News of Otsego County

Glimmerglass Festival

In Memoriam: Elizabeth “Betsey” Fenton Snyder July 4, 1937 – December 26, 2022
In Memoriam

Elizabeth F. Snyder

July 4, 1937 – December 26, 2022

Elizabeth “Betsey” Fenton Snyder

COOPERSTOWN – Elizabeth “Betsey” Fenton Snyder passed away in Cooperstown, NY, on December 26, 2022 at the age of 85. She was born in Salamanca, NY, on July 4, 1937 to William and Olive Fenton. She attended Brown University where she earned an A.B. in 1959 and Syracuse University where she earned an M.Ed. in 1971.

As an educator and school administrator, her most notable role was as Director of Adult Education at Tompkins-Seneca-Tioga BOCES in Ithaca, NY, a position she held for 17 years. Other activities included volunteering as poll worker at Cooperstown Elections and ushering for the Glimmerglass Festival.  Snyder was also a longtime parishioner at the Cooperstown Christ Episcopal Church. 


The Met Streams First
Performance of ‘Medea’


PRE-OPERA TALK – Noon. Enjoy discussion of the Opera ‘Medea’ which was performed by the Glimmerglass festival in 2011 and is now being performed for the first time by The Metropolitan Opera House. Upstairs Theater, 2nd floor, Foothills Performing Arts Center, Oneonta.

OPERA – 12:55 p.m. View live performance of the Metropolitan Opera, streaming live in Oneonta. This week the Met presents ‘Medea’ the story of the sorceress and her vengeance when her husband Jason of Argonauts fame attempts to cast her aside. Cost, $25/adult. Lunch available for purchase separately from Soda Jerks. Showing at the Foothills Performing Arts Center, Oneonta. 607-431-2080 or visit

Glimmerglass Festival Guild Contributes $25,000

Glimmerglass Festival Guild
Contributes $25,000

Robert Ainsley, Laura Tansey Wetzel

The Glimmerglass Festival Guild held its Annual Meeting on September 19 at the Farm Credit East, where members of the volunteer organization voted to donate $25,000 to The Glimmerglass Festival, the summer opera and musical theater company known for its innovative productions.

Through volunteer services, community engagement and educational programs, the Guild provides both acts of service and financial support for the world-renowned company. The Guild raises money through the annual gala in August at The Otesaga.

In Memoriam Jeanne S. B. Viek, 93 March 22, 1928 – January 22, 2022
In Memoriam

Jeanne S. B. Viek, 93

March 22, 1928 – January 22, 2022

Jeanne “Jeje” Stone Barrett Viek

COOPERSTOWN – Jeanne “Jeje” Stone Barrett Viek, 93, passed away peacefully at her daughter’s home in Cooperstown on January 22, 2022. 

She was born on March 22, 1928 in Bryn Mawr, PA, the daughter of Albert Oliver and Lisbeth Beatrice (Stone) Barrett.  She grew up in Devon, PA.  Most weekends the family went to their farm on the eastern shore of Chesapeake Bay, Maryland.

Jeje attended the Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr, PA, a private school for girls.  Those who know Jeje won’t be surprised to hear she was pushed ahead two grades, and she was also a bit of a mischief-maker (but never malicious)!  She attended Smith College where she majored in Science (and was well-known for her prowess at arm wrestling).  She was also on the All-Smith Crew team.  Jeje later went to West Chester State College (now University) to become a teacher.  She eventually earned two Master’s Degrees at West Chester – one in Science Education and one in Reading.

Bravo Francesca Zambello and Thank You!

Bravo Francesca Zambello
and Thank You!

Partner Faith Gay, their son Jack, and Francesca celebrate on stage on Saturday to a round of applause, while the audience sang Climb Every Mountain.

Francesca Zambello is close to the end of her time at Glimmerglass Festival.

“The end of my tenure at The Glimmerglass is bittersweet. I am grateful for all the love that has been showered on me and my family during this season. When I joined The Glimmerglass Festival, my goals were to create a real Festival format and to use the arts as a platform for discussion around social issue,” Ms. Zambello said.

During this season the Festival hosted several world premieres, and all productions featured their now extensive youth ensemble.

The Power of the Pack at Glimmerglass

The Power of the Pack
at Glimmerglass

By Antonia Mody
Photo by Karli Cadel/The Glimmerglass Festival. 

This past week The Glimmerglass Festival celebrated the world premiere of The Jungle Book with “A Day at The Festival.” Organized by the Glimmerglass Festival Guild, “A Day at the Festival” invited local children and students to the Glimmerglass campus to partake in Jungle Book-themed festivities before viewing the premiere.

As children and their families entered the theater, it was clear the outreach and connection with local youth has grown stronger each year since The Glimmerglass Festival premiered its first youth opera in 2015. The youth opera is written with young audiences in mind and performed by children. Now, at the 2022 Festival, the company premiered the sixth youth opera in a season where every single production also involves kids.

Letter from Chip Northrup: Glimmerglass Triumph
Letter from Chip Northrup

Glimmerglass Triumph

The Glimmerglass production of The Sound of Music is a triumph. Without giving the stagecraft away, the song “Edelweiss” is put in its proper historical context: it’s a protest song against fascism. The Nazi regime was famously protested by officers, such as the real Baron von Trapp, a WWI war hero, by protest groups, including those let by the minister Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and student groups, the most famous of which were the Edelweiss Pirates. So when you go see the musical, remember that before the von Trapps fled the Nazi regime, they protested it. The song “Edelweiss” is a reminder of that. Edelweiss_Pirates

Chip Northrup

The Glimmerglass Festival Dedicates the New Lady Juliet Tadgell Garden

The Glimmerglass Festival Dedicates
the New Lady Juliet Tadgell Garden

The Lady Juliet Tadgell Garden was designed by award-winning landscape architect, Sheila Brady.

Cooperstown, NY—This past weekend, the Board of Trustees of the Glimmerglass Festival formally dedicated the newly redone courtyard adjacent to the theater as The Lady Juliet Tadgell Garden.

A longtime summer resident of the Cooperstown community and Honorary Life Trustee of the Festival, Lady Juliet has been one of the organization’s most ardent friends and supporters since 1983.

Three years ago, Lady Juliet and her husband, Dr. Christopher Tadgell, spent their final summer in Cooperstown before selling their Lake Street home and returning to England. At that time, the company honored the Tadgells with a presentation about the garden, which would be established over the subsequent two years, with work to begin after completing the installation of the new theater roof.

That’s the Way They Became the Grady Bunch

That’s the Way They
Became the Grady Bunch

by Antonia Mody

This Cooperstown family has experienced the magic of The Glimmerglass Festival as audience members for decades. Now, they take the Glimmerglass stage together this summer.

The Gradys, or the Grady Bunch as they are lovingly called, are all singing and dancing in Glimmerglass Festival productions this summer. The Sound of Music, playing now, features parents Kara and Matt, as well as Gavin, 12, who stars as Friedrich von Trapp. But The Sound of Music isn’t the only show this father and son duo can be seen in during the Festival.

Tenor Overboard, a new opera with music by Rossini and book by Ken Ludwig, premieres July 19 and features Matt and Gavin as well.

“Folks should not be missing Tenor Overboard because the cast has been working incredibly hard,” Matt said. “Reworking, changing, and workshopping things to make it an amazingly hilarious, not-to-be-missed production.”

Editorial: A Chorus For Us


A Chorus For Us

Last Friday evening, a new production of The Sound of Music, the beloved musical written in 1959 by Rodgers and Hammerstein, came to life at The Glimmerglass Festival, signaling the start of the 2022 season, its 47th — an astonishing accomplishment.

The Glimmerglass Festival, changing its name over the years, began with three performances of La Bohème, courageously staged after three years of planning in the sparsely designed, non-air-conditioned, orchestra-pit-less 400-seat auditorium of the Cooperstown High School. The cast consisted, first, of professional singers and orchestra, but the two large choruses were made up of local volunteers, including a lot of children and teachers and, in fact, five Bassett doctors. The backstage crew — make-up, dressers, props — was all volunteers and the dressing rooms, separated by hanging sheets, were in the over-heated boiler room.


Springfield Appreciation Concert


APPRECIATION CONCERT – 4 p.m. Glimmerglass Festival to hold a season preview concert to appreciate the Springfield Community. Listen to some highlights from the coming opera season. Proceeds benefit the Springfield 4th of July Parade. Tickets, $5/person available from the Convenience Corner Store at US-20 and St. Rt. 80 in Springfield or at the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce, Cooperstown. Held at the Alice Busch Opera Theater, 7300 St. Rt. 80, Cooperstown. 607-547-2255 or visit

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.

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