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VIRGINIA OPERA BRINGS DONIZETTI'S "THE ELIXIR OF LOVE" TO GMU'S CENTER FOR THE ARTS

November 11, 2008
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

DONIZETTI’S "THE ELIXIR OF LOVE"

Friday, Dec. 5, 2008 at 8 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 6, 2008 at 2 p.m.

·  The most intoxicating “love potion” story ever set on stage!

·  Dorothy Danner returns in the director’s chair with a fresh comedic vision

·  Return of beloved soprano Jane Redding and debut of tenor Joshua Kohl 

 

FAIRFAX, Va., Nov. 10, 2008—Virginia Opera invites audiences to toast the holidays and fall head-over-heels for Gaetano Donizetti’s intoxicating romantic comedy "The Elixir of Love," coming to George Mason University’s Center for the Arts on Friday, Dec. 5 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 6 at 2 p.m. A pre-performance discussion, free to ticket holders, begins 45 minutes prior to each performance on the Center’s Grand Tier III.

Last staged by the Virginia Opera in 1998, "The Elixir of Love" is the classic love potion story with a comic twist. In the Italian countryside, the young farmer Nemorino drinks a “magical” elixir in the hope it will help him win the love of Adina, the prettiest girl in town. Little does he know that the potion, sold to him by a quack doctor, is little more than ordinary red wine.

Soprano Jane Redding makes a delightful return to Virginia Opera’s stage as Adina, having earned high praise from critics for previous comedic roles with the company, including Poppea in "Agrippina" (2007) and Susanna in "The Marriage of Figaro" (2006).

Making their company debuts are tenor Joshua Kohl as the love struck farmer Nemorino and baritone Stephen Hartley as the debonair Sergeant Belcore. The cast of five is topped off by returning bass-baritone Todd Robinson as the traveling cure-all salesman, Dr. Dulcamara, and soprano Allison Pohl as Gianetta. Mr. Robinson virtually stole the show with his moving aria as Prince Gremin in "Eugene Onegin" earlier this year, and Ms. Pohl is an exciting talent who last season was a member of the company’s Spectrum Resident Artist program for young artists.

Returning with a re-envisioned staging of "The Elixir of Love" is acclaimed Broadway stage director and choreographer Dorothy Danner, praised for her previous work at Virginia Opera, including most recently "Lucia di Lammermoor" (2008), "Susannah" and "Carmen" (2006), and "La Traviata" (2005).

Virginia Opera Associate Conductor and Associate Artistic Director Joseph Walsh will conduct all performances, after having just led in July a production of Puccini’s "Gianni Schicchi" for Italy’s Amalfi Coast Music Festival, held in an area of the country much like the setting of "The Elixir of Love."

“I am very much looking forward to helping offer a taste of Italy to Virginia,” says Walsh. “Of Donizetti’s 65 operas, "Elixir" broke new musical ground as the first comic opera to enmesh itself with moments of poignant tenderness and heartfelt melancholy, drawing the genre away from its buffo historic origins and moving it towards serious opera. It is a classic opera with show-stopping patter songs alongside gorgeously sumptuous melodies and ensembles, all set against the beautiful backdrop of the Italian countryside.”

The Virginia Symphony provides the orchestra for the production, which will be sung in Italian with Digitext Supertitles projected above the stage and an estimated running time of two hours and 17 minutes, including one intermission. Virginia Opera may also be found on the web at myspace.com/vaopera and youtube.com/vaopera.

 

The Center for the Arts is pleased to recognize the generous support of PNC and the PNC Foundation as sponsor of the 2008-09 Great Performances at Mason Season.

Tickets for VIRGINIA OPERA’S "THE ELIXIR OF LOVE" are $86, $72, $44 (Friday) and $98, $80, $48 (Saturday). 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.