Castleton Festival announces 2014 season

‘Don Giovanni,’ ‘Madama Butterfly,’ concerts of Mozart, Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky and Maazel among 18 performances June 28-July 20

Tickets On Sale Monday, December 16 at

Photo courtesy
Photo courtesy

Artistic directors Maestro Lorin Maazel and Dietlinde Turban Maazel will hold the sixth season of the Castleton Festival in their state-of-the-art performance venues set in the rolling meadows of Castleton Farms in scenic Rappahannock County, VA, from June 28-July 20, 2014. This season’s program will showcase Castleton’s rising stars working alongside world renowned artists in new productions of Don Giovanni and Madama Butterfly, three symphonic concerts, theatrical readings, chamber music, singing recitals, bluegrass, fireworks, and more.

The Castleton Festival has grown exponentially since its first season in 2009, but has held to its core ideals as a unique collaboration for and by artists, where emerging talent and established professionals come together in a country retreat setting to present music, opera, and theater with fresh energy.  The Castleton Festival is a distinctive performance series in the region because it is a producing entity, a performance venue and, importantly, a mentoring program for young professionals.

For a complete list of 2014 performances and special events, please see below.


The Festival’s operatic offerings in 2014 explore the comic, the tragic, the poetic and the ironic with titles closely associated with Artistic Director Lorin Maazel and reflective of historic productions, infused with his theatrical sense and music-making in the world’s greatest opera houses and on film.

Maestro Maazel will conduct two new productions in 2014, both held in the 650-seat Festival Theatre: Don Giovanni, Mozart’s two-act opera based on the legendary exploits and adventures of the fictional hero Don Juan, directed by renowned Italian stage director Giandomenico Vaccari, returning to Castleton after receiving critical acclaim for its 2013 production of Girl of the Golden West; and Madama Butterfly, one of Giacomo Puccini’s most influential and famous works which tells the dramatic love story of a Naval officer and his young Japanese bride.

In addition, George Bernard Shaw’s ironic counter-piece to Don Giovanni, Don Juan in Hell (from his drama Man and Superman) will be presented as a theatrical reading in the intimate 140-seat Theatre House.

In the 2013 Castleton production of Verdi’s Otello, Javier Arrey made his debut as the arch-villain Iago, taking the world of young opera singers by storm. He will return to the Festival as Don Giovanni in 2014.  Also returning to the stage is Castleton-alum tenor Jonathan Burton as the American naval officer, Lieutenant Pinkerton. Burton previously appeared as Dick Johnson in Castleton’s 2013 production of Puccini’s The Girl of the Golden West and as Rodolfo in the Festival’s 2011 production of La Bohème.

The rarely performed third act of George Bernard Shaw’s drama Man and Superman:Don Juan in Hell shows Don Juan himself in conversation with several characters in hell. It gained its fame as a theatrical piece by itself thanks to the 1950s concert version, featuring Charles Boyer as Don Juan, Charles Laughton as the Devil, Cedric Hardwicke as the Commander, and Agnes Moorehead as Doña Ana.

Casting for Madama Butterfly and Don Juan in Hell will be announced in January 2014.

Symphonic Concerts

Venezuelan conductor Rafael Payare led the Castleton Festival Orchestra in Mahler’s Fifth Symphony during the 2013 season. Photo by Bjørn Bertheussen.
Venezuelan conductor Rafael Payare led the Castleton Festival Orchestra in Mahler’s Fifth Symphony during the 2013 season. Photo by Bjørn Bertheussen.

Symphonic concerts at the Castleton Festival showcase the talent and fresh energy of the Castleton Festival Orchestra, comprised of some 50 young professional artists at the start of their performing careers. Orchestra members are chosen each year by Maestro Maazel, who auditions players from all over the world.

In 2014, Castleton will round out its artistic program with King Mozart – a symphonic concert featuring one of Mozart’s violin concertos, a clarinet concerto and Symphonic Works, conducted by Maestro Maazel.

Another symphonic concert will center around the theme “Story in Music”featuring the all-time favorite Peter and the Wolf by Prokofiev and three works composed by Lorin Maazel: The Giving Tree, inspired by Shel Silverstein’s tale, for narrator, solo cello and full orchestra; The Empty Pot, a Chinese Legend (text by the children’s book author Demi) for narrator, boy soprano, children’s chorus and full orchestra, and Vapours and Capers, a synthesis of famous Irish folk tunes such as Danny Boy for solo flute, full orchestra and two narrators. Maestro Maazel will conduct.

Love in Music” will be the theme for the third symphonic concert presenting arias and duets from beloved operas and art songs from the baroque and early classic periods in the first half. Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations and other orchestral works will be featured. This concert will be conducted by Maestro Maazel, with some selections guest conducted by Malko Competition winner and Castleton alum Rafael Payare.

The 2014 Castleton Festival will also include chamber music, song recitals, and the premiere of a new work by a young composer under 27 as part of the“Young Composers Forum,” with the composition selected by Maestro Maazel.  

Special Events

To kick off the Fourth of July weekend with a patriotic flare, the Castleton Festival will once again hold its popular community Bluegrass concert followed by a spectacular, full fireworks display in the meadow next to the Festival Theatre on Thursday, July 3, and with a special all-American concert conducted by composer and former U.S. Marine Band conductor John R. Bourgeois at 2pm on July 4, Independence Day.

Master Classes and Training

New to the Festival this year will be the MMM – Maestro Maazel Master Classes: a Seminar for Young Conductors. Ten candidates will be chosen from a large pool of applicants to study with Maestro Maazel.  In these daily, focused classes, Maestro Maazel will address a range of specialties, including how to conduct an opera and the art of interpretation.

The Festival will also continue its acclaimed Castleton Artists Training Seminar (C.A.T.S.), a credit-earning college course that selects 40-50 students each summer for a rigorous eight-week course in singing, acting, movement, languages and career management, led by a star faculty, including esteemed soprano and Festival general manager Nancy Gustafson and Festival co-director and acclaimed actor Dietlinde Turban Maazel.

About the Castleton Festival

Founded in 2009 by Lorin and Dietlinde Maazel, the Castleton Festival introduced classical music, theater and opera performed by the stars oftomorrow, working with established artists, to the rolling hills of Rappahannock Country, Va. The Castleton Festival is distinctive among other festivals in the Greater Washington region because of its combined roles as a producing entity, a performance venue and, importantly, a mentoring program for young artists and theater professionals. Each year, the Festival has attracted more than 180 young professional singers, musicians, makeup and costumers, technicians and stagehands to work on their craft alongside more experienced professionals for eight weeks of rehearsals and performances.

Repertoire from previous seasons include The Turn of the Screw, The Beggar’s Opera, Albert Herring and The Rape of Lucretia (2009); Il Trittico, A Soldier’s Tale and Master Pedro’s Puppet Show (2010); La Bohème, L’enfant et les sortilèges and Seven Deadly Sins (2011); The Barber of Seville, Carmen, and A Little Night Music (2012) and The Girl of the Golden West, Otello, La Voix Humaine (2013).

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