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Virginia Opera: "A Christmas Carol, the Opera" 11/22 & 11/

November 1, 2002
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.

All new production with stage direction by Dorothy Danner
New abstract set designed by Erhard Rom
All performances conducted by
Maestro Peter Mark

FAIRFAX, VIRGINIA, OCTOBER 31, 2002—Virginia Opera’s 28th Season continues with Thea Musgrave’s interpretation of the Dickens classic A Christmas Carol, with a new production created by the team of stage director Dorothy Danner (Tosca/2001, Porgy & Bess/2000, The Merry Widow/1998) scenic designer Erhard Rom (The Merry Widow/1998) and conductor Peter Mark. Originally commissioned by Virginia Opera in 1978, and last produced on Virginia Opera’s stage in 1986, this operatic presentation of Dickens’ timeless tale is enhanced by a powerful score, captivating singing and lively dance. Performances are Friday, November 22, 2002 at 8:00 p.m., and Sunday, November 24 at 2:00 p.m. at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts mainstage Concert Hall. Pre-performance discussions are scheduled for ticketholders 45-minutes prior to each curtain on the hall’s Grand Tier.

The Artists
Peter Mark
Stage Director Dorothy Danner
Scenic Designer Erhard Rom
Costume Coordinator
Pat Seyller
Ebenezer Scrooge Randall Scarlata*
Spirit of Christmas Daniel Breaker*
Fan, Liza Fezziwig, Belinda Cratchit,
Starving Woman, Lucy Moira Girard
Belle Fezziwig, Martha Cratchit, Laundress, Rosie

Danielle Hermon*
Mrs. Fezziwig, Mrs. Cratchit, Charwoman, Aunt Louise
Elizabeth Hogue
Bob Cratchit, Mr. Dorrit, Man with Snuff Box
Gary Briggle
Fred, Ben, Man w/Red Face Andrew Krikawa*
Portly Gent, Mr. Fezziwig, Fat Man, Topper
Terry Hodges
Tiny Tim
Paul Fink*

* Virginia Opera Mainstage Debut

From the minute the curtain rises to reveal a cold, foggy Christmas Eve, the audience is transported into the world of Scrooge, the miser. Everyone remembers knowingly the helplessness felt as Scrooge berates his clerk, Bob Cratchit for arriving late to work, and his crustiness as his nephew, Fred, enters and wishes his uncle a merry Christmas. And, the audience awaits all that they know will happen after Scrooge grudgingly allows Bob the next day off to celebrate Christmas. With dramatic music and a production designed to enhance this truly universal Christmas tale, Thea Musgrave’s A Christmas Carol, the Opera does justice to one of the most beloved holiday stories ever written. Evoking Scrooge’s ever growing concern about his Christmas Eve visitors, Musgrave remains true to Dickens’ words in music and lyrics that are theatrical, emotional, and eventually uplifting, as dawn breaks and Scrooge awakens and realizes he is still alive -- with a chance to share his joy with others. The Spirit of Christmas Present appears and his unseen presence brings happiness and goodwill to all…as does A Christmas Carol, the Opera.

Since his Virginia Opera debut in 1975, Artistic Director & Conductor Peter Mark has presided over Virginia Opera’s growth into the fourteenth largest opera company in the nation. As Artistic Director he has identified and presented some of the nation’s most promising young singers, and has brought directors from the theater and opera world to Virginia in new productions designed by some of the nation’s top opera and theater designers. As conductor, he has led over 70 highly successful Virginia Opera productions and has brought the artistic achievements of Virginia Opera to the international stage, conducting the company’s productions in South America, London and New York.

Among Virginia Opera’s most recognized productions are four operas by Mr. Mark’s wife, distinguished Scottish-American composer Thea Musgrave: the world premieres of A Christmas Carol, Harriet, The Woman Called Moses, and Simón Bolívar and the American premiere of Mary Queen of Scots. In addition to leading these productions at Virginia Opera, Mr. Mark has conducted the British premiere of A Christmas Carol for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (telecast throughout the United Kingdom by Granada Television); ten sold-out performances of Porgy and Bess at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires (which opened that famed house’s 1992 season) and La Bohème at the Torre del Lago Puccini Festival in Italy.

Dorothy Danner turned to stage directing after performing in a dozen On- and Off-Broadway shows from George Abbot’s Once Upon A Mattress to Michael Bonnet’s Ballroom. She danced on many TV specials, Ed Sullivan shows, and in film, including Mel Brooks’ The Producers. Noted for her inventive stagings, she has directed over 150 productions of operettas, musicals and plays throughout the U.S., Canada and Belgium, and has staged operas for many companies including, Glimmerglass, Houston, Minnesota, Cleveland, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Portland. She garnered wide critical acclaim for A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Juilliard, for the PBS television showing of Ballymore, the Richard Wargo opera based on a Brian Friel play, and the Boston Pops' Tribute to Gilbert and Sullivan. Ms. Danner’s previous work for Virginia Opera includes Porgy and Bess, The Merry Widow, and last season’s highly successful Tosca. She has served on the faculties of both the Juilliard School and the Curtis Institute of Music and has guest-directed at the Academy of Vocal Arts, Carnegie Mellon and New York University.

Scenic Designer Erhard Rom's numerous credits include: Wolf Trap Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Boston Lyric Opera, New Orleans Opera, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, ABC Television, Curtis Institute of Music, San Francisco Opera Center (Merola Program), Tisch School of the Arts, and others. Mr. Rom is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Maryland and a recipient of the Tribute to the Classical Arts Award for Creative Achievement in Opera (1999).

Randall Scarlata has appeared as a soloist with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and others. Mr. Scarlata has as the Count in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, Mercutio in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, Maximillian in Candide, and Pelléas in Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, and Jesus in Bach’s St. John Passion. Daniel Breaker, a graduate of Juilliard, has performed in Twelfth Night, The Hothouse, Riff Raff, As You Like It, The Love of Three Oranges, West Side Story, Mame, HMS Pinafore, and others. Moira Girard most recently performed the roles of Pamina in The Magic Flute (Taconic Opera) and Peep Bo in The Mikado (Virginia Opera). As a member of Virginia Opera's Spectrum Young Artist Program she performed the World Premiere of Seymour Barab's Cinderella. Moira's Musical Theatre credits include Fiona MacLarin in Brigadoon, Louisa in The Fantasticks, Philia in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and Connie Miller in The 1940's Radio Hour. Danielle Hermon has been singing with The Utah Festival Opera in such roles as Susan in Desert Song, Lizette in Naughty Marietta, and Madeline in Face on the Bathroom Floor. Elizabeth Hogue made her Virginia Opera mainstage debut last season as the Third Maid in Elektra. Gary Briggle (Bob Cratchit, Mr. Dorrit) Mr. Briggle is delighted to return to our stage, having made his debut as "KoKo" in our acclaimed production of The Mikado last fall. Andrew Krikawa makes his Virginia Opera debut in A Christmas Carol. In the spring of 2000, Terry Hodges did double duty for Piedmont Opera as Luther/Crespel in Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffman. He debuted with Pacific Opera Victoria as Bartolo in The Barber of Seville, followed by Father Trulove in The Rakes Progress for Vancouver Opera. Paul Fink, a 5th Grader at Kingston Elementary School in Virginia Beach, made his acting debut in 1st Grade as the Town Policeman in The Pied Piper, part of Virginia Opera’s In-School Touring Program.

Tickets for Thea Musgrave’s A Christmas Carol, The Opera are $78, $64, and $42. Charge by phone at 703-218-6500 or visit 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.

GREAT PERFORMANCES AT MASON is a program of George Mason University’s 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.