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 George Mason University’s Center for the Arts Presents Virginia Opera Stephen Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014 at 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014 at 2 p.m.

September 15, 2014
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George Mason University’s Center for the Arts


Virginia Opera

Stephen Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”

Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014 at 8 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014 at 2 p.m.


 “First of Firsts” production kicks off Virginia Opera’s landmark 40th anniversary season


FAIRFAX, Va., Sept. 15, 2014 – Virginia Opera, the Official Opera Company of the Commonwealth of Virginia, opens its landmark 40th anniversary season with Stephen Sondheim’s Tony Award-winning musical thriller about revenge, murder and meat pies. The company performs “Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts in Fairfax on Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014 at 2 p.m. A pre-performance discussion with Glenn “Dr. Opera” Winters, free to ticketholders, will be held 45 minutes prior to each performance on the Center’s Grand Tier III and is sponsored by the Friends of the Center for the Arts.

This is the deliciously disturbing tale of Sweeney Todd, whose idyllic life was utterly destroyed by a corrupt and lecherous judge. Bitter and angry, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street teams up with shop owner Mrs. Lovett to gratify his insatiable need for revenge while providing her with a steady supply of meat for her thriving pie business. Their gruesome scheme works – until Todd’s past catches up to him. Filled with wonderful melodies, brilliant lyrics and a twisting plot of lost innocence and evil, this work is a devilishly good time.

For this groundbreaking event, Virginia Opera welcomes a legendary production team led by Director Ron Daniels, who co-wrote the stage adaptation of the Victorian “penny dreadful” that inspired Sondheim to create his masterpiece of American musical theater. The company offers this season opening in a co-production with Opera Theatre of St. Louis, which debuted this version with Daniels at the helm in May 2012. “Stephen Sondheim transformed the play into a musical that captures in full measure its vigorous full-throated, full-blooded and emotionally generous story telling – which is what opera is!” Daniels said.

“Virginia Opera joins Vancouver Opera, Madison Opera and other companies in producing ‘Sweeney Todd’this season,” said Russell P. Allen, Virginia Opera’s president and CEO. “And I know that our audiences will enjoy it. The artist performances in this production are stunning, the production itself is high drama, at its best, the set is amazing; all the elements of opera that you enjoy are here.”

Conducting the production is Virginia Opera’s Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor Adam Turner. Returning from his triumphant success in the title role of last season's “Falstaff,” baritone Stephen Powell performs the title role. The role of Mrs. Lovett is performed by the critically acclaimed mezzo-soprano Phyllis Pancella, an artist praised for her radiant voice and commanding stage presence. Broadway superstar soprano Diana DiMarzio performs as the Beggar Woman, a role she performed in the 2005 Broadway revival opposite Michael Cerveris and Patti LuPone, and on the nationwide tour. Virginia Opera audience favorite bass-baritone Jake Gardner appears as the villainous Judge Turpin, a role he will reprise later this year with Houston Grand Opera. The cast will also include many nationally recruited talents from Virginia Opera’s Emerging Artists Program, including soprano Amanda Opuszynski as Johanna.

“Sweeney Todd” will be performed in English with English supertitles. Images will be available online at in the coming weeks. Virginia Opera may also be found on the web at, on Twitter at @vaopera and on Facebook at



Tickets for VIRGINIA OPERA’S production of “SWEENEY TODD” are Saturday: $86, $72 and $44 and Sunday: $98, $80 and $48. Youth Discount: tickets are half price for youth through grade 12. Visit the ticket office (open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) or charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit The Center for the Arts complex is located on George Mason University’s Fairfax Campus at the intersection of Braddock Road and Route 123. Paid parking is located in the Mason Pond Parking Deck adjacent the Concert Hall and FREE parking is located in university Lot K. For more information, please visit Like us on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @GMU_CFA.


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, Art and Theater, as well as the Computer Game Design, Arts Management and Film and Video Studies programs.


About George Mason University

George Mason University is Virginia’s largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls more than 33,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the past half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity and commitment to accessibility. Mason is also one of the best values in higher education, producing graduates who lead all Virginia schools with the highest annual salaries.