Great Performances at Mason

Virginia Opera: Fellow Travelers

Center for the Arts, Concert Hall, Fairfax Campus

4 - 5

Composed by Gregory Spears
Libretto by Greg Pierce
Based on the 2007 novel Fellow Travelers by Thomas Mallon

In a commitment to share contemporary opera experiences with its audiences, Virginia Opera presents Fellow Travelers by New York-based composer Gregory Spears and librettist Greg Pierce. Set at the dawn of the Cold War, Fellow Travelers follows the blazingly idealistic Timothy Laughlin as he navigates through the intrigues of Washington, D.C. during the “Red Scare” of the 1950s. Fresh out of college and working in a senator’s office, Timothy passionately joins the fight against communism, but his values are put to the test when falls in love with Hawkins Fuller, a handsome State Department official. The two men become tangled in a web of fear and deceit during the “Lavender Scare,” a witch hunt and mass firings of gay people in the United States government that paralleled McCarthyism. After its world premiere in 2016 at Cincinnati Opera, Fellow Travelers has generated a buzz and wowed critics wherever it is performed. “A near-perfect example of fast-flowing musical drama” (The New York Times). “One of the most accomplished New American Operas” (Chicago Tribune). Sung in English with English surtitles. 

Artistic Director Adam Turner conducts this exciting Virginia premiere, featuring two key players from the widely acclaimed 2016 world premiere at Cincinnati Opera: Director Kevin Newbury and baritone Joseph Lattanzi, who originated the role of Hawkins Fuller and was praised by The New York Times for his “buttery baritone luxuriant and robust.” The Times also declared the original production one of the best classical music events of 2016, lauded for its “heart-wrenching yet musically lucid drama… the music, libretto, and sure-handed direction by Kevin Newbury create a tidal pull that rushes the action along and the audience’s sympathies with it.” Cast also includes Andres Acosta, Katherine Pracht, Katrina Thurman, Joshua Jeremiah, and John Fulton.

Prices: $110, $70, $40, half-price for youth through Grade 12

Run Time: 2 hours 30 minutes, including intermission

Audio-described performance on Feb. 5 at 2 p.m.

Video credit: JLK Productions

The program for this performance will be available the week of the event. View or download digital program.

Make the most of your operatic experience by learning about the context, music, and production you are about to see and hear. A pre-performance discussion featuring Virginia Opera Resident Scholar, Joshua Borths, will take place in Monson Grand Tier, which is located on the third level of the Center for the Arts Lobby, 45 minutes prior to curtain.

Following the Saturday, Feb. 4 performance, PEN/Faulkner Award finalist Thomas Mallon, author of the 2007 novel Fellow Travelers on which this opera is based, will participate in a post-performance discussion from the stage.
Following the Sunday, Feb. 5 matinee, Virginia Opera Resident Scholar Joshua Borths will lead a post-performance discussion with the artists in the Center for the Arts main lobby.

A discussion with bestelling author of the 2007 novel Fellow Travelers Thomas Mallon and acclaimed composer Gregory Spears will take place on Monday, Jan. 23 at the Stacy C. Sherwood Community Center. Learn More.

A limited quantity of free student tickets will be available for each event. Learn more.