Check the odometer. The Proms deserve a jolly rev up when they start, and after 117 summer seasons, it was a fresh young pianist, Benjamin Grosvenor, who provided it. At nineteen, he came out in a casual shirt looking like a college freshman who might be spending his vacation as a pizza delivery boy or valet parking attendant. Those attendants are notorious for taking Porsches and Jags for a quick spin, returning them with hot wheels. Grosvenor had his chances with Liszt’s Piano Concerto no. 2, but he returned it respectfully to its owner. He displayed glittering fingers and a beguiling soft touch at the beginning, but this work is faux art, setting a mood simply to tease the audience before the fireworks display.
With the appointment of Francesca Zambello, an internationally acclaimed opera director, Glimmerglass is hoping, it seems, for a metamorphosis of sorts. Zambello has cleverly shifted the musical focus, creating some fresh perspectives, and ultimately hoping to draw more attention to this company which is widely regarded as an Upstate New York musical gem.