Editorial: The Castleton spirit

More . . .

Rob Taylor’s full report of the evening’s entertainment is here.

Disguised as a drunken soldier in search of lodging, Almaviva manages to slip a love letter to Rosina, and then . . . .

The violent storm hits Castleton! It happened around 9 p.m. Friday, right during the intermission for Rossini’s two-act comic opera, “Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Barber of Seville).”

The timing was perfect (if the storm had to hit at all), most fittingly, since just about all aspects of the Castleton Festival, now in its fourth season, have seemingly been perfected. The Festival has already exceeded its ticket revenue goal, according to Howard Bender, director of institutional advancement at the Castleton Festival, and those tickets sales now surpass all of last year’s.

When the storm knocked out power, as it did across the county and the region, the Festival’s emergency lighting system kicked in immediately and without a hitch – which is a lot more than can be said for the Rappahannock Electric Cooperative’s emergency system.

“The Castleton response was immediate and highly professional,” observed Festival-goer Hal Hunter, of Amissville. As the wind gusted and the rain pelted the roof, Hunter continued:

“We were entertained by a series of young musicians, beginning with an astounding violinist, then a series of singers, ending with Barber featured singers performing in an entryway, accompanied by a pianist who could not have played what he or she did, it was so remarkable. The Maestro (Lorin Maazel) himself assured everyone that all was well, as indeed it was.”

In a telephone interview on Monday, Bender attributed the Festival’s overall success this year to “the artistic quality so obviously of four-star international caliber that has only intensified.”

Moreover, he said, “education and outreach in community has grown, and so attendance has grown and ticket revenue grown.” Specifically, he added, “we had a good marketing and business plan, which we followed and adapted as necessary. Our marketing dollars were spent strategically.”

Even more important than business plans and marketing dollars, however, is the creative spirit that animates the Castleton Festival. There is no obstacle that cannot be overcome, including the most damaging (non-tropical) storm in Virginia’s history.

More awesome than that storm is the Castleton Spirit!

Walter Nicklin