Virginia Opera Announces Addition to 2012-13 Season

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NORFOLK, Va. – Virginia Opera is adding a fifth production to the 2012-13 schedule and will now close next season with Rodgers and Hammerstein’s beloved musical Carousel. The musical will round out Virginia Opera’s 38th Season following The Pearl Fishers by Georges Bizet, Die Fledermaus by Johan Strauss II, A Streetcar Named Desire by André Previn, and The Marriage of Figaro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The show is being presented by Virginia Opera in conjunction with the Virginia Arts Festival’s 2013 Season and opens Friday, May 10, 2013 at 8:00 PM at the Harrison Opera House in Norfolk, Virginia. Carousel will run for eight performances over two consecutive weekends in Norfolk, including performances on Friday and Saturday evenings and Saturday and Sunday matinees.

Carousel is the second collaboration between renowned musical-theatre team Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. It opened on Broadway in April 1945 and was an immediate success with both critics and audiences, initially running for almost 900 performances. Carousel has been repeatedly revived and re-recorded, most recently in 1994 when it won five Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical. In 1999, TIME magazine named Carousel the best musical of the 20th century. Set on the coast of Maine, Carousel is a story of love and redemption surrounding the tragic relationship between gruff carousel barker, Billy Bigelow, and naïve millworker, Julie Jordan. The show is full of memorable show tunes including “If I Loved You,” “Blow High, Blow Low,” “This Was a Real Nice Clambake,” and, most recognizably, “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”

Award-winning director and choreographer Greg Ganakas returns to direct this revival of his hit production of the musical, produced by Virginia Opera in 1996. Adam Turner, Virginia Opera’s Resident Conductor, leads the Virginia Symphony Orchestra in the pit, while acclaimed baritone Matthew Worth returns to the Virginia Opera stage to star as Billy Bigelow following his recent success in the title role of the Opera’s 2012 production of Orphée.

A winner of the Connecticut Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Direction of a Musical (Brigadoon), Greg Ganakas has directed many musical theatre productions, as well as opera and television. Credits include collaborations with Disney Live Entertainment and Radio City Music Hall Productions. A committed educator, he has served on the faculty of New York University, where he founded their nationally-renowned Music Theatre program. Ganakas directed Virginia Opera’s first production of Carousel in 1996. He has also directed Oklahoma!, The Barber of Seville, and Porgy and Bess for the company. About Ganakas’ Porgy and Bess, Lee Teply of The Virginian-Pilot said, “With near-perfect calculation of what was needed, stage director Greg Ganakas gave the cast lots of movement that both looked natural and had purpose. He also chose the right times to stop the action, allowing attention to go to just one or two characters.”

Adam Turner, Virginia Opera’s Resident Conductor and Chorus Master will conduct Carousel. Maestro Turner made his mainstage conducting debut for Virginia Opera in the spring of 2012 conducting several performances of the critically acclaimed The Mikado. This summer Maestro Turner will serve as Chorus Master and Assistant Conductor for Leonard Bernstein’s Candide with Portland Opera. He will also return to Central City Opera for his second season as Associate Conductor and Chorus Master; while there he will make his mainstage conducting debut, leading three performances of La Bohème and a performance of Oklahoma!

Matthew Worth, who starred at Virginia Opera as Don Giovanni (2010) and as Orphée (2012) will sing the lead in Carousel, yet another troubled anti-hero, Billy Bigelow. When he sang Orphée, Tim Smith of The Baltimore Sun said, “Matthew Worth soared in the title role. His big, warm baritone filled out the music beautifully, with lots of nuance in the phrasing. There was a natural, conversational quality to his singing that helped make his acting all the more persuasive.”

Though presented as part of the 2012-13 Season, Carousel is not being sold as part of a subscription package and must be purchased separately. Current subscribers are now able to add tickets for the musical to their season ticket package at a special rate, before they are available to the general public. Ticket prices for Carousel range from $35-$100 and will be available for sale on Virginia Opera’s website at www.vaopera.org, and via phone for Norfolk performances at 757.623.1223.

All performances will be held at the Harrison Opera House located at 160. E. Virginia Beach Blvd., Norfolk, Va., 23510. The performance schedule is as follows:

  • Friday, May 10, 2013 at 8:00 PM
  • Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 2:30 PM
  • Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 8:00 PM
  • Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 2:30 PM
  • Friday, May 17, 2013 at 8:00 PM
  • Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 2:30 PM
  • Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 8:00 PM
  • Sunday, May 19, 2013 at 2:30 PM

Contact Director of Marketing & Communications, Anna Russell at 757-627-9545 ext. 3316, or via e-mail at anna.russell@vaopera.org for more information.

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