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June 21, 2013

'Utopia & Free Love' next in American Romantics series

The Daily Star

---- — The Festival of American Romantics collaboration between Hyde Hall, the Fenimore Art Museum and The Glimmerglass Festival will continue Sunday with a program,”Utopia & Free Love.” The second in a series of three, the literary and musical evening will explore the Romantic ideals of human perfectibility, community and emotional freedom as expressed in the rise of Utopian communities and the Free Love movement.

Louisa May Alcott’s “Transcendental Wild Oats” captures the intense optimism of the Fruitlands utopian community as well as the hilarious consequences of its failures, according to a media release. At the same time, advocates of Free Love such as poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and feminist and presidential candidate Victoria Woodhull, claimed “absolute freedom … to love,” and rejected the “bondage” of marriage. 

A debate on the merits of Free Love will be enacted by Glimmerglass Festival artists Melody Moore and Peter Volpe, while musical selections will be performed by Andrew Kroes, Sofia Selowsky and Julie Gunn.

The performance will begin at 5:30 p.m., and the evening will conclude with a reception in the grand entrance hall of Hyde Hall, an expansive English-style country house built on the shores of Otsego Lake in the years between 1817 and 1835.

The drawing room of Hyde Hall is the setting for this three-concert series. The final Hyde Hall performance of The Festival of American Romantics will explore the theme of Radical Democracy on July 7, and feature internationally known artists Patricia Schuman and David Pittsinger.

The Festival of American Romantics will continue throughout the summer with performances at The Glimmerglass Festival and an exhibit at the Fenimore Art Museum.

In July and August, Hyde Hall’s history will be explored and dramatized in the “Haunting of Hyde Hall” series of evening tours, offered July 17, 24 and 31 and Aug. 7 and 14.

Hyde Hall’s annual gala, this year with a “Downton Abbey” theme, will take place on Aug. 3.

For information, call 547-5098 or visit