Opera begins a new LOV affair in Henrico County

LOV – Lyric Opera Virginia – has a home in Henrico County for its inaugural season.

The new company was formed earlier this year by Maestro Peter Mark, founder and artistic director of Virginia Opera for 36 years (Mark left that company last season).

Grand opera, a Broadway favorite and a Jewel Box production of an operatic classic will delight diehard opera fans and, organizers hope, attract new fans in the new venues.

“It is so exciting for us,” said Mark. “The Kramer Center at the Steward School is a jewel. It’s absolutely first-rate. It’s an intimate, accessible theater and all the seats have close contact with the stage.

“That kind of intimacy and immediacy is part of the excitement of opera.”

Based in Tidewater, LOV will offer productions throughout the state, including two shows at the Steward School in Western Henrico and one at the Landmark Theatre in Richmond.

The season will include three well-known productions:

• La Traviata by Verdi – A grand opera depicting the much-loved story of a Parisian courtesan who loves a younger man but gives him up. French soprano and Virginia favorite Manon Strauss Evrard will lead the cast. Evrard was acclaimed for her virtuosity in Virginia opera productions of The Tales of Hoffmann, The Daughter of the Regiment, Lucia and The Barber of Seville. Peter Mark will conduct.

Performances: Friday, Sept. 16 (8 p.m.), Sunday, Sept. 18 (2:30 p.m.), Paul R. Cramer Center for the Arts at The Steward School, 11600 Gayton Road.

• The King and I by Rodgers and Hammerstein – The beloved musical depicts the relationship and unspoken love between King Mongkut of Siam and Anna, a British governess hired to care for his children. The production features Broadway alumni in the lead roles and a collaboration with Todd Rosenlieb Dance to recreate Jerome Robbin’s original choreography. Local children will be onstage playing the king’s children; the performance is part of Virginia’s Minds Wide Open initiative (this year’s theme is Children in the Arts).

Performances: Friday, Jan. 20, 2012 (8 p.m.) , Sunday, January 22, 2012 (2:30 p.m.), Landmark Theatre, 6 N. Laurel St.

• Carmen by Bizet – One of the world’s most popular operas. The Jewel Box opera production is a fully theatrical 90-minute alternative to the original four-act production. The tragic love triangle features Polish mezzo-soprano Magdalena Wor in the title role.

Performances: Saturday, May 19, 2012 (8 p.m.), Sunday, May 20, 2012 (7:30 p.m.), Paul R. Cramer Center for the Arts at The Steward School.

Subscriptions are available for evening or Sunday shows and are $58 to $268.

For details, visit http://www.lyricoperavirginia.org or call (757) 446-6666.
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