Press Room

For Press Inquiries, contact Camille Cintrón Devlin, Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications at 703-993-8794 or cdevlin6@gmu.edu

VIRGINIA OPERA: ROMEO & JULIET, DEC. 2 & 4

October 28, 2005
Contact: Press & Media Relations Coordinator (703-993-8794)

For general information about tickets, seating, parking, etc., for performances and events happening at the Center for the Arts, please contact the ticket office directly at 703-993-2787.

GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY’S CENTER FOR THE ARTS PRESENTS
VIRGINIA OPERA’S PRODUCTION OF CHARLES GOUNOD’S
ROMEO & JULIET
An opera in three acts by Charles Gounod
Libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré from the play Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
featuring –

Two superb Chinese performers in the title roles, furthering Virginia’s cultural ties
to China via Maestro Peter Mark, Virginia Opera, and the new International Opera Alliance
Return of beautiful veteran Broadway soprano Wei Huang as Juliet
Debut of Shanghai Opera leading tenor Chi Liming as Romeo
Exciting new staging and outstanding swordplay with the debut
of stage director and fight choreographer David B. Lefkowich


Fairfax, Virginia, October 17, 2005 –Virginia Opera brings one of the world’s most beloved tales to the stage with a production of Charles Gounod’s setting of Romeo & Juliet. Based on William Shakespeare's famous play about the two star-crossed lovers in 13th-century Verona, Gounod's score is replete with dramatic choruses and evocative love duets.

Romeo, son of the Montague family, falls in love with Juliet, daughter of the Capulets. But these rich and powerful families are deadly enemies, and before long, tragedy strikes. Performances at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts Concert Hall are Friday, December 2 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, December 4 at 2:00 p.m. with pre-performance discussions beginning 45-minutes prior to each curtain on the hall’s Grand Tier. A wine and cheese tasting is held in the lobby before Friday’s performance.

The title roles are held by two acclaimed Chinese performers, Wei Huang as Juliet and Chi Liming as Romeo. The presence of these two artists signifies the continuation of the work begun by Virginia Opera Artistic Director and Conductor Peter Mark last season in collaboration with the new operatic cultural exchange program, International Opera Alliance, including his conducting of Tosca at the grand opening of the Shanghai Opera House in the city’s Oriental Arts Center in summer 2005.

Soprano Wei Huang returns to Virginia Opera in the title role of Juliet. Already a star on Broadway, she received a 2003 Drama Desk nomination as “Best Actress in a Musical” and the TONY Honor for Excellence for her portrayal as Mimì in Baz Luhrmann's La Bohème. Virginia Opera provided Ms. Huang’s professional opera company debut in last season’s TURANDOT, where she portrayed the devoted slave-girl Liù.

Chi Liming, a leading tenor of Shanghai Opera, has sung Rodolfo and other popular Italian and French opera leads, as well as Chinese opera roles both in China and abroad, makes his Virginia Opera debut as Romeo. Described by Peter Mark as “one of the new generation of Western Opera singers to emerge from China with tremendous vocal, musical, and emotional potential for our field,” Liming performed under Maestro Mark’s baton in this summer’s premier Italian language production of Puccini’s TOSCA in Shanghai.

Also making his Virginia Opera debut is noted stage director and fight choreographer David B. Lefkowich, whose new staging of the production includes breathtaking choreographed swordplay. Mr. Lefkowich recently worked at The Metropolitan Opera on The Magic Flute and Aida, and with Glimmerglass Opera on Le Portrait de Manon and The Consul.

The production will be sung in French with Digitext SuperTitles projected above the stage.

Artistic Director and Conductor
Peter Mark

Stage Director
David B. Lefkowich

Juliet
Wei Huang

Romeo
Chi Liming*

Mercutio
Jason Kaminski*

Frère Laurent
Raymond Diaz*

Capulet
Todd Robinson

Tybalt
Michael Shell

Duke of Verona
Scott Root

Stéphano
Laurel Cameron

Gertrude
Adriane Shelton

Gregorio
Michael Redding*

Benvolio
Michael Dailey

Paris
Wes Mason

• Virginia Opera mainstage debut

# # #

Tickets for VIRGINIA OPERA’S ROMEO & JULIET are $44-84. Charge by phone at 888-945-2468 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.