Tuesday, January 4, 2011


For Immediate Release

Contact: Jill Graziano Laiacona

Phone: (703) 993-8794

E-mail: jgrazia1@gmu.edu


MANASSAS, Va., Jan. 4, 2010Opera Lafayette brings a special preview performance of the modern premiere of Andre Grétry’s delightful romantic comedy “Le Magnifique” to the Hylton Performing Arts Center’s Merchant Hall on Friday, Feb. 4, 2011 at 8 p.m. to celebrate the Hylton Center’s inaugural season. This performance is part of the Encore Events at the Hylton Performing Arts Center.

                Written by Andre Grétry, Mozart’s most heralded French contemporary, this 18th-century opéra-comique takes place in Lorenzo (Il Magnifico) de’ Medici’s Florence and blends tender Gallic charm with lively Italian buffo. The centerpiece of this enchanting story is its celebrated “rose” scene, and the work opens with a programmatic, parading overture.

                The international cast of stars includes young Swiss tenor Emiliano Gonzalez Toro in his American debut, sopranos Elizabeth Calleo and Marguerite Krull, tenors Jeffrey Thompson and Karim Sulayman, baritone Doug Williams and narration by bass-baritone Randall Scarlata. The semi-staged performance is directed by Catherine Turocy with the Opera Lafayette Orchestra conducted by Ryan Brown.

                The Washington Post lauded Opera Lafayette’s 2009-2010 15th anniversary season, noting the ensemble “underlined its own unique place in Washington’s, or even America’s, cultural life.” Opera Lafayette is a period-instrument ensemble dedicated to performances of 17th and 18th-century operas, particularly the French repertoire. Founded in 1995 in Washington, D.C., by Artistic Director Ryan Brown, Opera Lafayette has earned critical acclaim and a loyal following for its performances and recordings with international singers renowned for their interpretations of baroque and classical operas. Opera Lafayette’s seasons include performances at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and at Rose Theater, Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. England’s Opera Magazine recognized Opera Lafayette as “an oasis of French Baroque opera in the United States.” Its New York City debut in October 2007 was lauded by The New York Times for “the crisp, resilient playing of the period orchestra, bringing the lilting dance music to colorful life.” Opera Lafayette’s 15th anniversary production of Gluck’s “Armide” played to sold-out houses in both Washington and New York. The New York Times praised the “stylish, flowing performance,” while The Washington Post lauded the “grace and ease to [Ryan Brown’s] phrasing” and the “vividness to the playing” of the orchestra.

                In the 2007–2008 season, Opera Lafayette established a young artists program, which continues to give talented emerging singers the opportunity to work with specialists in the field of 17th and 18th-century music. Opera Lafayette also offers educational programs in Washington, D.C. public schools, including interactive classroom sessions with Opera Lafayette artists, as well as family/community performances and preview performances at the Atlas Performing Arts Center.

                Opera Lafayette records for Naxos. Its expanding discography includes Gluck’s “Orphée et Euridice” (released in 2005), Sacchini’s “Oedipe à Colone” (2006), Rameau Operatic Arias (2007), Lully’s “Armide” (2008), Rebel and Francoeur’s “Zélindor, roi des Sylphes” (2009) and the newly released recording of Monsigny’s “Le Déserteur.” Its recording of Philidor’s “Sancho Pança” is to be released in 2011, with Grétry’s “Le Magnifique” to follow in 2012.



Tickets for OPERA LAFAYETTE’s preview performance of “LE MAGNIFIQUE” are $15, $20, $25. Visit the box office or charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit hyltoncenter.org. The Hylton Performing Arts Center is located on George Mason University’s Prince William Campus at 10960 George Mason Circle, Manassas, Va., 20110. Free parking is available in the lot next to the Hylton Center. For more information, please visit hyltoncenter.org.


About the Hylton Performing Arts Center
Dedicated to bringing a world-class performing arts venue to the Prince William region, the Hylton Performing Arts Center was born out of a partnership among Prince William County, George Mason University, the City of Manassas, the Commonwealth of Virginia and individuals and businesses in the private sector. Soaring more than nine stories and boasting a stunning mix of copper, glass and masonry, the 85,000-square foot center is home to two unparalleled performance venues for local arts groups and performers from around the world, as well as university-related activities. Modeled after the intimate European opera houses of the 19th century, Merchant Hall is a 1,140-seat multipurpose proscenium theater, which is encircled by 27 private boxes that rise three levels. The Gregory Family Theater is a flexible, 4,400-square foot space that can be configured for many different types of performances and events. In addition, the Didlake Grand Foyer, with its sweeping staircase, provides an ideal setting for community, corporate and social events. The Hylton Performing Arts Center, the only building of its kind in the area, is sure to quickly become the cultural hub of Prince William County and the surrounding communities and is a shining example of collaboration and commitment to the arts.



About George Mason University
Named the #1 national university to watch in the 2009 rankings of U.S. News & World Report, 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.


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