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VIRGINIA OPERA PRESENTS JACQUES OFFENBACH'S "TALES OF HOFFMANN"

September 10, 2007
Contact: Press & Media Relations Coordinator (703-993-8794)

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GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY’S CENTER FOR THE ARTS PRESENTS
THE VIRGINIA OPERA’S production of
JACQUES OFFENBACH’S "THE TALES OF HOFFMANN"
Friday, Oct. 12 at 8 p.m.
& Sunday, Oct. 14 at 2 p.m.

Return of prolific stage director Lillian Groag;
Debut of French soprano Manon Strauss Evrard
as all four leading ladies;
Mesmerizing Turkish bass Burak Bilgili returns
by popular demand as all villains;
Dashing tenor and former U.S. Marine Dan Snyder returns in title role


FAIRFAX, Virginia, Sept. 10, 2007— Virginia Opera's 2007-08 season begins with a production of Jacques Offenbach's "The Tales of Hoffmann," in which a poet tells the fantastical stories of his three great loves and how they ended in misery due to the meddling incarnations of a supernatural villain. The opera comes to the stage of George Mason University Center for the Arts on Friday, Oct. 12 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 14 at 2 p.m. A pre-performance discussion is held 45-minutes prior to each performance on the Hall’s Grand Tier.

"It has been out of our Virginia Opera repertoire far too long," says Artistic Director Peter Mark of the opera, which was last performed by the company in 1989 and makes its return with new scenery, costumes, lighting, direction and a powerful cast of debuting and returning artists.

Returning to direct is Lillian Groag, who staged last season's acclaimed Virginia premiere of "Agrippina," in addition to numerous other premieres and productions in past seasons.

French soprano Manon Strauss Evrard makes her company debut in the dynamic roles of all four leading ladies: Olympia, Antonia, Giulietta and Stella.

"I think that Manon Strauss Evrard is one of the most extraordinary talents I have ever heard," said Mark, who has introduced to Virginia Opera audiences over the years sopranos such as Diana Soviero, Renée Fleming, Sujung Kim, Jane Redding and more recently, Cristina Nassif. "There is no question in my mind that Manon has everything it takes for a major and remarkable international career in opera: extraordinary beauty, musicianship, vocal technique, dramatic integration, confidence and the uniqueness of her own personality - all galvanizing attention wherever she appears."

Turkish bass sensation Burak Bilgili - whose return has been anticipated by Virginia Opera audiences since his sinister portrayal of Méphistophélès in 2005's "Faust" - sings the villainous roles of Lindorf, Coppélius, Dapertutto and Dr. Miracle.

Returning in the title role as Hoffmann is tenor Dan Snyder, the former U.S. Marine and U.S. Army chorus soloist who first debuted with Virginia Opera off-stage as a young sailor's voice in 2005 during "Tristan & Isolde," and later that year opened the 2005-06 season in the leading role of Alfredo Germont for "La Traviata."

Designs for the new production include the set by Erhard Rom, costumes by Martha Hally, and lighting by Mark McCullough.

Mark is scheduled to conduct both performances of the production in Fairfax.

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

 


PNC is the 2007-08 Season Sponsor for Great Performances at Mason.

Tickets for Virginia Opera’s The Tales of Hoffmann are $86, $72, $44 (Friday), and $94, $78, $48 (Sunday). 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.

About George Mason University

George Mason University, located in the heart of Northern Virginia’s technology corridor near Washington, D.C., is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with national distinction in a range of academic fields. With strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering, information technology, biotechnology and health care, Mason prepares its students to succeed in the work force and meet the needs of the region and the world. Mason professors conduct groundbreaking research in areas such as cancer, climate change, information technology and the biosciences, and Mason’s Center for the Arts brings world-renowned artists, musicians and actors to its stage. Its School of Law is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top 35 law schools in the United States.