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VIRGINIA OPERA PERFORMS VERDI'S TRAGIC MASTERPIECE "RIGOLETTO"

August 18, 2010
Contact: Press & Media Relations Coordinator (703-993-8794)

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GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY’S CENTER FOR THE ARTS

PRESENTS

VIRGINIA OPERA

VERDI’S “RIGOLETTO”

Friday, Oct. 15, 2010 at 8 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 17, 2010 at 2 p.m.

 

FAIRFAX, Va., Aug. 18, 2010 – Virginia Opera’s season opens with Giuseppe Verdi’s dark masterpiece of love, loss, betrayal and vengeance. Based on the Victor Hugo novel, this is the heartrending tale of the doomed jester Rigoletto, his naïve daughter and the lascivious duke. After mocking the noblemen whose wives and daughters have been the object of the Duke’s affections, the clown is threatened with revenge. Meanwhile, his secret daughter has fallen in love with the lecherous duke, whom she has mistaken for a student. Tragedy strikes when the young maiden becomes a hopeless pawn as her father and her lover conspire to destroy each other. The Virginia Opera performs “Rigoletto” at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts Concert Hall on Friday, Oct. 15 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 17 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. Glenn Winters, the Virginia Opera’s community outreach musical director, will be the speaker. Pre-performance discussions are sponsored by the Friends of the Center for the Arts.

“This compelling and popular work by one of opera’s greatest composers puts together some of opera’s greatest musical hits (‘La donna e mobile’ and the famous ‘Rigoletto Quartet’) to tell the story of how a jester’s audacious behavior in court and on the street backfires on him with truly heartfelt tears for his secluded daughter,” said Virginia Opera Artistic Director Peter Mark.

This dramatic opera features a magnificent cast that includes veteran Virginia Opera artists and those appearing with the company for the first time. Making his Virginia Opera debut in the title role is South Africa’s foremost baritone, Fikile Mvinjelwa, who has sung for Presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The role of Gilda, Rigoletto’s daughter, is sung by Sang-Eun Lee, who makes her Virginia Opera debut. With a range of more than three octaves, Lee specializes in high coloratura soprano repertoire as well as bel canto style and early music. Tenor Aurelio Domínguez, who sang the roles of Pargpignol in “La Bohème” and a peasant in “The Daughter of the Regiment” last season returns to sings the role of the Duke of Mantua. A Maryland resident, Domínguez has sung with the Baltimore Municipal Opera Company and is now a member of the Washington National Opera chorus. The cast also features Nathan Stark as Sparafucile, Audrey Babcock as Maddelena, Scott Bearden as Count Monterone, Kevin Moreno as Marullo, Andrew Owens as Matteo Borsa, Evan Brummel as Count Ceprano, Lindsay Russell as Giovanna and Sarah Larsen as Countess Ceprano.

With more than 700 performances and more than 100 productions with the Virginia Opera, Mark, the founding general and artistic director of Virginia Opera and the International Opera Alliance, returns to conduct this production of “Rigoletto.” Marc Astafan returns as stage director after last working on the Virginia Opera’s critically acclaimed production of “Tosca” in 2009. “After meeting with our young Rigoletto [Mvinjelwa] I realized that instead of trying to make him look and act the way we might ‘expect’ Rigoletto to look and act I thought the best way to go about telling this story was to embrace the wonderful casting,” Astafan said. “I’ve always found that the best and most believable portrayals come from using what the actor/singer has and knows, rather than trying to impose my thoughts as a director or attempting to force a performer into the ‘traditions’ of a role we think exists. I’m thrilled to be bringing this challenging vision to the Virginia Opera’s stage.”

Last staged by the Virginia Opera in 2004, “Rigoletto” will be sung in Italian with English supertitles. The Virginia Symphony Orchestra accompanies the production. The Virginia Opera may also be found on the web, at vaopera.org, on Twitter at http://www.Twitter.com/VaOpera and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/VaOpera.

 

Tickets for VIRGINIA OPERA’S production of “RIGOLETTO” are Friday: $86, $72, $44 and Sunday: $98, $80, $48. Charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit cfa.gmu.edu. 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 cfa.gmu.edu.

About Great Performances at Mason

Great Performances at Mason is a program of George Mason University's Center for the Arts, the professional presentation and production arm of the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA). CVPA provides an academic environment in which the arts are explored as individual disciplines and interdisciplinary forms that strengthen one another. The college prepares students for careers as creators, performers, teachers, scholars, arts leaders and arts entrepreneurs. Understanding that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the Center for the Arts, the professional presentation and production arm of the college, welcomes a variety of professional and world-renowned artists, musicians and actors to its stage. Students have the opportunity to perform, create and exhibit their work in a wide variety of public venues including a 2,000-seat Concert Hall. CVPA is home to the Schools of Music, Dance and Art, the Department of Theater, as well as the Computer Game Design, Arts Management and Film and Video Studies programs.

About George Mason University

Named the #1 national university to watch in the 2009 rankings of U.S. News & World Report, George Mason University is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with global distinction in a range of academic fields. Located in Northern Virginia near Washington, D.C., Mason provides students access to diverse cultural experiences and the most sought-after internships and employers in the country.  Mason offers strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering and information technology, organizational psychology, health care and visual and performing arts. With Mason professors conducting groundbreaking research in areas such as climate change, public policy and the biosciences, George Mason University is a leading example of the modern, public university.