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VIRGINIA OPERA BRINGS PUCCINI'S "MADAMA BUTTERFLY" TO GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY'S CENTER FOR THE ARTS

March 2, 2011
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GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY’S CENTER FOR THE ARTS

PRESENTS

VIRGINIA OPERA

PUCCINI’S “MADAMA BUTTERFLY”

Friday, April 1, 2011 at 8 p.m.

Sunday, April 3, 2012 at 2 p.m.

 

FAIRFAX, Va., Feb. 21, 2011 The Virginia Opera concludes its 36th season with a stunning production of Giacomo Puccini’s heartbreaking “Madama Butterfly,” one of the most beautiful and influential operas of all time. “Die with honor rather than live in disgrace” is the heartbeat of this opera and reflects the strength and respect of Cio-Cio San’s Japanese culture. The Virginia Opera brings this tragic masterpiece to George Mason University’s Center for the Arts Concert Hall on Friday, April 1 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 3 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. Pre-performance discussions are sponsored by the Friends of the Center for the Arts.

First staged in 1904 at La Scala in Milan, “Madama Butterfly” is the most performed opera in the United States, according to Opera America. Last performed by the Virginia Opera in 2003, “Madama Butterfly” was received by packed houses of opera enthusiasts as well as newcomers to opera. This beloved tale transports audiences to the Japanese city of Nagasaki at the turn of the 20th century. Cultures collide and tragedy ensues when a flippant American officer takes a young geisha as his bride and then leaves her to return home to the United States. After years of anxiously awaiting his return, the lovesick girl is distraught to learn that her husband has remarried. Filled with love, loss, betrayal and sacrifice, this captivating opera touches the heart with its deep human tragedy, powerful music and the extraordinary voices of the Virginia Opera. 

Virginia Opera’s Associate Conductor Joseph Walsh is the conductor for this production. Walsh has conducted several recent Virginia Opera productions, including “The Daughter of the Regiment,” “Don Giovanni” and this season’s “Così fan tutte,” receiving widespread critical acclaim for each. He has been involved in the musical preparation for more than 50 Virginia Opera productions since joining the company in 1995, and has been instrumental in the development of the Virginia Opera’s Spectrum Resident Artist Program, an intensive training program for young artists. He also co-founded the company’s Student Training and Artistic Residency program.

Having previously directed numerous previous Virginia Opera’s productions, including “The Daughter of the Regiment,” “The Elixir of Love,” “Lucia di Lammermoor” and “Susannah,” Dorothy Danner returns to direct this production of “Madama Butterfly.” Noted for her inventive staging, she has directed almost 200 productions of operettas, musicals and plays in the United States, Canada and Belgium. She has staged operas for the Glimmerglass, Houston, Minnesota, Cleveland, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Portland companies, among others.

Soprano Sandra Lopez makes her Virginia Opera debut as Cio-Cio San, and Lieutenant Pinkerton is sung by former Spectrum Resident Artist tenor Brian Jagde, who in the last year has made the transition from baritone to tenor. Suzuki is sung by mezzo-soprano Magdalena Wór. Sharpless is sung by baritone Levi Hernandez. Goro is sung by Jeffrey Halili, who returns to the Virginia Opera after appearances as Gastone in 2005’s “La Traviata” and Nerone in 2007’s “Agrippina.” The Bonze is sung by bass-baritone Ashraf Sewailam, a native of Egypt, who last appeared as Ferrando in 2008’s “Il Trovatore.” A Spectrum Resident Artist, baritone Michael O’Halloran sings the role of Prince Yamadori. The Imperial Commissioner is sung by bass Andrew Ross René. Soprano Shelly Milam sings the role of Kate Pinkerton. The Official Registrar is sung by bass John Charles Holman. The role of Trouble, Cio-Cio San’s child, is played by Isaak Mihalap.

“Madama Butterfly will be sung in Italian with English supertitles. The orchestra for this production is composed of members of the Richmond Symphony Orchestra. Performances will be presented with one intermission. Images will be available online at www.vaopera.orgpress in the coming weeks. 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 PUCCINI’S “MADAMA BUTTERFLY” are Friday: $44, $72, $86 and Sunday: $48, $80, $98. 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.