Enjoy “Read a Book Day” Inspiration for Upcoming Performances this Season


Calling all bookworms! “Read a Book Day” is on September 6 and the Center for the Arts has a handful of recommendations to pair with upcoming performances in the 2023/2024 Great Performances at Mason season. After all, what’s better than a good book followed by a night out with friends? 

Shahnameh (Book of Kings)
Hamid Rahmanian’s Song of the North comes to the Center on January 27.
Attending Hamid Rahmanian’s Song of the North on January 27? Try reading Shahnameh (Book of Kings)!  

Experience “breathtaking fireworks of creativity” (La Monde) with Hamid Rahmanian’s newest large-scale cinematic shadow play Song of the North. With more than 500 handmade puppets and an original score by renowned Iranian composer Loga Ramin Torkian, you'll be transported to a magical and ancient landscape, rich in history and lore in this epic love story adapted from the Shahnameh (Book of Kings). Manijeh, a spunky heroine from ancient Persia, is on a mission to prevent a war and rescue her beloved from her evil and unscrupulous father, King Afrasiab. The thrilling multimedia adventure combines state-of-the-art animation with the age-old art of shadow puppetry to showcase a collection of ancient Persian legends and Iranian national treasures.   

The writings of William Still.
Virginia Opera: Sanctuary Road comes to the Center on February 3 and 4.
Attending Virginia Opera's Sanctuary Road on February 3 and 4? It’s based on the powerful writings of William Still from his time helping enslaved people escape to freedom. 

Based on the life and writings of William Still, an African American leader on the Underground Railroad who helped more than 800 enslaved people escape to freedom, Virginia Opera’s production of Sanctuary Road distills and dramatizes the stories from Still’s book. Interviewing the men and women he helped find passage north, Still kept careful records, including a brief biography and the destination for each, along with any alias they had adopted. Composer Paul Moravec and librettist Mark Campbell transformed these daring stories of courage, perseverance, and sacrifice into a "riveting, pulsating wall of sound [and] stellar soloists” (BroadwayWorld). 

Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music.
Bamberg Symphony comes to the Center on April 27.
Attending the Bamberg Symphony with Hélène Grimaud on April 27? The program is inspired by Alex Ross’s Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music

The Bamberg Symphony—one of Germany’s premier orchestras—debuts at the Center for the Arts in a program inspired by New Yorker music critic and Pulitzer Prize finalist Alex Ross’s recent book Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music. It explores Richard Wagner’s complicated, many-sided legacy and his colossal influence on music, art, and culture as part of the ensemble’s concert series “The World After Wagner.” The evening’s program features Wagner’s Prelude to Act I from Lohengrin and Overture to Tannhäuser, as well as music by two of Wagner’s German contemporaries, Johannes Brahms and Robert Schumann. 

“A Visit from St. Nicholas”
The American Festival Pops Orchestra presents Holiday Pops: Songs of the Season at the Center on December 9.
Looking for a “Bonus Book” for the Center’s younger audience members? Try Clement Clarke Moore’s classic poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” also known as “’Twas the Night Before Christmas!” 

It’s never too early to start daydreaming about the holidays and American Festival Pops Orchestra agrees. Returning to the Center on December 9, The American Festival Pops Orchestra presents Holiday Pops: Songs of the Season, a cherished tradition and Center for the Arts audience favorite. Now in his second season, Artistic Director and Conductor Peter Wilson welcomes old friends and new to the stage for a festive program of musical favorites, including an uplifting audience singalong of beloved carols! 


See these literary performances and more at the Center for the Arts when you subscribe with three or more performances in the 2023/2024 season! For more information, visit the subscription website. For more information about individual ticket sales, please visit the Center for the Arts 2023/2024 season calendar