Vol. 48: April 2017 Newsletter
We sail the ocean blue...
Like many of you, I was introduced to Gilbert and Sullivan at an early age. While still a wee lad I memorized, without understanding a word of it, the "Modern Major General" from The Pirates of Penzance. In fact there are still some references in that song that I have to look up repeatedly — can you "tell undoubted Raphaels from Gerard Dows and Zoffanies?" Fortunately, as a theater professional, I actually do "know the croaking chorus from the Frogs of Aristophanes," which is the improbably rhyming next line. And for the rest, nowadays, there's Wikipedia. Don't tell my students.
What I didn't fully appreciate until much much later, and am still learning more about (to my great delight), is the extraordinary impact this duo had on Victorian theater, music, and society — and beyond — ranging from setting a new standard for professional conduct and compensation for their troupe of players, to exerting a profound influence on copyright law and licensing, helping establish what we now call "intellectual property," to peppering the language with countless memorable quips and catch-phrases. And they did all this through a series of fourteen satirical operas, written over a twenty-five year partnership, that lampooned and skewered British class consciousness, political foibles, and nationalistic pride in ways both broadsword obvious and stiletto subtle.
G&S are on my mind right now because we are just launching the "Gilbert and Sullivan Year" at George Mason University, in celebration of an extraordinary and indeed world-class collection of memorabilia, manuscripts, objects, letters, musical scores, and other delights donated to the university by David and Ann Stone. This unparalleled gift is housed at the Special Collections Research Center of Fenwick Library on the Fairfax Campus, and a day-long celebration/forum — with notable G&S scholars, musical illustrations, and a Mason Opera performance of Iolanthe in Harris Theater — will be held in Fairfax on April 29th.
The Hylton Center, of course, is joining in the fun. Many of you enjoyed "No Solemn Silence, A Gilbert and Sullivan Review" in the Gregory Family Theater in February. But there's more!
On April 27th at 10:00 am, the Lifelong Learning Institute is hosting an open lecture/demonstration at the Hylton Center on H.M.S. Pinafore, led by Professor Ralph MacPhail, Jr., one of the leading scholar/practitioners in the field of G&S studies and performance.
Later that same day, at 6:00 pm, our Buchanan Partners Art Gallery offers a gallery talk and the opening exhibition drawn from the Stone Collection, featuring rare and delightful items that will delight the eye and the mind. Presenting the exhibition will be none other than David Stone himself, accompanied by yours truly, and in the company of Prof. MacPhail and W. Scott Hayes, a scholar who just happens to be related to Sir Arthur Sullivan.
But there's more yet! On May 4th, the foremost active professional Gilbert and Sullivan troupe, the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players, bring a full production of H.M.S. Pinafore, one of the most brilliant and successful of the "Savoy Operas," to the Merchant Hall stage at 8:00 pm. And we are delighted that the company will be offering a master class to students from area high schools earlier that day.
So, quoting Gilbert again, "the flowers that bloom in the spring" are also bringing us a tidal wave of fantastic music, wit, intellectual and aesthetic stimulation, and a whole ship full of reasons to join us on two campuses for a highly pleasurable voyage exploring the work of this dynamic Victorian duo. Click on the links for more information and to secure tickets where necessary. Looking forward!
– Executive Director and Dean
The next exciting season of performances at the Hylton Center has been announced and subscriptions go on sale to the public April 5th. Looking for big savings, great seats, and free ticket exchanges? You'll want to order your subscription for the upcoming season right away! In addition to an exciting new season of Hylton Presents, Hylton Family Series, and the daytime chamber music series, Matinee Idylls, enjoy the convenience of subscribing online and choosing your own seats all at the same time at HyltonCenter.org. Explore the new season now.
The vibrant months of spring usher in a continuation of exciting performances from Hylton Presents, including Keyboard Conversations® with Jeffrey Siegel, New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players' H.M.S. Pinafore, and Mariachi Los Camperos. What are your favorite classical pieces of music? Last March, Hylton Center audiences voted for their favorites at Jeffrey Siegel's request, some of which will be performed in his upcoming concert with commentary presentation: A Few of Your Favorite Things (4/22). Musical selections include Debussy's Clair de Lune, Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, and Rhapsody in Blue, among other popular works you won't want to miss. In May, join us for hijinks on the high seas in the grand style of Gilbert & Sullivan when the H.M.S. Pinafore embarks on a journey of humor and mischief in this famous comic operetta about finding love at sea. The levity of musical theater meets the extravagance of opera in a satirical musical production that lovingly pokes fun at rigid Victorian class distinctions (5/4). And during the merry month of May, what better way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo than with the Grammy Award-winning ensemble Mariachi Los Camperos in a festive evening of genuine Mexican folk music performed by the world's leading mariachi band (5/6). Be sure to join us at the Hylton Center this spring for an unforgettable arts experience the entire family can enjoy!
If you haven't purchased your tickets to rock legend Hylton Center EXTRA! artist Richard Thompson, be sure to get them while they last! Come out to the Hylton Center on April 23 to experience for yourself why this witty performer and prolific songwriter's compositions have been performed and recorded by stars such as Robert Plant, Elvis Costello, REM, Bonnie Raitt, and Los Lobos.
With a legendary career spanning nearly five decades, Thompson has garnered numerous accolades including being named one of the "Top 20 Guitarists of All Time" by Rolling Stone Magazine. Come immerse yourself in this solo acoustic performance by an artist who reigns among the giants in Folk Rock history. Learn more.
Imagination Stage returns to the Hylton Center with
Paper Dreams (4/20-22), a delightful and interactive exploration of creativity designed especially for children ages 1-5. Children and parents alike will be charmed by this engaging, whimsical story about two loveable creatures who have taken up residence in a wastepaper basket! Learn more.
Check out our NEW Friends Benefit: "The Family Fête!" The Friends of the Hylton Center are Part of the Magic at the Hylton Performing Arts Center. Join Friends of all ages at the first Hylton Center Family Fête! This reception for families will feature kid-friendly snacks, beverages, and fun activities, including an instrument petting zoo provided by the Potomac Arts Academy's "Instruments in the Attic." The Fête will be held April 8th in conjunction with the performance of Popovich Comedy Pet Theater. Invitations to Friends of the Hylton Center will be sent in late February.
If you haven't had a chance to participate in a Hylton Center Veterans and the Arts workshop, mark your calendars for these exciting spring opportunities! Workshops are FREE to Veterans, Servicemembers, and to the community.
GUITAR WORKSHOPS WITH GLEN McCARTHY
Newly added: Wednesday, April 26 and May 24 at 7 p.m.
THE "PENTAGON QUILTS" PRESENTATION BY JUNE FORTE
Thursday April 13, 2017 at 10 a.m.
Presented by the Lifelong Learning Institute, Manassas
SING-ALONG WITH THE MANASSAS CHORALE
Sunday April 30, 2017 at 2:30 p.m.
Technical Theater Boot Camp returns to the Hylton Center this summer with not one, but two class offerings, with the introduction of a newly added "Technical Theater Boot Camp II." Through hands-on training experiences, learn what happens behind the scenes of a performing arts venue. Participants will learn everything from the essential skills of technical production and stage lighting/rigging to the operation of sound equipment and stage crew best practices. And that's just Technical Theater Boot Camp Level I! Level II builds upon skills learned in Level I. The registration deadline for both classes is July 14, 2017. Information and Registration | Learn More
Hampton Inn Gainesville/Haymarket is the preferred hotel of the Hylton Performing Arts Center.