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VIRGINIA OPERA: TURANDOT

September 30, 2004
Contact: Press & Media Relations Coordinator (703-993-8794)

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VIRGINIA OPERA OPENS ITS 2004-2005 SEASON IN FAIRFAX AT
GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY’S CENTER FOR THE ARTS WITH PUCCINI’S TURANDOT
An opera in three acts by Giacomo Puccini
The last duet and final scene of the opera were completed by Franco Alfano
Libretto by Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni from the play by Carlo Gozzi
Performed in Italian with English Digitext Supertitles

FEATURING
Virginia Opera debuts of stunning soprano Mary Ellen Schauber as Princess Turandot
and debonair tenor Michael Hayes as Prince Calaf
A classic production directed by Virginia Opera veteran Lillian Groag
and conducted by Virginia Opera Artistic Director Peter Mark
An acclaimed roster of Opera, Broadway, Theatre and Dance artists
Friday, October 15, 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, October 17, 2:00 p.m.



Fairfax, Virginia, September 15, 2004Virginia Opera’s 2004-2005 Northern Virginia Season at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts Concert Hall – begins Friday, October 15, 2004, at 8:00 p.m., with Puccini’s final masterpiece, Turandot. The opera is performed again on Sunday, October 17 at 2:00 p.m. Pre-performance discussions begin 45-minutes prior to each curtain on the Grand Tier of the Concert Hall.

This beloved opera opens a window for audiences into ancient Peking where suitors seeking to marry the gorgeous Princess Turandot are beheaded for failing to answer her impossible riddles. The situation is turned upside-down when the clever Prince Calaf – at the risk of losing his life – enters the contest for Turandot’s love.
The production features the debut of soprano Mary Ellen Schauber as the beautiful Princess Turandot and Michael Hayes as the handsome Prince Calaf.

"What is unusual about this production," said Virginia Opera’s Artistic Director, Peter Mark, "is that our two leads not only have the vocal ability to stand out against a powerful orchestration, but they are also physically attractive enough to present a believable romance. Mary Ellen Schauber could easily be a model, yet she still has the commanding voice and personality to sing Princess Turandot."

Acclaimed stage director Lillian Groag (ELEKTRA, 2002; DIE WALKÜRE, 2002 and FIDELIO, 2004) and Peter Mark have assembled a formidable supporting cast, including internationally acclaimed Wei Huang as Liù, who recently sang Mimì on Broadway in Baz Luhrmann’s LA BOHÈME, and Sun Yu (The Bonze in MADAME BUTTERFLY, 2003) as Timur. Character tenor Tracy Wise, known for his versatility and comedic presence, joins Markus Beam and Dean Anthony (Alfred in DIE FLEDERMAUS, 2003) to round out the cast as Pang, Ping, and Pong, the three ministers of the court.

Tickets for VIRGINIA OPERA’s Turandot, Friday, October 15 and Sunday, October 17, are $84, $68, $44. Charge by phone at 703-218-6500 or visit www.tickets.com. The Center for the Arts complex is located on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University at the intersection of Braddock Road and Route 123. Paid parking is located in the deck adjacent to the mainstage Concert Hall and FREE parking is located in university lot K. Visit www.gmu.edu/cfa


GREAT PERFORMANCES AT MASON is a program of George Mason University’s Center for the Arts, the professional presenting arm of the College of Visual and Performing Arts. The College of Visual and Performing Arts exists to create an academic environment in which the arts may be considered both as individual disciplines and as interdisciplinary forms that strengthen each other. Believing that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the College draws on a variety of professional presenting and producing units where artists from across the country and around the world regularly perform, give master classes, work with students during extended residencies, and interact with the community in a variety of other ways. These programs at the Center for the Arts Concert Hall, TheaterSpace, Galleries, Harris Theater, and other venues, provide a diverse selection of challenging and entertaining cultural experiences for the University community, as well as Northern Virginia and the greater Washington, D.C. area. The College houses four academic departments: Art and Visual Technology, Dance, Music and Theater.