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Posted by on Jan 28, 2014 in new articles, News | 0 comments

Lyric Opera Virginia Presents Master Class with Lisa Vroman

Lyric Opera Virginia Presents Master Class with Lisa Vroman

Lyric Opera Virginia’s 2013-2014 season—”World-Class Artists in Intimate Spaces“-continues with Terrence McNally’s 1996 award winning Master Class starring Broadway veteran Lisa Vroman
who is known to audiences throughout Virginia for her dazzling performances as Anna in LOV’s Inaugural Season Production of The King and I. This production is a collaboration between LyricOpera Virginia and George Mason University with GMU staff, recent graduates and current students serving as members of the production team, design team and cast. Performances will be presented in the Gregory Family Theater at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas, Virginia onThursday, January 30 at 8:00pm, Friday, January 31 at 8:00pm (Opening Night), Saturday, February 1 at 2:00pm and at 8:00pm and on Sunday, February 2 at 2:00pm.

Master Class opened on Broadway at the John Golden Theatre on November 15, 1995.   The original cast starred Zoe Caldwell  as Maria Callas. It won both the 1996 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New Play  and the 1996 Tony Award for Best Play . Caldwell won Tony Awards for their performances in 1996. Many other famous leading ladies have gone on to play the role of Maria Callas including Patti LuPone, Dixie Carter, Faye Dunaway and Tyne Daly.

Master Class, the play, is set against the backdrop of Callas’ historic masterclasses at the famed Juilliard School in New York during the 1970′s.  During the course of the play, three students sing arias by Bellini, Puccini and Verdi  for Callas.  At its core is the diva Maria Callas , a glamorous, commanding, larger-than-life and witty master teacher.  Alternately dismayed and impressed by the students who perform for her, she retreats into recollections about the glories of her own life and career. Included in her musings are her younger years as an ugly duckling , her fierce hatred of her rivals, the unforgiving press that savaged her early performances, her triumphs at La Scala  and her affair with Aristotle Onassis . It culminates with a monologue about the sacrifice taken in the name of art.

Terrence McNally, born 1938, is an American playwright  who has received four Tony Awards, an Emmy Award, two Guggenheim Fellowships , and a citation from the American Academy of Arts and Letters . McNally’s other plays include 1994′s Love!Valour!Compassion! , with Lane and John Glover and Kiss of the Spider Woman  (based on the novel by Manuel Puig ) in 1992, during which McNally returned to the musical stage, collaborating with Kander and Ebb.  Kiss of the Spider Womanwon the 1993 Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical.

Stage Director Greg Ganakas directed Lyric Opera Virginia’s Inaugural Season production of The King and I, about which Mal Vincent of The Virginian-Pilot wrote, “Billing itself as ‘America’s newestopera company,’ Lyric Opera Virginia comes into its own with a theatrical spectacle that rivals that of any company in the country.” An award-winning director, choreographer and teacher, Greg’s credits include direction collaborations with Disney Live Entertainment and Radio City Music Hall Productions. A committed educator, he has served on the faculty of New York University, where he founded their nationally-renown Music Theatre program.

Lisa Vroman starred for several years on Broadway as Christine Daae in The Phantom of the Opera and garnered Theatre Critic’s awards for the same role in a record breaking run in San Francisco. Her Broadway debut was in Aspects of Love and Lisa was the first to play both Fantine and Cosette in Les Miserables on Broadway. Lisa has performed at Lincoln Center with the New York City Opera as Rosabella in The Most Happy Fella.  She performed the role of Marian Paroo in The Music Man with Shirley Jones and Patrick Cassidy at The Bushnell Theatre in Hartford, CT and has performed the role of Birdie in Regina with Utah Opera conducted by Keith Lockhart. She was featured with Colm Wilkinson and Michael Ball in Cameron Mackintosh’s Hey, Mr. Producer! for PBS at the Lyceum Theatre in London, a Royal Gala attended by Queen Elizabeth II. Lisa appeared in concert with Patti Lupone and George Hearn, singing the role of Johanna in the San Francisco Symphony’s Emmy Award winning Sweeney Todd. Both are available on DVD. Lisa starred as Laurey in Oklahoma, filmed live in concert for the BBC Proms Festival at Royal Albert Hall in London. She opened the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas with Maestro Anthony Maiello and the American Festival Pops Orchestra.

Joseph Walsh, Lyric Opera Virginia’s General and Artistic Director has  nearly twenty years of experience in presenting and conducting opera in Virginia, across the country and internationally. As a conductor, he is known for combining dramatic flair and theatrical excitement with great sensitivity, detail and balance, with a keen sense of dramatic pacing.  ”I have been a life-long Callas fan so I am thrilled to be presenting this award winning play by Terrence McNally. Additionally, Master Class is a work typically presented in theatrical circles though opera fans really know and appreciate the life of Callas.  So LOV is proud to be one of the first opera companies in the world to present this work and we are doubly proud to be presenting it in collaboration with several very talented artists from the Schools of Theater and Music at George Mason University.”

Sarah Kate Walston, who hails from Richmond, will perform the role of Sophie De Palma.  Sarah Kate performed the roles of Gilda and Nanetta in LOV’s Viva Verdi! production last September.  Joshua Baumgardner will perform the role of Tony Candolino.  Joshua is a winner of the Mid-Atlantic Region of the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions and a graduate of James Madison University. Aundi Marie Moore will perform the role of Sharon Graham.  Aundi performed the role of Lady Thiang in LOV’s The King and I. She is a graduate of GMU’s School of Music Program and Washington Opera’s esteemed Domingo-Cafritz program and recently premiered the role of Odessa in Washington National Opera’s Approaching Ali at the Kennedy Center.

Autum Casey  is Lighting Designer and assistant professor at George Mason University’s School of Theater.   She has an extensive background in the professional world where her credits include architectural lighting design, theatrical lighting, scenic and costume design and international design. Baron Pugh is Scenic Designer, Assistant Lighting Designer & Properties Master. He is currently Assistant Lighting Designer at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C.  A recent graduate of George Mason University’s Theater Design and Stage Management Program, Baron has also served as Lighting Designer for Steel Magnolias at The Keegan Theatre and The Last Five Years at the Kensignton Arts Theatre. 

Lyric Opera Virginia’s 2013-2014 season continues with La Bohème-a 90-minute highlight version of Puccini’s classic — in March 2014.This production of will be remounted for Lyric Opera Virginiasubscription performances in Virginia Beach, Williamsburg and Richmond in May 2014.

Single Tickets to Master Class at the Gregory Family Theater at the Hylton Performing Arts Center are on sale at a price of $25, 1 Free Student Ticket Available with Student ID.  To purchase single tickets, visit:  or

or call the Hylton Center Box Office at 888-945-2468, which is open every day from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm.  To purchase tickets to any Lyric Opera Virginia subscription performances in Virginia Beach, Richmond or Williamsburg, visit  or call the LOV Box Office at (757) 446-6666.

Master Class in the Gregory Family Theater at the Hylton Performing Arts Center, Manassas,

Thursday, January 30 at 8:00pm

Friday, January 31 at 8:00pm (Opening Night)

Saturday, February 1 at 2:00pm and at 8:00pm

Sunday, February at 2:00pm

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