Charlottesville Opera To Host Free Event Featuring Professor Alison Booth And Performance Of MIDDLEMARCH IN SPRING

Charlottesville Opera To Host Free Event Featuring Professor Alison Booth And Performance Of MIDDLEMARCH IN SPRING

To celebrate its first premiere in over 35 years, the chamber opera Middlemarch in Spring, Charlottesville Opera will hold a free talk on March 16 by University of Virginia English professor Alison Booth on George Eliot's Middlemarch followed by excerpts from the opera, which is based on the Victorian masterpiece. The event will be held at 4 pm at the Colonnade Club, and will give guests a look at the continued relevance of Eliot's novel before they are treated to scenes from the opera performed by the Charlottesville Opera cast, members of which have performed at the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, and more.

Middlemarch in Spring, which had its world premiere in San Francisco in 2015, received rave reviews from the Encyclopedia Britannica and San Francisco Chronicle, both of which recognized it as a noteworthy new work. Charlottesville Opera will bring this new work to the East Coast for the first time on March 23 and 24 at The Paramount Theater in downtown Charlottesville, featuring a number of artists from the original cast, including renowned bass-baritone Philip Skinner.

Alison Booth is a scholar of Victorian literature with a focus on women writers, and has written extensively on George Eliot. She is the director of the Scholars' Lab at UVA, a center for advanced digital scholarship in the humanities, information and library science, social sciences, and related fields, which was recently recognized with significant funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 2014, she received the ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowship and Sesquicentennial Fellowship, and was a Resident Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities from 2010 to 2012. Her published works include the books How to Make It as a Woman (University of Chicago Press, 20014), winner of the Barbara Penny Kanner Award and Greatness Endangered (Cornell University Press, 1992). Her most recent book is Homes and Haunts: Touring Writers' Shrines and Countries (Oxford University Press, 2016), the first full-length study of literary tourism in North America and Britain and a unique exploration of popular response to writers, literary house museums, and the landscapes or "countries" associated with their lives and works.

Middlemarch in Spring marks Charlottesville Opera's first-ever collaboration with the Virginia Festival of the Book, which will be held from March 22-26, 2017. The festival is an annual celebration of books, reading, literacy, and literary culture that attracts more than 20,000 participants each year. Jane Kulow, Director of the Festival of the Book, echoes the company's enthusiasm for this piece: "We love seeing books brought to life in new ways, and we're delighted to collaborate with Charlottesville Opera to present Middlemarch in Spring during the 2017 Virginia Festival of the Book!"

For 40 years, Charlottesville Opera, the recently renamed Ash Lawn Opera, has produced high-quality opera and musical theater at affordable prices in Central Virginia. Their fortieth anniversary season marks its most ambitious yet, with performances of Middlemarch in Spring in March followed by Verdi's Rigoletto in July and Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma! in July and August. Charlottesville Opera also continues its longtime commitment to providing free educational programs to community members of all ages, including its upcoming Artist-in-Residence series, held in April. These programs reach over 1,500 participants annually.