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VA Arts Festival-13th Season

frontTOPlogo2009 The Virginia Arts Festival has always offered a strong showing of classical music and dance each spring. But its 13th season now under way has big names in musical theater and country music to add to the mix.
Liza Minnelli performed last Friday, and another of Broadway’s reigning stars, Patti Lupone, will give two cabaret shows May 24 in the Williamsburg Lodge. On the festival’s closing weekend, multi-Grammy winner and country music icon Emmylou Harris joins forces with Patty Griffin, Shawn Colvin and Buddy Miller on May 30 in the Ferguson Center for the Arts.

The festival’s roster of nonclassical artists also includes sitar players Ravi Shankar and his daughter, Anoushka, Tuesday in Chrysler Hall; Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys, May 11 at the Roper Performing Arts Center in Norfolk;
Ballet and contemporary dance lovers have five different companies to choose from this year. Czech National Theatre Ballet is offering an evening of works by contemporary choreographers May 2-3 in the Harrison Opera House. The Mark Morris Dance Group presents Morris’ version of “Romeo and Juliet,” set to Prokofiev’s original score, May 8-10 in Chrysler Hall. The lineup also includes “Ballroom with a Twist” Wednesday in Chrysler Hall, Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company May 16-17 in the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, and Richmond Ballet May 29-30 in the Ferguson Center.

Three venerable string quartets lead off the chamber music series, with the Kronos Quartet tonight at the NorVa in Norfolk, Jerusalem Quartet Monday in Norfolk’s Ohef Shalom Temple and Tokyo String Quartet May 3 in Norfolk’s Epworth United Methodist Church. Pianist Andre-Michel Schub again will oversee the chamber music programs that will feature appearances by the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, Miami String Quartet and Imani Winds.

The 7th Annual Festival Williamsburg presented by The VA Arts Festival is being held MAY 21-24, 2009 Travel through time and space—from the hot Latin rhythms of Cuba’s Tiempo Libre to the big band-era sounds of the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, the transcendent majesty of Haydn’s The Creation to the Broadway stylings of the legendary Patti LuPone.

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Renowned choral music director Robert Page will serve as guest conductor of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra for a presentation of Haydn’s enduringly popular sacred masterpiece, The Creation, on Thursday evening at St. Bede Catholic Church. The concert will feature the Robert Page Festival Singers including soloists Elisabeth Turchi, soprano; Amanda Russo, mezzosoprano;
Douglas Ahlstedt, tenor; Craig Verm, baritone; and Andrew Wentzel, bass-baritone.

Friday kicks off with a morning Coffee Concert at Williamsburg Winery featuring astonishing young classical pianist Jie Chen, playing for the first time in the area. Don’t miss the chance to see a star in the making.
On Friday night, go back to the future with Norfolk, Virginia’s own DeLoreans, a five-piece band dedicated to all things ’80s. They’ll play a free concert in New Town at Sullivan Square.

Combining classical training with Latin jazz savvy and dance hall heat, Tiempo Libre will have audiences out of their seats and moving to the beat in the Virginia Room at the Williamsburg Lodge, also on Friday. There’s a reason Miami New Times named them “Hottest Latin Band 2008.” On Saturday, The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, keepers of the big band flame, will swing into the Virginia Room. Don’t miss signature tunes like “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You,” “Marie,” “I’ll Never Smile Again,” “Manhattan Serenade” and many more.

Both the Tiempo Libre and Tommy Dorsey Orchestra shows offer intimate cabaret seating complete with a dance floor. Come prepared to shake it if you got it.
On Sunday, virtuosic pianist André-Michel Schub will lead an afternoon of chamber music classics at Williamsburg Presbyterian Church including Mozart’s Piano Quartet in G minor, K.478; Zwilich’s String Trio; and Fauré’s Piano Quartet in G minor.

Finally, the one and only Tony Award-winning Patti LuPone, best known for her starring roles in Evita and Gypsy, comes to the Williamsburg Lodge for two shows on Sunday evening. Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda, conceived and directed by Scott Wittman, showcases Lupone’s broad range in songs she could have played, should have played, did play and will play.

For more information about these and all Virginia Arts Festival events, including pricing and other details, visit www.vafest.org  or call 757-282-2822.

Tickets are on sale  now and can be purchased by calling 800-982-ARTS or visiting www.vafest.org.

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