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The Richmond Symphony Season Finale Features Opera Superstar Denyce Graves in Carmen in Concert

May 8, 2019


The Richmond Symphony Season Finale Features Opera Superstar Denyce Graves in Carmen in Concert
Altria Masterworks: Carmen in Concert with Denyce Graves
Saturday, May 18th at 8pm
Dominion Energy Center for the Performing Arts

April 10, 2019 – Richmond, VA: The Richmond Symphony proudly rounds out our 61st season with Carmen in Concert with Denyce Graves on Saturday, May 18 at 8pm at the Dominion Energy Center for the Performing Arts. Featuring the Richmond Symphony Chorus and in collaboration with Virginia Opera, this concert presents unprecedented vocal talents matched with outstanding instrumental musicianship. Join us for an evening of superb musical storytelling and inspiring performances, conducted by Steven Smith in his final concert as Richmond Symphony Music Director.

Recognized worldwide as one of today’s most prestigious vocal stars, Denyce Graves continues to gather unparalleled popular and critical acclaim. The combination of her expressive vocalism, elegant stage presence, and exciting theatrical abilities allows her to pursue a wide breadth of operatic portrayals, as she delights audiences in concert and recital appearances. Ms. Graves regularly appears on the stages of leading theaters in North America, Europe, and Asia. Career highlights have included a Robert Lepage production of The Rake’s Progress at San Francisco Opera, the title role in Richard Danielpour’s Margaret Garner in the world premiere performance at Michigan Opera Theater, and the role of Charlotte in Werther for Michigan Opera Theatre opposite Andrea Bocelli in his first staged operatic performance. In 2001 Ms. Graves gave a series of appearances in response to the tragic Sept. 11 events and was invited by President Bush to participate in the National Prayer Service in Washington’s National Cathedral in which she sang “America, the Beautiful” and “The Lord’s Prayer.” Bizet’s Carmen was the most famous of the composer’s operas, introducing an unfamiliar element of realism to the form. Audiences were taken aback by the female protagonist’s unscrupulous behavior. Displays of crude femininity are augmented by staged knife fights and choruses of smoking cigarettefactory girls. Set in 19th century Spain, the opera presents themes of love, jealousy, and free will, as Carmen operates on her own agenda: seductive and intimate on one note, sardonic and hedonistic the next. Caught in the throes of a tumultuous love-triangle, this powerful character is immortalized in the operatic cannon; defined by her passionate nature, respected for her strong will, and remembered for the music that carries her story.

Tickets start at $20 for adults and $10 for children 18 and under. Visit richmondsymphony.com or call 804.788.1212 for more information.

The Masterworks series is sponsored by Altria. The media sponsor for this series is Richmond Times-Dispatch. This concert is made possible with support from the Slatten-MacDonald Fund of the Community Foundation for a greater Richmond.


Saturday, May 18, 2019 at 8:00 PM
Masterworks 8

Steven Smith, Conductor
Richmond Symphony Chorus
Erin R. Freeman, Director and James Erb Choral Chair
Greater Richmond Children’s Choir, Crystal Jonkman, Director

Denyce Graves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Carmen
Sarah Tucker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Micaëla
Sean Pannikar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Don José
Will Liverman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Escamillo
Joshua Arky . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Zuñiga
Phillip Bullock . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Moralès
April Martin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Frasquita
Alyssa Martin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Mercédès
Logan Webber . . . . . . . . . . . . Le Remendado
John Tibbetts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Le Dancaïre


BIZET Carmen (concert performance)
sung in French, with English Supertitles


Act I
Chorus of Street Children
Chorus of Cigarette Girls
Habanera (Carmen, Chorus)
Scene (Chorus)
Duet (Don José, Micaëla)
Song (Carmen, Zuñiga)
Seguidilla and Duet (Carmen, Don José)


Act II
Gypsy Song (Carmen, Frasquita, Mercédès)
Toreador Song (Escamillo, Chorus)
Quintet (Carmen, Frasquita, Mercédès, El Dancaïro, El Remendado)
Song (Don José)
Duet (Carmen, Don José)



Sextet and Chorus (Carmen, Frasquita, Mercédès, Don José, El Dancaïro, El
Remendado, Chorus)
Trio (Carmen, Frasquita, Mercédès)
Ensemble (Carmen, Frasquita, Mercédès, El Dancaïro, El Remendado, Chorus)
Aria (Micaëla)
Duet (Escamillo, Don José)


Act IV
March and Chorus (Children’s Chorus, Chorus)
Duet and Final Chorus (Carmen, Don José, Chorus)

# # #

About Virginia Opera
Virginia Opera Association, Inc., in its 44th year of operation, is known and respected nationwide for the identification and presentation of the finest young artists, for the musical and dramatic integrity of its productions, and for the ingenuity and variety of its education and outreach programs. The Company has a working budget of $5.3 million with over 28 mainstage performances, reaching nearly 50,000 attendees. In March of 1994, by unanimous vote of the Virginia General Assembly, Virginia Opera was named The Official Opera Company of the Commonwealth of Virginia in recognition of the organization’s contribution to the Commonwealth and to the world of opera.


About the Richmond Symphony Chorus

Erin R Freeman
Director of the Richmond Symphony Chorus & James Erb Choral Chair

James Erb organized the all-volunteer Richmond Symphony Chorus in 1971 for a December performance of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, under guest conductor Robert Shaw. For 36 years, Mr. Erb continued to direct and build the chorus to reflect the Symphony’s high standards. Erin Freeman assumed leadership of the Chorus at the start of its 2007-08 season. The repertoire for its auditioned volunteer membership has included most of the standard repertoire for chorus and orchestra: Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, St. John Passion and Mass in B Minor, Haydn’s Creation, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and Choral Fantasy, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Requiem settings by Mozart, Brahms, Verdi and Fauré, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2,
Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony, and all of Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe. Over the years, the Chorus has also sung shorter choral-orchestral works by Handel, Mozart, Schubert, Brahms, Bruckner, Delius, Debussy, Barber, Britten, Richard Strauss, Vaughn Williams, Stravinsky, Olivier Messiaen, and Dallapiccola. Recent projects have included a performance and recording of Mahler Symphony No. 8 with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and Chorus under the direction of JoAnn Falletta, a performance with the Richmond Symphony at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and, in celebration of its 40th anniversary, a recreation of the Chorus’s inaugural performance of Missa Solemnis.


About the Richmond Symphony
Kicking off its 61st Season in September 2018, the Richmond Symphony is the largest performing arts organization in Central Virginia. The organization includes an orchestra of more than 70 professional musicians, the 150-voice Richmond Symphony Chorus and more than 260 students in the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra programs. Each season, more than 200,000 members of the community
enjoy live concerts and radio broadcasts. The Symphony also provides educational outreach programs to over 55,000 students and teachers each year. The Symphony was recently named one of 21 American orchestras selected as a leader in orchestra innovation by the League of American Orchestras through its Futures Fund Initiative. The Richmond Symphony is partially funded by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. Visit www.richmondsymphony.com for more information.




Contacts: Scott Dodson
Director of Advancement and Patron Communications
p. 804.788.4717 ext. 120