Virginia Opera to Present Jacques Offenbach’s ‘Tales of Hoffmann’

Posted: September 26, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Virginia Opera’s 2007-08 season begins with a production of Jacques Offenbach’s “Tales of Hoffmann,” in which a poet tells the fantastical stories of his three great loves and how they ended in misery due to the meddling incarnations of a supernatural villain.

The opera comes to the stage of Mason’s Center for the Arts on Friday, Oct. 12, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 14, at 2 p.m. A pre-performance discussion will be held 45 minutes prior to each performance on the Hall’s Grand Tier.

“It has been out of our Virginia Opera repertoire far too long,” says Artistic Director Peter Mark of the opera, which was last performed by the company in 1989 and makes its return with new scenery, costumes, lighting, direction and a powerful cast of debuting and returning artists.

Returning to direct is Lillian Groag, who staged last season’s acclaimed Virginia premiere of “Agrippina,” in addition to numerous other premieres and productions in past seasons.

French soprano Manon Strauss Evrard makes her company debut in the dynamic roles of all four leading ladies: Olympia, Antonia, Giulietta and Stella.

“I think that Manon Strauss Evrard is one of the most extraordinary talents I have ever heard,” says Mark. “There is no question in my mind that Manon has everything it takes for a major and remarkable international career in opera: extraordinary beauty, musicianship, vocal technique, dramatic integration, confidence and the uniqueness of her own personality — all galvanizing attention wherever she appears.”

Turkish bass sensation Burak Bilgili — whose return has been anticipated by Virginia Opera audiences since his sinister portrayal of Méphistophélès in 2005’s “Faust” — sings the villainous roles of Lindorf, Coppélius, Dapertutto and Dr. Miracle.

Returning in the title role as Hoffmann is tenor Dan Snyder – the former U.S. Marine and U.S. Army chorus soloist – who first debuted with Virginia Opera offstage as a young sailor’s voice in 2005 during “Tristan and Isolde.” Later that year, he opened the 2005-06 season in the leading role of Alfredo Germont for “La Traviata.”

Designs for the new production include the set by Erhard Rom, costumes by Martha Hally and lighting by Mark McCullough.

Mark is scheduled to conduct both performances of the production.

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

Tickets are $86, $72 and $44 (Friday), and $94, $78 and $48 (Sunday). See the Center for the Arts web site for the Mason student ticket policy. Charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit

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