Press Room

For Press Inquiries, contact Camille Cintrón Devlin, Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications at 703-993-8794 or


November 8, 2011
Contact: Press & Media Relations Coordinator (703-993-8794)

For general information about tickets, seating, parking, etc., for performances and events happening at the Center for the Arts, please contact the ticket office directly at 703-993-2787.






Friday, Dec. 2, 2011 at 8 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011 at 2 p.m. 


FAIRFAX, Va., Oct. 31, 2011 – The Virginia Opera brings 19th century composer Engelbert Humperdinck’s magical and mysterious fairy tale opera “Hansel and Gretel” to George Mason University’s Center for the Arts on Friday, Dec. 2, 2011 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011 at 2 p.m. This performance is Family Friendly: youth through grade 12 can obtain half price tickets when accompanied by an adult. 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.

Based on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, this timeless masterpiece is both delightful and haunting. Punished by their mother, young Hansel and Gretel are sent into the Ilsenstein Forest to look for strawberries, but cannot find their way home as night approaches. Scared and hungry, they come upon a cottage made of delicious gingerbread and sweets, and are tricked and captured by the evil witch who lives within – until the clever and brave Gretel saves them and they are reunited with their parents.

The Virginia Opera is honored to collaborate with the Governor’s School for the Arts on this production of “Hansel and Gretel,” through the Student Training and Artistic Residency (S.T.A.R.) Program, a training venture between the Virginia Opera and the Vocal Music department of the Governor’s School. Now in its 11th year, the Governor’s School will exclusively provide the chorus for the production. Alan Fischer, department chair of Vocal Music at the Governor’s School, said, “This partnership benefits both groups: the students are ecstatic about being given a wonderful opportunity to work with a professional opera company and the Virginia Opera gets to work with students, many who hope to sing professionally someday.”

“Hansel and Gretel” features a cast of new young singers, five of whom will be making their Virginia Opera debuts. Mezzo-soprano Karin Mushegain debuts as Hansel, and first year Spectrum Resident Artist, soprano Julia Ebner, debuts as Gretel. Mezzo-soprano Margaret Gawrysiak debuts in the dual roles of Gertrude, Hansel and Gretel’s mother, and the children’s nemesis, The Witch. Countertenor Jason Abrams debuts as the Sandman, while debuting Spectrum Resident Artist, soprano Elizabeth Baldwin, appears as the Dew Fairy. Joining these five new singers in the role of Peter, the children’s father, is acclaimed baritone Eric Greene, who last appeared as Escamillo in the Virginia Opera’s 2006 production of “Carmen.”


Noted American conductor Gerald Steichen makes his debut as a guest conductor with the Virginia Opera leading the Virginia Symphony and the young cast in this new production. Steichen has established himself as one of America’s most versatile musicians with a career has spanned symphony to opera and Broadway to chamber music. Kevin Newbury will return to direct “Hansel and Gretel.” Newbury directed the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s “Rappahannock County” for Virginia Opera, the Virginia Arts Festival and the Texas Performing Arts at the University of Texas at Austin.

“Hansel and Gretel” is sung in English and German with English supertitles. Images will be available online at www.vaopera.orgpress in the coming weeks. The Virginia Opera may also be found on the web, at, on Twitter at and Facebook at


Tickets for VIRGINIA OPERA’S production of HUMPERDINCK’S “HANSEL AND GRETEL” are Friday - $44, $72, $86 and Sunday - $48, $80, $98. Family Friendly! Youth through grade 12 can obtain half price tickets when accompanied by an adult. Charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit 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


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

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. George Mason University – Where Innovation Is Tradition.