Virginia Opera Presents ‘Romeo and Juliet’ At Center for the Arts

Posted: November 7, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Virginia Opera brings one of the world’s most beloved tales to the stage with a production of Charles Gounod’s setting of “Romeo and Juliet.” Based on William Shakespeare’s famous play about two star-crossed lovers in 13th-century Verona, Gounod’s score is replete with dramatic choruses and evocative love duets.

Performances at George Mason’s Center for the Arts Concert Hall are Friday, Dec. 2, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 4, at 2 p.m.

romeo and juliet opera
The Virginia Opera production features Wei Huang as Juliet and Chi Liming as Romeo.
Photo by Anne M. Peterson

The title roles are held by two acclaimed Chinese performers, Wei Huang as Juliet and Chi Liming as Romeo. The presence of these two artists signifies the continuation of the work begun by Virginia Opera Artistic Director and Conductor Peter Mark last season in collaboration with the new operatic cultural exchange program, International Opera Alliance.

Soprano Wei Huang is returning to Virginia Opera. Already a star on Broadway, she received a 2003 Drama Desk nomination as Best Actress in a Musical and the Tony Honor for Excellence for her portrayal as Mimì in Baz Luhrmann’s “La Bohème.” Virginia Opera provided Huang’s professional opera company debut in last season’s “Turandot,” where she portrayed the devoted slave girl Liù.

Chi Liming, a leading tenor of Shanghai Opera, makes his Virginia Opera debut. Described by Mark as “one of the new generation of Western Opera singers to emerge from China with tremendous vocal, musical and emotional potential for our field,” Liming performed under Mark’s baton in last summer’s premier Italian language production of Puccini’s “Tosca” in Shanghai.

Also making his Virginia Opera debut is noted stage director and fight choreographer David Lefkowich, whose new staging of the production includes breathtaking choreographed swordplay. Lefkowich recently worked at The Metropolitan Opera on “The Magic Flute” and “Aida.”

The production will be sung in French with Digitext SuperTitles projected above the stage.

A pre-performance discussion begins 45 minutes prior to each curtain on the hall’s Grand Tier. A wine and cheese tasting will be held in the lobby before Friday’s performance. Tickets are $44-84. Charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit www.tickets.com.

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