOPERSTOWN 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

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21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103