March 2017 Newsletter

Get to Know the Unique Sounds of Danú

This Friday, leading Irish ensemble Danú joins us for a St. Patrick’s Day Celebration. This group is known for its virtuosity on authentic Irish instruments, but how well do you know the instruments they play?

The bouzouki is a long-necked plucked lute, originally from Greece. Resembling a mandolin, the bouzouki has a round wooden body, with metal strings arranged in three or four double courses over a fretted fingerboard. The Irish bouzouki is an adaptation of the Greek bouzouki, made with unison strings and a flat back.

The tin whistle, also called the penny whistle is a simple, six-holed woodwind instrument. It is a type of fipple flute, putting it in the same class as the recorder, Native American flute, and other woodwind instruments that meet such criteria.

A button accordion is a type of accordion on which the melody-side keyboard consists of a series of buttons rather than piano-style keys of a piano accordion.

See these unique instruments played in concert!
Danú: St. Patrick’s Day Celebration
Friday, March 17 at 8 p.m.

Tickets and more information.

Puccini’s Last Opera: Turandot

At the start of the 20th century, Giacomo Puccini shone brightly on the world opera stage with La Bohème, Tosca, and Madame Butterfly, but personal scandal soon followed and his celebrity faded. In 1920, he set out to reclaim his former fame and began writing what he hoped would be his magnum opus, Turandot. Famously, Puccini wrote to a friend in March 1924 about his great work, "I have placed, in this opera, all my soul." Eight months later, following a brief period of illness, he died of throat cancer, leaving Turandot unfinished.

Set in mythical China, Turandot tells an epic story of revenge, power, and love. The opera centers on the icy Princess Turnadot who will only marry if her suitor can meet her challenge. When love-struck Prince Calaf succeeds, she persists in refusing him. In hopes of melting her heart, he offers her a new challenge, but Calaf’s success or failure was left up in the air at the time of Puccini’s untimely death.

Conductor Arturo Toscanini, Puccini’s friend and collaborator, tasked the young Italian composer Franco Alfano to finish the opera and decide the fate of Calaf and Turandot. Working with reams of Puccini’s illegible notes and sketches, Alfano constructed a romantic and unusually happy ending to this tragic story.

While Alfano’s composition is the usual conclusion to Puccini’s incomplete masterpiece, three other composers (Luciano Berio, Janet Maguire, and Hao Weiya) have attempted to supplant Alfano’s version, and there is debate among opera aficionados about which ending best completes the opera. For the Virginia Opera production, Alfano’s ending featuring a reprise of the famous aria "Nessun Dorma" will be performed.

Join us for Virginia Opera’s season finale: Puccini’s grandiose final opera Turandot on March 25 at 8 p.m. and March 26 at 2 p.m. in the Concert Hall.

Life Happens in The Kitchen!

On April 8 and 9, we welcome of The 7 Fingers of the Hand directly from Montreal in their highly imaginative and striking production of Cuisine & Confessions. In this multidisciplinary show, these extraordinary circus performers give new meaning to life in the family kitchen by combining dance, acrobatics, and theatrics with live cooking on stage. Their eye-popping choreography, impressive circus acts, and effective storytelling make for a unique (and humorous) spectacle unlike any other.

Inspired by our shared love of performing arts and food, the Center for the Arts will host an outdoor mini-festival between the 2 and 8 p.m. performances of Cuisine & Confessions on Saturday, April 8. There will be local food trucks selling snacks and dinner to attendees, free performances and demos by students and local groups, display tables with swag, and a "confessions" photo booth. For more information about the mini-festival happenings on April 8, please visit

Share Your Confession & Become a Winner

When it comes to food, we are all guilty! So, don’t be shy and share your guiltiest food pleasure by posting a photo or video to Facebook and/or Instagram, tagging @GMU_CFA, and using the hashtag #mycuisineconfession for a chance to win 2 tickets to the evening performance of Cuisine & Confessions on Saturday, April 8 at 8 p.m. The winner will be selected at random and announced via social media on Friday, April 7 by 1 p.m. Follow our weekly featured confessions on social media.

It’s Getting Harder to See on Grand Tier III

The lights in the Grand Tier III lobby, the top floor of the Center for the Arts Concert Hall, are slowly going out. Due to the age of the lighting equipment, replacement bulbs are no longer manufactured. In order to keep our beautiful facility out of the dark, the Center for the Arts is participating in George Mason University’s first-ever Giving Day.

On Mason Giving Day, units across the University will be working to raise funds for different projects. Our goal is to raise $5,000 toward the replacement the out-of-date lighting on Grand Tier III with state-of-the-art equipment, including color-changing, programmable, and energy-efficient LEDs.

Mason Giving Day will take place on April 6, 2017. This 24-hour philanthropic event will support initiatives from across the University. For more information about Mason Giving Day, the Grand Tier III lighting project, and other projects from across the University, visit

Coming Soon: The 2017-2018
Season Announcement

A new season of Great Performances at Mason is upon us! On Wednesday, April 5, we will host our annual Season Announcement, which will spotlight the best in dance, music, and theater touring productions. While the news will not be shared widely until after that date, the Friends of the Center for the Arts receive an exclusive invitation to this event and are the first to know of what’s to come in 2017-2018.

You, too, can be "in the know" by becoming a Friend today! Join our circle of supporters by Friday, March 31 and receive VIP invitations to special announcements (such as this one) and priority processing of season tickets, among other membership benefits.

May We Also Suggest

... this wonderful ballet program presented by our friends at the Kennedy Center!

Hamburg Ballet: John Neumeier's
The Little Mermaid
March 28 – April 2, 2017
Kennedy Center Opera House

Special Offer: $39 Orch!*

Hans Christian Andersen’s beloved tale of love and loss comes to life in this bold retelling. Following its auspicious 2004 Kennedy Center debut with the mesmerizing Nijinsky, Germany’s Hamburg Ballet returns with the D.C. premiere of another ambitious work by John Neumeier, the company's American artistic director who is internationally renowned for creating psychologically complex stories that straddle the worlds of drama and dance. Neumeier's modern vision for The Little Mermaid is a dark, probing exploration of a young woman who risks everything—rejection, alienation, even physical pain—to follow her heart. Tickets and more information.

*$39 offer valid on orchestra sections D-J for performances of Hamburg Ballet's The Little Mermaid on 3/28, 3/29, 3/30 at 7:30 p.m. Offer subject to availability. Not valid in combination with any other offer. Not valid on previously purchased tickets. Offer may be withdrawn at any time. Service fees may apply.

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