From Development server
25 May 2022

Robert Ainsley to Succeed Francesca Zambello as General Director of Glimmerglass Festival 

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THE GLIMMERGLASS FESTIVAL announced today that Robert Ainsley, director of the Washington National Opera’s Cafritz Young Artists Program and the American Opera Initiative, has been named as the Cooperstown, NY, company’s new general director. 

Ainsley succeeds Francesca Zambello, who recently announced that the company’s 2022 season would mark the end of her twelve-year tenure at Glimmerglass. 

During his time at WNO, Ainsley was responsible for commissioning, developing and premiering more than thirty new operas, including works by Jerre Dye, A.M. Homes, David Henry Hwang, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Missy Mazzoli, Royce Vavrek, Huang Ruo, Kamala Sankaram, Carlos Simon, Sandra Seaton and others. Prior to his work at WNO, Ainsley served as Associate Music Director at Portland Opera, Head of Music Staff and Chorus Master at Minnesota Opera and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, a guest Chorus Master at English National Opera and co-founder and Principal Conductor of the Greenwich Music Festival. Ainsley is an alumnus of the University of Cambridge, Mannes College of Music, and the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at the Metropolitan Opera. 

“I am honored to be leading this great institution into its 50th season and beyond,” Ainsley said in a press release issued today by the company. “Glimmerglass, with its idyllic location and wide-ranging artistic output of the highest quality, has always been a dream company for me. I have long admired its deep commitments to community, the next generation, and inclusive programming representing the diversity of today’s America. The stories we tell bind us together, spread joy, and foster understanding. I want Glimmerglass to continue making unforgettable memories for everyone it touches in an environment where all feel empowered to do their best work.” 

“This is an exciting time of transition for the company,” Zambello said. “Rob is a wonderful artist and is extremely passionate about identifying the voice and talent of opera’s future. I look forward to witnessing the excellent vision and leadership I know he will provide Glimmerglass.” 

Glimmerglass’s 2022 season runs from July 8 through August 21 and will feature new productions of The Sound of Music, Carmen and a new Rossini pasticcio, Rossini Overboard. Common Ground, Glimmerglass’s new-works initiative, will present a double-bill of Kamala Sankaram and Jerre Dye’s Taking Up Serpents alongside the world premiere of Holy Ground by Damien Geter and Lila Palmer. Kamala Sankaram and Kelley Rourke’s youth opera The Jungle Book will also have its world premiere. Sandra Seaton’s play, The Passion of Mary Cardwell Dawson, featuring music by Carlos Simon will take the stage in a newly extended version in August. spacer

More information can be found at

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