Enjoy Shakespeare Opera Theatre’s 4th Season at our new home at historic Grace Episcopal Church in The Plains, Virginia. Affectionately known as “Grace The Plains,” the century-old gothic stone sanctuary includes a famous stained glass window featuring the first American president, George Washington. The town of The Plains, along with nearby Marshall and Middleburg, are located in the heart of Virginia’s Wine and Horse Country. Main streets provide an eclectic mix of shops and artist enclaves to explore, along with top-rated restaurants offering pre- and post-performance specialties. Local wineries offer tastings and takeaway, and the foothills of The Shenandoah make for endless spectacular vistas. All this in less than an hour’s drive from Washington, DC!
Shakespeare Opera Theatre’s mission is to enrich the Northern Virginia community through professional performances of classic works in story and song. Our unique interdisciplinary combination of classical music and classical theater provides an all encompassing experience for both audiences and performing artists. SOT provides education through Master Classes and involvement of gifted high school and college students in our productions, both onstage and off. We aim to serve all ages, playing a vital role in the cultural life of Northern Virginia, and to engage artists of the highest calibre in every aspect of production.
Founded in 2015, Shakespeare Opera Theatre is a professional 501c3 non-profit performing arts company specializing in classical theatre with classical music. SOT serves all of Northern Virginia, and we are proud to perform in a new home at Grace Episcopal Church (affectionately known as “Grace the Plains”) in The Plains, Virginia.
In the inaugural season, SOT produced Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” along with Berlioz’s opera on the same subject, “Beatrice et Benedict” in English translation. Performances took place at the Hylton Center in Manassas, Virginia. The Washington Post hailed SOT as having “A concept that’s clever, and performers who give their all.”
In 2016, productions of “The Merry Wives of Windsor” and Verdi’s opera “Falstaff” were presented at the Hylton Center in Manassas. Orchestral forces were expanded, and a committed assistant conductor and rehearsal pianist was added with the arrival of Dr. Lisa Bloy. Orchestral players and singer-actors from all over the mid-Atlantic were hired. Of the Merry Wives of Windsor, Eric Minton of Shakespearances exclaimed “Michael Harris gave not only a highlight of the year, but one of the best Falstaffs I have ever seen.” Actor’s Equity member, Michael Harris, was such an obvious asset, he was made an artist affiliate with the company. Opera performers also earned accolades as “masterful,” “exquisite,” and “gorgeous,” and Lind’s conducting was hailed as producing “orchestral grandeur” and “attaining the high benchmark Verdi sets for them with his score.”
In 2017, SOT expanded its service area by undertaking a tour of Loudoun, Prince William and Fairfax counties with “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” with Mendelssohn’s iconic incidental music. The reviews were the strongest yet, calling the production “a magical element all its own,” with “the charm of having children play the myriad of fairies and Michael Harris giving a brilliantly nuanced portrayal of Bottom.” Performances took place at Church of Our Redeemer in Aldie, The Ernst Cultural Center in Annandale, and The Jackson Memorial Amphitheater in Manassas. Also in 2017, SOT was invited to join the Shakespeare Theater Association.
A 2017 letter from an enthusiastic audience member:
Thank you so much for the wonderful shows this weekend! I went with a group of friends on Saturday, and enjoyed it so much that I came back on Sunday! I’ve passed the word along at work and to some other friends to make sure they take the great opportunity to see the show in Manassas next weekend. An absolutely wonderful combination of delightful play and beautiful music…it was a magical treat!
Thank you SO MUCH for your work in putting together this enchanting performance.
Thanks to the generous people of Grace the Plains, Shakespeare Opera Theatre is able to offer a full Season of Classical Performing Arts to our community and beyond. Please consider joining us at Grace for Worship, Fellowship, and special events. View information about Grace’s other incredible Offerings and sneak a peek at the church calendar for worship times and important dates at gracetheplains.org