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Rick Davis on Creating an Opera, 3/19, 8PM

February 16, 2007
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GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY ANNOUNCES
THE VISION SERIES—
RICK DAVIS
ASSOCIATE DEAN, PROFESSOR OF THEATER
COLLEGE OF VISUAL AND PERFORMING ARTS
WORDS INTO MUSIC. OR, HOW AN OLD PLAY BECOMES A NEW OPERA
MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2007 AT 8 PM

Fairfax, Virginia, February 16, 2007—Rick Davis presents Words into Music. Or, How an Old Play Becomes a New Opera, next in the University’s Vision Series on Monday, March 19, 2007 at 8:00 p.m. at the Center for the Arts Concert Hall. A reception follows the lecture. Davis, who serves as Associate Dean and Professor of Theater at George Mason University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, and Artistic Director of the university’s professional performing arts venue, the Center for the Arts, along with a company of actors and musicians demonstrates how he and composer Kim D. Sherman have approached their new operatic adaptation of Love’s Comedy, an early work by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen.
Many of opera’s greatest hits—from Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro to Puccini’s Tosca—have been adapted from dramatic sources, explains Davis. It is the librettist’s job to select the most important elements from the original play, re-envision them in operatic terms, and make the language “sing” so that the composer can do his or her work. In Words Into Music, side-by-side performances of excerpts from play and opera illustrate the role music plays in storytelling and characterization, and how language is altered to meet the demands of the operatic form.
Prior to coming to Mason in 1991, Rick Davis worked for six seasons at Baltimore’s Center Stage as Resident Dramaturg and Associate Artistic Director. He has directed theater and opera across the country. His long collaboration with composer Kim D. Sherman includes the recently premiered concert work The Songbird and the Eagle, for soloists, chorus, and orchestra, commissioned and performed by the San Jose Chamber Orchestra. He is the co-author of two books: Ibsen: Four Major Plays with Brian Johnston, and Writing About Theatre with Christopher Thaiss. His co-translations of Ibsen (A Doll’s House, Ghosts, An Enemy of the People, Hedda Gabler, John Gabriel Borkman) have been performed at leading regional theaters including Washington, D.C.’s ShakespeareTheatre, Berkeley Rep, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Center Stage, and Alliance Theatre. He has also translated several plays by Calderón de la Barca.


Rick Davis was educated at Lawrence University (BA) and the Yale School of Drama (MFA, DFA). He teaches in Mason’s Department of Theater and Master of Arts Management program, and directs for the George Mason University Department of Music’s Opera Workshop.
The Vision Series offers the community a chance to share the frontiers of research and creativity with practitioners from across a wide spectrum of work. Each lecture is free and open to the public, held in the Concert Hall of Mason’s Center for the Arts, and is followed by a reception with the speaker.

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All Vision lectures are FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC and take place at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts Concert Hall. Tickets are required. Visit www.gmu.edu/cfa/vision to reserve tickets and see the full lecture schedule, or visit the Center for the Arts ticket office (Tues.-Sat., 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.). For information call 703-993-8888. The Center for the Arts 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 for more information on this and other Center for the Arts events.