The Marcella Sembrich Opera Museum

Sembrich Museum indoors.jpg

The opera isn't the only reason to visit.

By Jessica Pasko

Okay, so the words "opera museum" don't exactly scream cool.

Still, I'm going to risk my street cred and suggest a visit to the Marcella Sembrich Opera Museum .

No, you don't have to like opera to enjoy it.

So why should you go there?

M. Semb.jpgWell, it's not just an opera museum.

First off, the setting is beautiful. There's some excellent hiking and it's a great place for picnics. It's located right on the banks of Lake George and shaded by dozens of tall, magnificent pine trees. It's just 4.5 acres, but it's filled with wandering trails that are just beautiful to meander on a calm, summer day. The views of the lake with the Adirondack Mountains in the background are quite stunning. Even the drive up is lovely.

So who was Marcella Sembrich? She was one of the bigwig opera singers of her day. She performed with the Metropolitan Opera company from its initial season in 1883 until 1909 and was probably most famous for playing Mimi in "La Boheme." Later she taught music lessons during the summer in her little pink stucco studio in Bolton Landing. When she died, the house was turned into a museum.

If you're a theater nerd like me, you'll be into seeing the small but impressive collection of costumes, playbills and other memorabilia from her touring days. And the studio itself boasts a lot of very cool stuf -- like letters between Sembrich and such luminaries as Mark Twain and Thomas Edison and Sembrich's own grand piano.

That piano itself is pretty cool - and it's still in use. From mid-June to September, it's a featured part of a series of intimate, salon-style musical performances.

This summer, in honor of the 100th anniversary of Sembrich's notable farewell at The Met, the museum is hosting a series of lectures, performances and film screenings (from Phantom of the Opera to The Rape of Europa to Hairspray). There's also a two week celebration of artist Degas that they're hosting in conjunction with The Hyde Collection.

Come for the scenery or a film or the art -- but while you're there, you may want to try a little opera. Hey, you never know.

A donation of $2 is suggested, which makes it a cheap day out. A lot of the events themselves are free or a nominal admission price. And Bolton Landing is a cute little town to explore -- it's like a more sedate version of Lake George Village.

The museum officially opens for the season on Monday, June 15th, but there's also an opening reception this Friday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Find It

Marcella Sembrich Opera Museum
4800 Lake Shore Drive
Bolton Landing , NY 12814-0417

518-644-2431

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