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VIRGINIA OPERA PRESENTS THE VIRGINIA PREMIERE OF PHILIP GLASS’ “ORPHÉE,” FEB. 10 & 12
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GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY’S CENTER FOR THE ARTS
THE VIRGINIA PREMIERE OF PHILIP GLASS’ “ORPHÉE”
Friday, Feb. 10, 2012 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012 at 2 p.m.
FAIRFAX, Va., Jan. 4, 2011 – In an effort to expand its repertory and introduce new musical and dramatic experiences to its company and audiences, the Virginia Opera presents the Virginia Premiere of Philip Glass’ masterpiece, “Orphée,” based on Jean Cocteau’s stunning cinematic retelling of the ancient Greek myth. The Virginia Opera appears at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts on Friday, Feb. 10, 2012 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012 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.
Orphée is a famous, but misunderstood poet who falls for a beautiful new muse – Death, herself – nearly turning his back on life and his wife, Eurydice. This romantic, surrealistic work explores themes of sacrificing love for art, love transcending death and the immortality of art. Cocteau’s own screenplay for the 1949 French film serves as the libretto for Glass’ opera, which received its world premiere in 1993.
“The first time I saw ‘Orphée’ I thought I knew what to expect. I knew of Glass and his music so I thought I knew exactly how ‘Orphée’ would go,” says Robin Thompson, the Virginia Opera’s artistic advisor. “When the curtains opened, my expectations were demolished in every way possible. The music came out of the pit, a burst of energy and rhythm that I would never have associated with this composer. Jazzy from the downbeat, pulsing, infectious and heavily rhythmic, the sound grabbed my ear immediately and wouldn’t let go. I was totally hooked from Act I.”
The Virginia Opera premiere of “Orphée” will be conducted by Steven Jarvi and directed by Sam Helfrich, both making their Virginia Opera debuts. The Virginia Symphony Orchestra will provide the jazz-inspired musical orchestration.
“‘Orphée’ is not your typical opera,” says Helfrich. “It feels like a movie and indeed it was a movie. The composer took the screenplay of Jean Cocteau's wonderful film and set it directly to music –an unusual approach to writing an opera. Instead of the lengthier arias, ensembles and choral numbers you'll find in ‘Aïda’ or ‘Hansel and Gretel,’ for example, here you'll find shorter scenes, rapidly shifting locations and quick dialogue; it is a very different experience.”
Baritone Matthew Worth, who received rave reviews in the title role of the Virginia Opera’s 2010 production of “Don Giovanni,” returns as the young poet Orphée. The cast will also feature three major company debuts: soprano Sara Jakubiak as Eurydice, soprano Heather Buck as the mysterious and captivating La Princesse and tenor Jeffrey Lentz as the enigmatic Heurtebise. The cast also includes bass Christopher Temporelli as the Judge, bass Matthew Burns as the Poet, tenor Jonathan Blalock as Cégeste and bass Oliver Medina as Le Commissaire. Four talented Virginia Opera Spectrum Resident Artists will appear in the production; the newcomers are mezzo-soprano Marta Wryk as Aglaonice, tenor Drew Duncan as the Reporter and tenor Patrick O’Halloran as the Glazier; and Michael O’Halloran returns in the role of the Policeman.
“Orphée” is sung in French with English subtitles. 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 PHILIP GLASS’ “ORPHÉE” 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
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.