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Bread and Puppet to perform new opera

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copyright the Chronicle August 30, 2017


 by Joseph Gresser


GLOVER — Peter Gelb is the director of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. When his company wants to put on a new production, he thumbs through a list of classic operas to find one it has not performed recently, checks the bank account to see if there are enough millions of dollars available, then puts together a team of performers, directors, scenic designers, and costumers, and over the course of months puts the show together.

Peter Schumann is the director of the Bread and Puppet Theater in Glover. When Bread and Puppet wants to put on an opera he gathers a group of collaborators, and over the course of a little more than a week, devises and presents a never-before-seen opera.

Performances are scheduled for September 1 and September 3.

At the first rehearsal, Mr. Schumann and a group of performers gathered in a large building known among puppeteers as the new building, but formally called the Papier-mâché Cathedral.

A rough styled theater, it deserves the name. The walls and ceiling are adorned with a mass of papier-mâché figures packed as tightly together as the saints depicted by Michelangelo on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

On this day the action was centered on the small space between the seating area and the set of a show that would be performed the following evening.

Over the course of the summer Mr. Schumann and his puppeteers has created and performed ten new shows, one a week, although none of them were operas.

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