Wednesday, March 2, 2011


For Immediate Release

Contact:  Jill Graziano Laiacona


Maestro Lorin Maazel conducts three performances

at the Hylton Performing Arts Center this July!


·         Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess” in Concert, July 7 at 8 p.m.

·         Puccini’s “Il Tabarro” and “Gianni Schicchi,” July 14 at 8 p.m.

·         Sesquicentennial Concert: 150th Anniversary of the First Battle of Manassas, featuring mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves, July 21 at 8 p.m.


MANASSAS, Va., March 2, 2010 – The Hylton Performing Arts Center is pleased to announce that it is partnering with the Castleton Festival to present three performances in the Hylton Center’s Merchant Hall this July. For the first time, the Castleton Festival musicians and singers will present three concerts at the Hylton Center in Manassas, in addition to the annual festival at the Castleton Farms estate in Rappahannock County, Va., held June 25 through July 24. These three performances will be exclusive to the Hylton Center, and Maestro Lorin Maazel, founder and artistic director of the Castleton Festival, will conduct each of these Castleton Festival at the Hylton concerts.

“The Hylton Center is honored to partner with the Castleton Festival, bringing the highest level of classical music to one of the finest venues on the East Coast,” said Jean Kellogg, the Hylton Center’s executive director. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to present some of today's stars and the stars of tomorrow in our beautiful new performing arts center.”

            On Thursday, July 7 at 8 p.m., the young artists of the Castleton Festival perform a concert version of Gershwin’s beloved opera, “Porgy and Bess.” Gershwin’s 1935 masterpiece has been hailed by countless critics as the greatest American opera and combines opera, jazz and Broadway music with a heartrending love story. Set in Charleston, S.C., the struggling occupants of Catfish Row live a life of hard work and tough times, and constantly yearn for a better life and great love. In this concert version, the Castleton Festival artists perform some of the most memorable music of all time from this cherished opera, including “It Ain’t Necessarily So,” “Bess, You is my Woman Now,” “I Loves You, Porgy,” “A Woman is a Sometime Thing,”  “I Got Plenty o’ Nuttin’” and “Summertime.” Patrick Blackwell and Reyna Carguill perform the roles of lovers Porgy and Bess, while John Fulton sings Crown and Chauncey Packer portrays Sportin’ Life.

                The festival continues on Thursday, July 14 at 8 p.m. with “Il Tabarro” and “Gianni Schicchi,” the first and third parts of Giacomo Puccini’s “Il Trittico” (The Triptych), a series of three one-act operas featuring contrasting themes. “Il Tabarro” (The Cloak) is set in Paris on a barge moored on the Seine. The quiet, brooding Michele suspects that his wife, Giorgetta, is having an affair and preparing to leave him, and his suspicions are quickly confirmed. He learns that his rival for his wife’s affections is none other than Luigi, a member of his crew, and his discovery results in tragedy for this doomed love triangle. One of the funniest operas ever written, “Gianni Schicchi” is based on a chapter from Dante’s “Divine Comedy.” Set in Florence at the end of the 13th century, this darkly comic satire begins with the death of Buoso Donati, a wealthy man whose family has gathered by his side to mourn his death – but more importantly, to search frantically for his will. Upon finding it, his relatives discover that he left most of his money and possessions to the local monks. Hilarity ensues when the greedy family hires the clever and cunning Gianni Schicchi to help them find a solution to their woes, and he outwits them. Baritone Corey Crider sings the title role, and soprano Joyce El-Khoury sings the role of Lauretta, Gianni Schicchi’s beloved daughter. In a review of El-Khoury’s rendering of the famous aria “O mio babbino caro,” The Washington Post described her as “ … floating out of the gorgeous tune with aplomb.”

The Castleton Festival at the Hylton culminates on Thursday, July 21 at 8 p.m. with a concert of American music commemorating the First Battle of Manassas (Bull Run) featuring acclaimed opera luminary and mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves, a Washington, D.C. native renowned for her stunning interpretations of Carmen and Delilah. This sesquicentennial concert features an evening of great American music, including Ferde Grofé’s “On the Trail” (from the “Grand Canyon Suite”), Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring” and Leonard Bernstein’s “Symphonic Dances” from “West Side Story.” The latter will be conducted by Joshua Weilerstein, the 2009 winner of the prestigious Malko Competition for Young Conductors, making his Castleton Festival debut. The evening will also feature Graves performing songs by Stephen Foster with the Castleton Festival Orchestra in accompaniment. “Denyce Graves [is] a singer whose tones run from the depths to the peaks – unforced, unpushed – in tones that are beautiful and moving, and one who communicates the sense of the words that she sings.” (Financial Times of London)

For more than five decades, Lorin Maazel has been one of the world’s most esteemed and sought-after conductors. Formerly the music director of the New York Philharmonic, he is currently the music director of the Palau de les Arts “Reina Sofia” in Spain, and will take on this role with the Munich Philharmonic in 2012. He also guest conducts with many of the world’s leading orchestras. Maestro Maazel and his wife, actress Dietlinde Turban Maazel, established the Chateauville Foundation in 1997 and the Castleton Festival blossomed in 2009 to exceptional acclaim from the foundation’s enormously successful residency program that fosters young artists, advanced students and emerging professionals and provides a range of formal and informal performance and training activities. The Castleton Festival is held each summer at the Maazels’ bucolic farm estate in Rappahannock County, Va.

For more information about these performances, please visit or 






Tickets for each performance are $30, $45, $60. Buy all three festival concerts for $67.50, $101.25, $135 and save 25% (This special offer for all three concerts is only available in person at the Hylton Center ticket office or by phone at 888-945-2468). Visit the box office or charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit 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



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.


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