Virginia Arts Festival announces 2017 season

Jonathan Black
Contact Reporterjoblack@dailypress.com

The Virginia Arts Festival, which released its upcoming season schedule this week, returns in 2017 with a variety of performances ranging from dance to classical music to the annual pageantry of the Virginia International Tattoo.

Funhouse Fest, a three-day music festival in Williamsburg featuring multiple performances from Bruce Hornsby, is also set to return in the summer for its second year. Details are expected to be released in early 2017.

"We want to draw you here because of Royal Canadian Ballet, but we want you to go home and say 'I saw this great museum or great orchestra,' " said Robert Cross, executive director of the arts festival. "It's one of our goals is to collaborate as much as we can with the local groups."

Local groups participating include the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and JoAnn Falleta, its music director. They'll be joining Itzhak Perlman, a world-renowned violinist who received the Presidential Medal of Honor in 2015, on April 13 at the Sandler Center.

"It's a big ambitious season for us," Cross said. "We didn't want to go back after our 20th season."

The season starts the weekend of March 31 with Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet performing Swan Lake.

They'll be joined during the season by more modern interpretations of dance, like the world premier of the Urban Bush Women in April. This dance group will perform "Hair and Other Stories," which addresses racial, gender and economic issues.

"It's got some pathos in it and thought provoking stuff in the work," said Jo Manly, director of marketing and communications. "Focuses on culture, poverty and prejudice/interaction between culture through black women's hair."

Other highlights include the International Bach Academy of Stuttgart performing "St. John Passion" on April 15, the Saturday before Easter, and King, an R&B trio that was mentored by Prince.

"Part of the thing about the festival is there are things you wouldn't expect to see. They're on a club and small venue tour," Manly said. "The fact they're playing this market is really amazing."

Returning is the Virginia International Tattoo. More than 800 performers made up of military bands, bagpipers, precision drill teams and performing ensembles consisting of step dancers to motorcycle stunt drivers take part in the performance.

Scheduled to partake in this year's tattoo are performers from U.S. Navy, Marines and Army as well as international groups from Australia, France, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

The tattoo will take place April 27-30 at Scope.

"One of the festival's goals from the very beginning is to bring the best of the best from around the world," Cross said.

Tickets go on sale Friday at at vafest.org or 757-282-2822.

Black can be reached by phone at 757-247-4607.

2017 Virginia Arts Festival

For a complete schedule and tickets, visit

vafest.org

or call 757-282-2800. Festival box office is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday and located at 440 Bank Street, Norfolk.

Pre-Festival

tenThing

TenThing is an all female brass ensemble lead by Norwegian trumpeter Tine Thing Helseth. 7:30 p.m. March 23 at Attucks Theatre (1010 Church Street, Norfolk). Tickets start at $20 for adults and $10 for students.

Kathleen Battle

This Grammy-winning soprano will perform "Underground Railroad," which is a collection of songs mixed with the writings of abolitionists like Harriet Tubman. She'll be joined by Norfolk State University Choir. 5 p.m. March 26 at Wilder Center (700 Park Avenue #111, Norfolk). Tickets start at $35.

Virginia International Tattoo

More than 800 performers made up of military bands, bagpipers, precision drill teams and performing ensembles consisting of step dancers to motorcycle stunt drivers take part in the performance. 7:30 p.m. April 27-29 and 2:30 p.m. April 30 at Scope Arena (201 E Brambleton Avenue, Norfolk). Tickets start at $20.

Vocal

King

A female R&B trio discovered and mentored by Prince. King released its first album, "We are KING," this year. 8 p.m. April 14 at Attucks Theatre (1010 Church Street, Norfolk). Tickets start at $20.

Chanticleer

Chanticleer is vocal ensemble group made up of 12 men that has been in existence for more than 30 years. The group is known for its interpretation of Renaissance music plus jazz and gospel music. 7:30 p.m. May 3 at Ferguson Center in Newport News. 7:30 p.m. May 4 at Christ & St. Luke's Church in Norfolk. Tickets are $35 both nights.

'Kept: A Ghost Story'

This opera, a product of the VAF's John Duffy Institute for New Opera, follows a couple who lives in a lighthouse and the secrets they share. 7:30 p.m. May 25 and 3 p.m. May 28 at Attucks Theatre (1010 Church Street, Norfolk). Tickets are $25.

Classical Music

David Russell

Russell is a Grammy-award winning classical guitarist with an expansive repertoire. 8 p.m. April 12 at Robin Hixon Theater (440 Bank St, Norfolk). Tickets are $35.

Itzhak Perlman

A virtuoso on the violin, Perlman has received a Presidental Medal of Freedom, Kennedy Center Honors and 15 Grammy awards. His performances in major film scores include "Schindler's List," "Fantasia 2000" and "Memoirs of a Geisha." 7:30 p.m. April 13 at Sandler Center for the Performing Arts (201 Market St, Virginia Beach). Tickets start at $59.

International Bach Academy of Stuttgart

The orchestra and chorus of the German ensemble will perform Bach's "St. John Passion." 7 p.m. April 15 at Sandler Center for the Performing Arts (201 Market St, Virginia Beach). Tickets start at $20.

Les Violons du Roy

This Montreal chamber orchestra will perform the 19th century "Octet" from Romanian composer George Enescu. 8 p.m. April 21 at the Robin Hixon Theater (440 Bank St, Norfolk). Tickets are $35.

Scott Detra

Detra, an organist, is the director of music at the Church of the Incarnation in Dallas, the country's third largest Episcopal parish. 4 p.m. April 23 at Christ & St. Luke's Church (560 W Olney Rd, Norfolk). Tickets are $25.

Berlioz Requiem

JoAnn Falletta and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra will partake in this performance of 140 singers and players stationed around the performance venue. 8 p.m. May 20 at Chrysler Hall (215 St. Pauls Blvd., Norfolk). Tickets start at $25.

Chamber Music

American String Quartet

The quartet is VAF's ensemble in residence for 2017 and will lead master classes in Hampton Roads schools. 7:30 p.m. May 9 at St. John's Episcopal Church (424 Washington St, Portsmouth). Tickets are $35.

André-Michel Schub

Shub, a pianist and artistic director of the festival's chamber music series, will perform with the American String Quartet. 7:30 p.m. May 10 at Robin Hixon Theater (440 Bank St, Norfolk). Tickets are $35.

Olga Kern

Kern, a pianist, was the first woman to win a gold medal at the Van Cilburn International Piano Competition in more than 30 years. 7:30 p.m. May 24 at Wells Theatre (108 E Tazewell St, Norfolk). Tickets start at $35.

Jazz & World Music

Cécile McLorin Salvant

This classically trained jazz vocalist has a "resoundingly eloquent" voice, according to "The Guardian." 7 p.m. April 9 at Robin Hixon Theater (440 Bank St, Norfolk). Tickets are $30.

Yosvany Terry Quintet

This Cuban musician is a saxophonist, percussionist and composer who combines jazz and Afro-Cuban styles. 7:30 p.m. April 20 at Robin Hixon Theater (440 Bank St., Norfolk). Tickets are $35.

Marachi Los Camperos

A Grammy-award winning mariachi band who rose to fame after performing with Linda Ronstadt. 7:30 p.m. May 2 at Norfolk Academy (1585 Wesleyan Drive, Norfolk). Tickets are $35.

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra

Wynton Marsalis, a Pulitzer Prize and Grammy winning jazz musician will join the orchestra. 8 p.m. May 5 at Chrysler Hall (215 St Pauls Blvd, Norfolk). Tickets start at $25.

Rob Fisher's Coffee Club Orchestra

Fisher is a conductor behind musical revivals like "Chicago" and "An American in Paris." An orchestra will join him in performing from the Great American Songbook and musical theater pieces. 7:30 p.m. May 11 at Robin Hixon Theater (440 Bank St, Norfolk). Tickets are $35.

Dance

'Swan Lake' by Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet

The ballet was granted it's "royal" title by Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 and is the longest continuously operating ballet company in North America. The Virginia Symphony Orchestra will perform the score. 7:30 p.m. March 31-April 1 and 2:30 p.m. April 2 at Chrysler Hall (215 St Pauls Blvd, Norfolk). Tickets start at $20.

Urban Bush Women

This dance group will perform "Hair and Other Stories," which addresses racial, gender and economic issues. 8 p.m. April 22 at Attucks Theatre (1010 Church Street, Norfolk). Tickets start at $20.

Richard Alston Dance

This London-based dance company is one of the United Kingdom's most celebrated since it formed in 1994. 8 p.m. May 6 at Sandler Center for the Performing Arts (201 Market St, Virginia Beach). Tickets start at $20.

Mark Morris Dance Group and Music Ensemble

Morris' group will perform "Dido and Aenaes" with opera singer Stephanie Blythe providing vocals. 8 p.m. May 13 at Sandler Center for the Performing Arts (201 Market St, Virginia Beach). Tickets start at $25.

Lula Washington Dance Theatre

Washington leads a dance school that has taught more than 45,000 children in South Central Los Angeles with dances rooted in the African-American experience. 8 p.m. May 18 at Ferguson Center. Tickets start at $20.

Fringe & Fun

Pants Down Circus

This Australian company, which blends cirque-style acrobatics with quirky wit, will perform a show based on classic rock by the likes of Aerosmith, Joan Jett and Queen. 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. April 8 at TCC Roper Performing Arts Center (340 Granby Street, Norfolk). Tickets start at $25 for adults and $15 for ages 12 and under.

Reduced Shakespeare Company

The troupe, which skewers and shortens Shakespeare's play, will perform "Will Shakespeare's Long Lost First Play (abridged)." 8 p.m. May 26-27 and 3 p.m. May 28 at Wells Theatre (108 E Tazewell St, Norfolk). Tickets start at $25.

Joey Alexander

A 13-year-old pianist who has been featured by "Today," "60 Minutes," and "The New York Times" after winning international competitions at the age of 9. 8 p.m. May 27 at TCC Roper Performing Arts Center (340 Granby Street, Norfolk). Tickets start at $25.

Coffee Concerts

•American String Quartet and André-Michel Schub: 10:30 a.m. May 11 at Williamsburg Winery (5800 Wessex Hundred, Williamsburg). Tickets are $20.

•Violinists Jinjoo Cho and Eric Wong, viola player Fitz Gary and cellist Madeline Fayette: 10:30 a.m. May 18 at St. John's Episcopal Church (424 Washington St, Portsmouth). Tickets are $20.

•Pianist André-Michel Schub, flute player Debra Wendells Cross and oboist Sherie Lake Aguirre: 10:30 a.m. May 18 at St. John's Episcopal Church (424 Washington St, Portsmouth). Tickets are $20.

•Pianists Olga Kern and Vladislav Kern: 10:30 a.m. May 25 at Sandler Center for the Performing Arts' Miller Studio Theater (201 Market St, Virginia Beach). Tickets are $20.

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