Letter: Castleton is . . . awesome

This past Sunday afternoon I had the pleasure and delight of attending the Castleton Festival’s production of Puccini’s “Il Trittico” at the festival tent in Castleton. The term “awesome” is overly used to the point of becoming meaningless, plus I am too old to use this popular term. However, it was awesome, exceedingly awesome.

Over the years it has been my privilege to attend great productions at the Washington National Opera, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Philadelphia Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the San Francisco Opera as well as Covent Garden in London, the Sydney Opera and Wagner’s great festival at Bayreuth, Germany. These are all huge opera companies with the latest technology involving rotating stages, scenery synchronized by elevators, ever- changing backdrops for stunning special effects and orchestras and choruses numbering in the hundreds. I am thrilled to report that when I approached the festival tent on Sunday afternoon I was unprepared for what lay ahead. It was spectacular!

Maestro Maazel opened the program with a warm video welcome giving a brief history of the festival and pointing out the uniqueness of bringing together instrumentalists, soloists, choristers, conductors, creative directors and production technicians from all over the world for a summer season in Rappahannock County.

I saw a tremendous trio of productions and I would encourage the citizens of our beautiful area to take advantage of this unique opportunity. Mr. Maazel stated there is nothing quite like it in all of the world. He is correct, and we have it right here in Rappahannock County. There is no need to travel to New York or San Francisco for breathtaking opera; it’s right here in our backyard. Thank you, Lorin and Dietlinde Maazel, for this great gift of love and music you have given to Rappahannock County.

Paul Hagstrom

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