Virginia Arts Festival 15th Celebration Season: A Spectacular Array of Artists and Performances

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9 Cities, 50 Days, Hundreds of World-Class Artists: Enjoy incredible artists, commissioned works, extraordinary collaborations, and unforgettable performances of great music, dance, and theater as the Festival present’s dozens of world-class artists to audiences from Williamsburg to Norfolk to Virginia Beach.

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9 Cities, 50 Days, Hundreds of World-Class Artists

From the stages of Hampton Roads to the skies above, the 15th anniversary season of the Virginia Arts Festival will reach new heights with a spectacular lineup of performances and special events over 50 days in nine cities including Norfolk, Virginia Beach, and Williamsburg, April 12-May 30, 2011. Single tickets for Festival events go on sale February 6, 2011. Reserve your seats now for these history-making performances.

Among the highlights of the 2011 season is the world premiere of Rappahannock County (April 12-17), a new music theater work about life during the Civil War co-commissioned by the Virginia Arts Festival. Written to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, its creators, renowned composer Ricky Ian Gordon (creator of the Obie Award-winning Orpheus & Euridice and the acclaimed opera The Grapes of Wrath) and celebrated librettist/lyricist Mark Campbell (Volpone, Later the Same Evening, Songs from an Unmade Bed) were inspired by real diaries, letters, and personal accounts from the period.

Peter Shaffer’s Tony Award-winning play Amadeus (May 20 & 22) performed by the Chautauqua Theater Company with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and Chorus under the direction of Vivienne Benesch and JoAnn Falletta, is a thrilling dramatic journey into the mind and music of Amadeus Mozart and his envious contemporary, composer Anonio Salieri. Featuring music from The Marriage of Figaro, The Magic Flute, and Requiem, this inspired collaboration follows two tragically flawed characters driven by an unparalleled artistic force.

Returning to the Festival this season, the incomparable Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (May 13-15) is celebrating both the last year of Judith Jamison’s tenure as Artistic Director and the 50th anniversary of Revelations, one of the most important dance works of the 20th century. Ailey’s artistry and athleticism is matched only by a bold, celebratory spirit that has captured the hearts of millions of enthralled audiences in 71 countries on six continents over the last five decades.

Making their highly anticipated U.S. debut, Cuba’s Danza Contemporánea de Cuba (May 6) is an “exotic hybrid of contemporary, classical and ¬Caribbean styles” (The Guardian) infused with the vibrant Cuban spirit, a culture in which dance is a way of life. Artistic Director Miguel Iglesias leads this troupe of vibrant contemporary dancers in a daringly eclectic program.

Also returning to the Festival and sure to be among the most in-demand performances of the season, is violinist and one-man phenomenon Joshua Bell (April 23). With star power and extraordinary virtuosity to match, Bell has earned his place among the greatest contemporary violinists. Don’t miss the chance to hear him take on Tchaikovsky’s magnificent Violin Concerto along with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra.

Festival Williamsburg is hot and happening this season with jazz legends Chick Corea & Gary Burton (May 27) and super slick swing masters Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (May 28).

The perennially popular Virginia International Tattoo (April 29-May 1) offers an all-new show, 850 international performers strong from 7 nations. Marching bands, dancers, drill teams, and more make this larger-than-life parade of patriotism based on a centuries-old Scottish tradition a uniquely inspiring experience. Find out why families and die-hard fans come back to the Tattoo year after year.

And speaking of larger-than-life, a brand new event this season, the Flying PROMS: Symphonic Airshow Spectacular (May 7), is a unique tradition sure to become a Festival favorite. Featuring vintage aircraft performing aerial maneuvers accompanied by live music from the Virginia Symphony Orchestra on the grounds of the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach, this show is truly out of this world.

The 15th season celebration concludes with a bona fide American institution, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir with the Orchestra at Temple Square (June 20), that lifts more than 300 beautiful voices to the heavens along with its own symphony orchestra in a performance that has dazzled presidents and audiences of all ages for 150 years and counting.

For a complete listing of events, tickets, or information, please visit http://www.vafest.org or call 757-282-2822.

Media Contact: Jennifer Chambers, 757-282-2820 or jchambers(at)vafest(dot)org.

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