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Virginia Arts Festival Presents ACTEON Tonight

Virginia Arts Festival Presents ACTEON Tonight

The Virginia Arts Festival presents a rare evening of period music conducted by one of the most revered names in early music performance, William Christie, tonight, April 15 at 7:30pm, at Norfolk's First Lutheran Church. Mr. Christie will lead the musicians of Juilliard415, the principal period-instrument ensemble of The Juilliard School, and singers from Juilliard Opera in Marc-Antoine Charpentier's 18th-century treasure, Acteon.

For music lovers, this is like a visit from royalty: a conductor, harpsichordist, musicologist and teacher, William Christie is acclaimed by critics, artists, and audiences as the inspiration behind one of the most exciting musical adventures of the last thirty years: the rediscovery of a rich lode of music created for concert and stage by 17th- and 18th-century French composers. American-born, Christie has been many times honored by his adopted country France, which has designated him Commandeur dans l'Ordre de la Légion d'Honneur as well as Officier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

Charpentier's Actéon is based on a story in Ovid's Metamorphoses, in which a hunter happens upon the goddess Diana bathing with her attendants. He tries to hide but is discovered, and in anger the goddess turns the hunter into a stag, whereupon he is pursued and torn apart by his own hounds. The story of Actéon has inspired artists for centuries: There are Greek vases on the British Museum portraying Actéon being devoured by his hounds; the garden of a villa in Pompeii, Italy, shows Diana on one pillar and Actéon on the next; the Renaissance painter Titian was inspired by the story to paint one of his most famous works, and English painter Thomas Gainsborough captured the story on canvas as well.

Writers from Shakespeare to Edith Wharton have based works upon the myth of the goddess and the hunter, and Schubert was one of many composers inspired to set the story in music. In the classic style of the 17th century, Charpentier's opera sets the tale in six acts that vividly portray the beauty of the pastoral setting, the grace of the bathers, the innocence of the hunter, the fury of the goddess, and the terrible revenge that Diana wreaks.

Tickets are $30 and are available online at vafest.org, by phone at 877-741-2787, or at the Virginia Arts Festival Box Office, 440 Bank Street, Norfolk. Group tickets (groups of 15 or more) are available, call 757-282-2819.

Since 1997, Virginia Arts Festival has transformed the cultural scene in southeastern Virginia, presenting greatperformers from around the world to local audiences and making this historic, recreation?rich region a cultural destination for visitors from across the United States and around the world. The Festival has presented numerous U.S. and regional premieres, and regularly commissions' new works of music, dance, and theater from some of today's most influential composers, choreographers and playwrights. The Festival's arts education programs reach tens of thousands of area schoolchildren each year through student matinees, in?school performances, artists' residencies, master classes and demonstrations.

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