Virginia Opera, The Official Opera Company of the Commonwealth of Virginia, presents the Company’s premiere of André Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Tennessee Williams. The opera is the third installment of Virginia Opera’s American Opera Cycle and marks the anticipated return of director Sam Helfrich, who received widespread acclaim for his production of Philip Glass’ Orphée last season.
A Streetcar Named Desire opens Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013 at Harrison Opera House in Norfolk, Va., followed by additional performances in Norfolk, Fairfax and Richmond, Va. Tickets range from $25 to $114 and are available at www.vaopera.org.
A Streetcar Named Desire’s famous narrative of isolation, despair and hope is further solidified as a great American classic through the musical mastermind of André Previn and faithful libretto by Philip Littell. Born in 1929, Previn is internationally known as a pianist, conductor and composer. Streetcar, which premiered at the San Francisco Opera in 1998, was his first opera and earned him the Grand Prix du Disque.
In Tennessee Williams’ haunting tale, fallen debutante Blanche DuBois seeks refuge from her troubles when she joins her sister and brother-in-law, Stella and Stanley Kowalski, in New Orleans. Instead she is greeted by an immediate, undeniable tension between herself and the brutish Stanley, while Stella’s loyalties are endlessly torn between them. Blanche continues to slip further away as her picturesque past collides with her stark reality.
Acclaimed director Sam Helfrich was immediately excited to delve into the opera’s iconic characters. “As our production developed, we naturally became interested in the interplay among the three principal characters, and in exploring their inner lives and motivations. We all know that these are psychologically rich characters—that’s why Williams is considered a master—and in our production, we’ve attempted to highlight the most essential elements of the situation, striving to identify the basic, primal motivations that drive the characters toward their fates.”
This production marks the company debut of in-demand conductor Ari Pelto, who has recently led performances with 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.
Soprano Kelly Cae Hogan makes her anticipated return to Virginia Opera as the downtrodden Blanche DuBois. Hogan made her company debut in the 1998 production of The Merry Widow and returned in 2011 in what The Washington Times called a “revelation” as Brünnhilde in Wagner’s Die Walküre, an opera she later performed with the Metropolitan Opera. Internationally-sought baritone David Adam Moore makes his company debut as the menacing Stanley Kowalski, a role he will take to Lyric Opera of Chicago later this spring. Former Virginia Opera Emerging Artist Julia Ebner returns as peacemaker Stella Kowalski after having wowed audiences in last season’s Hansel and Gretel and The Mikado. Scott Ramsay, who was praised by Anthony Tommasini of The New York Times for his “impressive…bright-voiced tenor,” rounds out the cast as Blanche’s would-be suitor Harold “Mitch” Mitchell in his company debut.
Performance Details and Ticket Information
A Streetcar Named Desire will be performed in English with English supertitles projected above the stage. The Virginia Opera Orchestra is provided by the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. Each performance will feature a free 30-minute pre-opera discussion by Virginia Opera’s Dr. Glenn “Dr. Opera” Winters. Tickets range from $25 to $114 and are available at www.vaopera.org. The production opens on Saturday, Feb. 16, in Norfolk, Va., and is scheduled to appear in all three Virginia Opera venues as follows:
Harrison Opera House
Sat., Feb. 16, 2013, 8:00 p.m.
Wed., Feb. 20, 2013, 7:30 p.m.
Fri., Feb. 22, 2013, 8:00 p.m.
Sun., Feb. 24, 2013, 2:30 p.m.
George Mason University
Center for the Arts
Fri., Mar. 1, 2013, 8:00 p.m.
Sun., Mar. 3, 2013, 2:00 p.m.
Fri., Mar. 8, 2013, 8:00 p.m.
Sun., Mar. 10, 2013, 2:30 p.m.
Virginia Opera will offer a special Student Night at the Opera performance for A Streetcar Named Desire in Norfolk on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. Student Night at the Opera allows students and chaperones to experience the power of live opera, with unparalleled access at reduced ticket prices, in order to broaden appreciation for cultural arts in our community. Visit www.vaopera.org for more details about Student Night at the Opera and how to purchase tickets.
For regularly-scheduled performances in Norfolk and Richmond, students may receive $15 rush tickets. Tickets must be purchased the day of the performance through the Box Office. Discounts are intended for full-time students only and valid student identification is required.