Middlemarch in Spring


Thursday, March 23 and Friday, March 24 | 2017

Ash Lawn Opera kicks off its 40th season with the East Coast premiere of Middlemarch in Spring, a new chamber opera based on George Eliot's Middlemarch by composer Allen Shearer and librettist Claudia Stevens. In this stirring yet often lighthearted opera, Shearer and Stevens bring George Eliot's towering literary work to the operatic stage for the first time.  With powerful imagery and compelling music, the opera evokes an unforgettable spring in the English town of Middlemarch, one of passionate love and political upheaval. Audiences will meet Dorothea Brooke, an idealistic woman who hopes to improve the world. Naively, she marries the scholar Casaubon for his “great mind” and is devastated when he turns out to be cold, shallow and not very bright. But in spring, anything can happen. Could Dorothea have a second chance at happiness with the dashing, eminently unsuitable Will Ladislaw? The odds are stacked against her.

Ash Lawn Opera’s production will feature several important members of the successful 2015 debut cast in San Francisco, including world-renowned bass-baritone Philip Skinner, a veteran of many productions at the San Francisco and Metropolitan Operas.

We are excited to collaborate on this production with the Virginia Festival of the Book, which will be held in Charlottesville from March 22-26, 2017.  Ticket holders will be invited to hear pre-performance talks by librettist Claudia Stevens before the March 23 performance and by Rebecca Mead, staff writer for the New Yorker and author of My Life in Middlemarch, a personal account of the novel’s importance in Mead’s life, before the March 24 performance.

Praise for the 2015 World Premiere

Named one of the top 10 operatic events of the year by the San Francisco Chronicle and one of Encyclopedia Britannica’s most noteworthy new musical works of 2015.

Composer Allen Shearer and librettist Claudia Stevens deftly mined George Eliot’s novel for a sunny, ingratiating and altogether effective piece of musical theater.Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle
A fine adaptation of Middlemarch which is also a work of originality and charm. Musically and dramatically this is a moving and enjoyable work which gives a concentrated expression of more of George Eliot’s novel than one might think possible in a brief, two-act opera.Delia Da Sousa Correa (Open University, UK), Michael Halliwell, University of Sydney.

Schedule and Tickets

Adult tickets $25-$49 | Youth 12 & under $12 | Students (with ID) $16.50

Thursday, March 23 at 7:30 pm
Friday, March 24 at 2:00 pm

All performances at The Paramount Theater.

Tickets available online or at The Paramount Theater Box Office: (434) 979-1333, 215 E. Main Street, Charlottesville, VA 22902. Open 10 am -  2pm, Monday through Friday.

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Dorothea Sara Duchovnay
Casaubon Philip Skinner
Will David Margulis
Celia Tonia D'Amelio
Brooke Michael Mendelsohn
Sir James Gideon Dabi

Artistic Team

Conductor Douglas Kinney Frost
Stage Director Andrea Dorf McGray
Director of Production
and Scenic Designer
Adam Liston
Costume Designer Adalia Vera Tonneyck
Hair and Makeup Designer Karman Boisset

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