Famed playwright Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning drama “A Streetcar Named Desire” gains new life with Virginia Opera. For the first time in its 38-year history, the company will present André Previn’s operatic adaptation of this American classic at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts in Fairfax on Friday, March 1, 2013 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 2 p.m. The third installment in Virginia Opera’s American opera cycle, this modern masterpiece blends the seductively scandalous tale of Williams’ play with a brilliant score, creating a musical experience that will enchant both opera devotees and newcomers.
In this haunting tale, Blanche DuBois, a fading and fragile Southern belle, moves into the New Orleans home of her sister, Stella, in an attempt to leave her shadowy past behind her. When a potential suitor, Mitch, is introduced, Blanche believes she finally has a chance to escape the memories that torment her. But when violent clashes and sexual tension erupt between Blanche and her brutish brother-in-law, Stanley Kowalski, she is forced to live a reality she cannot accept. As the personalities of Blanche and Stanley collide, with a pregnant Stella caught in the middle, the drama comes to its shocking climax, driving Blanche even further into her own delusions.
Tennessee Williams’ original play premiered on Broadway in 1947, earning him the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1948. André Previn, celebrated pianist, conductor and composer, adapted and composed the opera in collaboration with librettist Philip Littell. Previn’s first operatic work, “A Streetcar Named Desire” was premiered by the San Francisco Opera in 1998, and earned Previn the Grand Prix du Disque.
Acclaimed director Sam Helfrich, who directed Virginia Opera’s production of Philip Glass’ “Orphée” last season, makes his directorial return to Virginia Opera with this performance. The production also features the company debut of renowned conductor Ari Pelto, who has recently led performances by many of the nation’s leading opera companies, including New York City Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and San Francisco Opera. The Virginia Opera Orchestra for this production is provided by the Virginia Symphony Orchestra.
Returning to the stage with Virginia Opera are sopranos Kelly Cae Hogan and Julia Ebner. Hogan, who stars as Blanche DuBois, received praise for her appearances in 1998’s “The Merry Widow” and in 2011’s “Die Walküre.” Ebner wowed audiences in last season’s “Hansel and Gretel” and “The Mikado”; she returns to Virginia Opera as Stella Kowalski. Making their company debuts are baritone David Adam Moore as the menacing Stanley Kowalski, and Scott Ramsay as Blanche’s would-be suitor, Harold “Mitch” Mitchell.
“A Streetcar Named Desire” will be sung in English with English supertitles. A pre-performance discussion, free to ticket holders, begins 45 minutes prior to the performance on the Center’s Grand Tier III and is sponsored by the Friends of the Center for the Arts.
Patrons can get $10 off their Virginia Opera tickets when they use the code STREETCAR10 at purchase.
Bellissimo Ristorante in historic Fairfax offers 15% discount (not including alcohol) to Virginia Opera ticket holders on Friday and Sunday performance evenings starting at 5 p.m. Reservations by phone (703-293-2367) or e-mail required. Visit http://bellissimorestaurant.com/ for more details.
Tickets are $44, $72 and $86. Tickets to this performance can be purchased at the box office at George Mason University's Center for the Arts (open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) or by calling 888-945-2468 or visiting cfa.gmu.edu. George Mason University's Center for the Arts is located on Mason's Fairfax Campus, at the intersection of Braddock Rd. and Rt. 123. Free parking is available in Lot K and paid parking is available in the Mason Pond Parking Deck adjacent to the Concert Hall.
For more information about these performances or other events at George Mason University's Center for the Arts, please visit cfa.gmu.edu. Like the Center for the Arts on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gmucfa and follow the Center for the Arts on Twitter at @GMU_CFA.
This article was written by Amanda Rodriguez, with assistance from Jill Graziano Laiacona.