Experience VAF virtually, from home.
The Gershwins' Porgy and BessFriday, July 17, 9pm
Tune into WHRO Public Media this Friday, July 17 at 9 pm for The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess. Enjoy this classic American folk opera that brings 1920s Charleston to life with a beloved score from George Gershwin in a new production directed by James Robinson.
The all-star production is hosted by Audra McDonald and features Eric Owens and Aundi Marie Moore, all artists who have appeared at the Virginia Arts Festival.
Norfolk native, Governor's School for the Arts alum Frederick Ballentine sings the role of Sportin' Life. Hear WHRO's Wayla Chambo interview Ballentine in January, here.
Porgy and Bess is very much an American opera, but it has universal appeal, a sure sign of a great work of art. Don’t miss this rare broadcast.
Virginia Arts Festival is proud to be a partner with WHRO Public Media.
A River Between: The Making of Rappahannock County
WHRO TV-15 Television Broadcast
Sunday, June 14, 5:30pm-7pm
Watch online here!
Please join us for a special television airing of the documentary A River Between: The Making of Rappahannock County on WHRO Public Media TV-15.
In 2011, Virginia Arts Festival co-commissioned (with the Virginia Opera, Modlin Center for the Arts at University of Richmond, and Texas Performing Arts at The University of Texas at Austin) a new work by award-winning composer Ricky Ian Gordon and librettist Mark Campbell, to commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Civil War. A theatrical song cycle, the piece is drawn from diaries, letters and personal accounts and explores the impact of the war from secession to defeat, on a community of Virginians, black and white, rich and poor, soldiers, nurses, widows and survivors.
Enhanced by projections of Mathew Brady’s renowned Civil War photography, illustrations, documents and other visuals, the performance features five principal singers performing more than 30 roles, backed by an orchestra of 17 musicians.
The performance will also be available for viewing online, via our website. Thanks to our friends at WHRO for making this possible.
This performance incorporates the energy of Caribbean and West African music with brilliant choreography to deliver the story of Trinidad steel pan and calypso in a manner that is mesmerizing. The combination of narrations based on historical facts, with color, movement, and sound makes for an educational experience that students of any age will remember for a long time.
Rhythm Live YouTube Premiere
Thursday, June 18, 7:30pm on the Virginia Arts Festival YouTube Page
Something fun: Rhythm Live word search!
A TRIBUTE TO LORRAINE GRAVES OF DANCE THEATRE OF HARLEM
In 2019 Virginia Arts Festival presented its first Ovation Award to the great, Norfolk-born ballerina Lorraine Graves. The Virginia Arts Festival Ovation Award honors the lifetime achievement of artists with a special connection to the Hampton Roads region, and will be presented annually. “Our region has given the world many great performers,” said Robert W. Cross, Virginia Arts Festival Executive Director and Perry Artistic Director. “Lorraine Graves is a superb example—an extraordinary ballerina, and longtime principal with the legendary Dance Theatre of Harlem, Ms. Graves had a distinguished career, performing around the world, and now shares her artistry and wisdom with young dancers in our region as well as nationally. We look forward to celebrating her achievements, and the accomplishments of more great artists in the coming years.”
Norfolk native Lorraine Graves was a member of Dance Theatre of Harlem from 1978 to 1996, a principal dancer for most of those years. With DTH, she performed for kings, presidents, princesses, and other notables. She graduated from Lake Taylor High School. Though she lives in Hampton Roads, she’s still connected to DTH as a teacher. She’s also deeply involved in the Hampton Roads arts community as an instructor, coach, and arts advocate.
Wednesday, June 3 at 8pm: “Becoming Giselle”
Watch interviews with DTH’s beloved Giselles from different eras, including insights on dancing the principal role, character building, and other special, unique memories. Interviewees include founding member and current Artistic Director Virginia Johnson, former ballerina Kellye Saunders, and current DTH company women on Instagram and Facebook.
Saturday, June 6 at 8pm: Creole Giselle
Watch the full length version of Creole Giselle live on YouTube, this Saturday, June 6 at 8pm hosted by Dance Theatre of Harlem Artistic Director Virginia Johnson.
Creole Giselle, the acclaimed DTH classic which premiered in 1984 at the London Coliseum in London, England, was reconceived by Arthur Mitchell and staged by Frederic Franklin, based on the original by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot. Viewers will be able to enjoy the full ballet of Creole Giselle, featuring Norfolk native Lorraine Graves, which was filmed for a television broadcast in Aarhus, Denmark, in September of 1987.
Virginia Arts Festival is proud to have a long-standing partnership with the legendary Dance Theatre of Harlem. DTH most recently graced the Chrysler Hall stage in Norfolk as part of the 2019 Festival spring season and education program.
Watch the full-length streaming premiere of Creole Giselle on YouTube or Facebook hosted by DTH Artistic Director Virginia Johnson. Available until 11:59pm on Sunday, June 7.
WHRO TV 15 will broadcast a number of past Virginia Arts Festival events in April and May. WHRO Media President and CEO Bert Schmidt explained “At WHRO we have been fortunate to partner with the Virginia Arts Festival for many years, and one of the great benefits of that partnership is the number of Festival performances and events that we have been able to record and broadcast. We are reaching into our archives to bring back some great memories of the Festival and to share performances by extraordinary artists.”
Dancing on the Shoulders of Giants
Watch online here!
In 2019, together with 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution, Virginia Arts Festival commissioned a new ballet from Dance Theatre of Harlem. The work was created by an all-female creative team including award-winning choreographer Claudia Schreier and composer Jessie Montgomery. For months, WHRO film crews documented the process of bringing the new work to the stage, from the earliest rehearsals in the New York studios of Dance Theatre of Harlem, where the choreographer shaped the steps for each dancer, to the dress rehearsals with full orchestra in Chrysler Hall, to the triumphant world premiere performance. Complemented by interviews with the creative team and leaders of the history-making ballet company, this documentary gives a rare behind-the-scenes look at the making of a new ballet—equal parts inspiration, perspiration, frustration and joy.
The Making of Rappahannock County
Sunday, June 14, 5:30-7:00pm
Watch online here!
In 2011, Virginia Arts Festival co-commissioned (with the Virginia Opera, Modlin Center for the Arts at University of Richmond, and Texas Performing Arts at the University of Texas at Austin) a new work by award-winning composer Ricky Ian Gordon and librettist Mark Campbell, to commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Civil War. A theatrical song cycle, the piece is drawn from diaries, letters and personal accounts and explores the impact of the war from secession to defeat, on a community of Virginians, black and white, rich and poor, soldiers, nurses, widows and survivors. Enhanced by projections of Mathew Brady’s renowned Civil War photography, illustrations, documents and other visuals, the performance features five principal singers performing more than 30 roles, backed by an orchestra of 17 musicians. Opera Today hailed the work as “profound and poignant;” the premiere performance was recorded live, captured by WHRO (and also later released as an audio recording on the Naxos label).
Virginia International Tattoo
The 2016 Virginia International Tattoo was one of the most moving in the event’s 24-year history. An inspiring salute to Vietnam Veterans, the show was written by New York Times best-selling author and recipient of the Bronze Star for valor, and narrated by General and former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. Titled “A Time to Celebrate, A Time to Remember,” the show features 1500 performers from around the world, including the internationally renowned Swiss drum corps Top Secret, a Dutch band on bicycles, world champion pipers from the Highlands of Scotland, a massed choir of epic proportions, and military bands of every branch of the U.S. Armed Forces as well as international bands.
Consult your local channel listings for WHRO TV 15 programming.
Over its 24-year history, dozens of Virginia Arts Festival performances have been recorded for broadcast on WHRO radio. In April and May, both stations in the WHRO Media family will re-broadcast Festival performances by such acclaimed artists as JoAnn Falletta, Olga Kern, Jupiter String Quartet, as well some of the many Festival performances that have been captured in recordings by major classical music labels including Naxos.
How to listen:90.3 WHRO-Norfolk
98.3 WHRF Belle Haven
89.9 WHRJ Gloucester Courthouse
Or stream live from anywhere at WHRO.org
Schedule of Virginia Arts Festival Recordings:
Wed. June 10, 9pm: A Local Touch
We’ll hear more highlights from the 2019 Virginia Arts Festival season on this evening’s program: tenor Lawrence Brownlee and bass-baritone Eric Owens sing selections by Donizetti, Gounod, and Bizet; pianist Olga Kern performs music of Liszt, Lysberg, Debussy, and Lyadov; and the Jupiter Quartet brings us the first movement of Ravel’s String Quartet. We’ll also have 2019 VAF performers the Dali Quartet with music by Turina and Schubert from their album “Classical Roots, Latin Soul.”
Stream the music of Virginia Arts Festival artists, right at home!
We've created several genre-based playlists for you to listen for free, available on Spotify. Use the desktop or mobile app and search for "Virginia Arts Festival"
Over the years, a number of Virginia Arts Festival performances—including world premiere performances of commissioned works—have been recorded by major classical music labels. Critically acclaimed, these recordings showcase the impact that Virginia Arts Festival has had on the music scene for the past two decades. Examples include A Kern Pianopolooza, Folk, Roots & Americana, Timeless Classical & Chamber, VAF Top Pop. The Festival has created a Spotify playlist showcasing these recordings, accessible by visiting spotify.com (sign-in required).
We have you covered for your virtual happy hours at home. Working in collaboration with some of our area’s local brewers, the beers listed below were created especially for this year’s events and performances.
Brewing Beer, in honor of Beethoven!
Brewed in honor of our upcoming celebration of Beethoven 250th Birthday & in collaboration with our friends at Virginia Beach-based Wasserhund Brewing Company, the "Bee-thoven Honey Hefeweizen" is now available now in 4-packs!
Back in February, some of our team, along with Virginia Symphony Orchestra's Music Director, JoAnn Falletta, got to spend time with our amazing partners & learn a little about the brewing process. We think this slightly sweet Hefeweizen with a hint of honey is perfect for a Spring day at home. Order online through Wasserhund's website, available to-go or for delivery!
A Beer for the Virginia International Tattoo
Rip Rap Brewing Company, a veteran-owned Norfolk-based establishment, has partnered with the Virginia International Tattoo again to create a beer celebrating the Greatest Generation. To commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the end of World War II, Rip Rap has crafted 1945 Salute Toasted Wheat Lager. Soft wheat and lightly toasted malt add subtle depth to this classic style. Hoist a glass to the Greatest Generation and the brave Americans that fought for our freedom.
1945 Salute Toasted Wheat Lager is currently available for pickup at Rip Rap Brewing Company.
Introducing this year’s NATO Beer!
The Norfolk based brewery Bold Mariner has made another beer recognizing the Norfolk NATO Festival. Audace (meaning Bold in Italian). The name was chosen by Simon Scott, this year’s NATO Festival Chairman. Audace, an Italian Grape Ale was brewed in collaboration with Italian Army General Paolo Ruggiero, a native of Naples who serves as Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Transformation in Norfolk. A blush colored ale brewed with Pilsner, oats and wheat in the mash. The beer was conditioned on sangiovese red grape must resulting in a fruity, tart, refreshing beer.