November 2017 Newsletter

Give a Gift. Make a Memory.

Don’t just give a gift this holiday season. Give inspiration. Give entertainment. Give the gift of a memory you’ll make when you share one of our Great Performances at Mason with a loved one. From popular holiday performances you can enjoy now to the critically-acclaimed events on our spring line-up, we’ve got your holiday gift giving covered this season.

Holiday performances kick off in just two weeks! These audience favorites make great traditions and appeal to patrons of all ages.

A Chanticleer Christmas "The world’s reigning male chorus" (The New Yorker) performs seasonal classical pieces and holiday favorites.

American Festival Pops Orchestra’s Songs of the Season
This jovial evening includes a program of sentimental favorites, culminating in a rousing sing-a-long—an audience favorite!

Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy’s A Celtic Family Christmas
Celebrate the holidays as these stars share their traditions in song, dance, and stories by the fire.

Vienna Boys Choir
One of the finest choral ensembles in the world makes its traditional visit to the Center for a glorious Christmas concert.

You can also purchase tickets to another upcoming spring performance as a gift or let loved ones choose their performances by purchasing a Center for the Arts gift certificate that can be redeemed for any upcoming Great Performances at Mason production. Order by calling 703-993-2787.

Need performance suggestions or further assistance? Our Ticket Office is ready to help! Call 703-993-2787 to speak with a knowledgeable staff member about our holiday offerings, tickets, and gift certificate options. We hope you’ll share the arts this holiday season…and we hope to see you at the Center soon!

Holiday Drive
Please consider adding Presents for Puerto Rico to your holiday shopping list. In the wake of Hurricane Maria, many residents lost the items they would normally use to celebrate the festive season. The Center for the Arts is partnering with Rosana Guernica to collect items to provide holiday cheer for the citizens of Puerto Rico.

From November 25 through December 17, donations of the following will be accepted in the Center for the Arts lobby: chemo ducks for play therapy, musical instruments for parranda (guitars and cuatros, tambourines, maracas, palitos, and guiros), Christmas candles and matches, and Christmas lights (battery operated with batteries preferred).

Monetary donations are also being accepted to help cover the cost of transporting the items and support Rosana’s other relief efforts, which include transporting patients and delivering medical supplies. Donate now.

Learn more about this drive and Rosana Guernica’s humanitarian efforts for Puerto Rico.

A Strong Dame Wins the West!

Jeffrey SiegelSpaghetti Western fans are in for a treat next month when Virginia Opera transforms the Concert Hall into the Polka Dot Saloon for Puccini’s The Girl of the Golden West. Though composed more than 50 years before A Fistful of Dollars, Puccini’s tale of love during the California Gold Rush is replete with jealousy, betrayal, and redemption. The “girl” in The Girl of the Golden West, Minnie, is especially notable, for she is unlike the typical Puccini heroine.

The usual Puccini female protagonist is often a doomed damsel who dies tragically at the opera’s climax, but Minnie is no fragile flower. She makes this clear in the opening when she shoots her rifle to break up a brawl in the saloon she operates. Unlike Mimí from La bohème or Madama Butterfly, this Puccini heroine boldly takes charge of her own fate. After thwarting the fight and giving the patrons a Bible lesson, one bar regular tells Minnie he wants her to be his wife and promises to take care of her. But Minnie can take care of herself, thank you very much, and she tells him that she seeks “true love” instead.

Minnie finds true love in a mysterious stranger, Dick Johnson, who turns out to be a bandit wanted by the law. During their love duet, she tells him about her poor upbringing and how she struck out on her own, settled in California, and started her own business. “If I'd been taught more,” Minnie sings, “'what mightn't I have been? Think of it.”

Minnie learned enough, however, to go full-throttle after what she wants in life—to live happily-ever-after with her true love. While Johnson nearly bleeds to death, Minnie cleverly saves his life during a tense game of poker. But before the two love birds can ride off into the sunset together, Minnie must rescue Johnson from his death one more time! Just like in the opening, Minnie brandishes her rifle, but it’s her good deeds and kindness that win the day.

Virginia Opera’s The Girl of the Golden West
Saturday, December 2 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, December 3 at 2 p.m.
Tickets and information

Dancing with the Pros

After more than a decade, the New York City-based Doug Varone and Dancers returns to the Center for the Arts in a compelling performance celebrating the acclaimed company’s 30th anniversary. The seasoned dancers will be joined by students from Mason’s School of Dance to present one of Varone’s newest works, in the shelter of the fold.

in the shelter of the fold is comprised of episodic and stand-alone vignettes that contemplate faith, belief, coping, realization, and choice. The work premiered on November 5, 2016 at the Performing Arts Center in Purchase College, and was created in residence at Skidmore College in Saratoga, New York. In a special treat, Doug Varone has chosen 12 dancers from Mason’s School of Dance to perform with his company.

Auditions for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity took place last April, and the selected dancers returned to campus ahead of the fall semester to participate in a residency with a Doug Varone company member. The learning experience continued in October when Varone himself offered workshops and rehearsals in the Mason Dance Studio.

Witness the hard work and passion of these talented students as they perform side-by-side with one of the best professional dance companies in the country!

Doug Varone and Dancers
in the shelter of the fold 
featuring the Mason Dance Company
Saturday, November 18 at 8 p.m.
Tickets and information

#GivingTuesday is coming!

In this season of gratitude, Americans across the country support their favorite non-profits by making charitable gifts on “#GivingTuesday,” the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. We hope that you will think of the Center for the Arts and the College of Visual and Performing Arts this year on Tuesday, November 28.

Donations are critical to the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA), which oversees the Center for the Arts. Each year, gifts fund everything from a Steinway grand piano in the Concert Hall to scholarships and faculty research in the classroom. This year on #GivingTuesday, CVPA will be raising funds for an original alumni commission of a new work of art (visual or performing), in order to give our graduates a chance to showcase their immense talents right here at Mason. Support this project.

If you would like to learn more about the College of Visual and Performing Arts’ alumni commission, contact Susan Graziano at 703-993-4188 or

Don’t forget to share your support online and use #GivingTuesday on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to help spread the word about this wonderful initiative!

A Special Offer from our Friends at Fairfax Symphony Orchestra!

Saturday, December 16 at 4 p.m.    
Save 10% on tickets with discount code GMU.
Fairfax Symphony Orchestra
Christopher Zimmerman, conductor
with The Fairfax Ballet and featuring Lindsey

Croop & Anthony Santos of Dance Theatre of Harlem 
Experience this timeless holiday classic with the FSO and the Fairfax Ballet—a holiday tradition your family will always cherish. Enjoy a winter wonderland of dancing snowflakes, sugar plum fairies, and epic battles between heroic toy soldiers and mischievous mice. It’s the perfect holiday treat for the entire family!

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