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VIRGINIA OPERA PRESENTS ROSSINI'S "THE BARBER OF SEVILLE"

March 5, 2009
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GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY’S CENTER FOR THE ARTS

PRESENTS

THE VIRGINIA OPERA’S PRODUCTION of

ROSSINI’S "THE BARBER OF SEVILLE"

Friday, April 3, 2009 at 8 p.m.

Sunday, April 5, 2009 at 2 p.m.

·   Featuring some of the most famous music of all time (FIGARO!)

·   By popular demand, French soprano Manon Strauss Evrard — “Lucia di Lammermoor” (2008), “The Tales of Hoffmann” (2007) — returns as Rosina

·   Tenor John Zuckerman as Count Almaviva and baritone Steven Condy as Dr. Bartolo make their company debut

·   Baritone Jason Detwiler — “Eugene Onegin” (2008) — returns as Figaro

 

FAIRFAX, Va., March 2, 2009George Mason University and the Virginia Opera invite audiences to Rossini’s spicy masterpiece “The Barber of Seville,” the final production of the Virginia Opera’s 2008-2009 season, which comes to the Center for the Arts Concert Hall on Friday, April 3 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 5 at 2 p.m. A pre-performance discussion, free to ticket holders, begins 45 minutes prior to the performance on the Center’s Grand Tier III.

If you enjoyed Virginia Opera’s recent operatic comedies, “The Marriage of Figaro” and “The Pirates of Penzance,” then you will fall in love with “The Barber of Seville.” Rossini’s dazzling opera is a nonstop comedy express. Its spirited music invites us to join in the outrageous mayhem dispensed by a singing barber. His meddling ways may yet help the handsome young Count Almaviva to marry the beautiful Rosina, however, her guardian, Dr. Bartolo, has other plans. To what extremes will these men take their cat and mouse games for one woman’s heart? It will take a close shave from the barber we all know as “Figaro! Figaro! FIGARO!”

French soprano Manon Strauss Evrard returns to Virginia Opera’s stage as beautiful Rosina, the center of the men’s attention. Strauss Evrard commanded the stage with her singing and acting in “Lucia di Lammermoor” (2008) and “The Tales of Hoffmann” (2007). An exciting and passionate singer, tenor John Zuckerman makes his Virginia Opera debut as the handsome Count Almaviva. Returning baritone Jason Detwiler is the famous barber Figaro, and is a magnetic performer with an expressive voice. A natural actor with a robust voice, baritone Steven Condy also makes his Virginia Opera debut as Dr. Bartolo, Rosina’s guardian. Dynamic Stage Director Greg Ganakas returns for this production of “The Barber of Seville,” having previously directed “Carousel” (1996) and “Oklahoma!” (1997).

Virginia Opera Artistic Director, Peter Mark conducts both performances. Mark recently conducted his 100th Virginia Opera production, “Il Trovatore,” bringing his total performances with the Virginia Opera to 700.

Ganakas explains, “The story is sobering because it has such history and integrity and I will give it the respect it deserves.” Ganakas adds, “Everyone on stage has a purpose. The opera is like a play and with all my theater experience, ‘Barber’ will be iconic.”

“‘The Barber of Seville’ is a playful opera. It is a traditional opera buffa - perfect for contemporary audiences,” Mark said. “With the versatile, vivacious and vixenish Manon Strauss Evrard as our Rosina, and the madcap and marvelously musical Greg Ganakas as stage director, this production of ‘The Barber of Seville’ is a thoroughly happy and high-jinks ride through Rossini’s hysterical comic masterpiece.”

Manon Strauss Evrard performed to rave reviews at Virginia Opera in “The Tales of Hoffmann” (2007) and “Lucia di Lammermoor” (2008). M.D. Ridge of Port Folio Weekly wrote,French soprano Manon Strauss Evrard sings with extraordinary power and a glittering, perfectly controlled vibrato.” Edgar Loessin of WHRO-FM said, “[Manon] Strauss Evrard brings distinction with a soprano voice that easily rises above the entire company and orchestra when necessary.” On Hampton Roads proclaimed, “Baritone Jason Detwiler’s dark, yet unaffected voice portrays ‘Eugene Onegin’ with a sincere and sultry arrogance that is vocally and dramatically unparalleled.”

The Richmond Symphony accompanies the production, which is sung in Italian with Digitext Supertitles projected above the stage and an estimated running time of two hours and 28 minutes, including two intermissions. 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 production of “THE BARBER OF SEVILLE” are $86, $72, $44 (Friday) and $98, $80, $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.