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Two Centers Offer Entertaining Mix

Both the Barns of Wolf Trap and the George Mason University Center for the Arts add variety and sparkle to Fairfax County's night life.

The last fling of summer is over, and although the days may remain warm and the water still inviting, thoughts turn to the fall entertainment season. Here in Fairfax County both the George Mason University Center for the Arts and the Barns of Wolf Trap have an interesting mix of performances to offer, everything from folk to jazz to opera to ballet and theater.

THE BARNS OF WOLF TRAP, a 352-seat theater located near Wolf Trap's Filene Center, will offer more than 90 diverse performances from October through May.

Folk legend Odetta will return on Oct. 18, and Broadway/cabaret star Melissa Errico will travel from the Broadway musical “Amour” to spend an evening on Feb. 3. An International Guitar Night, starring jazz-influenced musicians Ralph Towner, Martin Taylor, Marco Pereira and Brian Gore, will be offered Jan. 23. Appearing with them will be international musicians Habib Koite and Bamada.

The Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quartet will open the Discovery Series on Friday, Oct. 25, at 8 p.m. The evening will feature Mozart's Quintet in E major for piano and winds. The series will include the musical husband-and-wife team of David Finckel at the cello and Wu Han at piano on Friday, April 11, 2003, at 8 p.m. This is their Barns debut, and they will play both Beethoven and Rachmaninoff. Ending the season will be the Wolf Trap Opera Company artists on Friday, May 2, at 8 p.m. To subscribe to the series, call 703-218-6500. To purchase individual tickets, call Tickets.com at 703-218-6500 or visit www.wolftrap.org

GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY'S CENTER FOR THE ARTS welcomes back American pianist Jeffrey Siegel, who will present keyboard conversations, a unique concert-plus-commentary format in which he speaks to the audience about the music before performing each work in its entirety. He will offer Haydn and Mozart on Sunday, Sept. 22, at 7 p.m.

The eclectic season also welcomes the Shanghai Ballet for two different performances. On Saturday, Sept. 28, the company will dance "The White Haired Girl," based on a legend of a poor peasant who is tormented by an evil landlord until she escapes to the mountains, where her hair turns ghostly white. "Coppelia," a classic comedy ballet created and first performed in Paris in 1870, will be offered on Sunday, Sept. 29, at 2 p.m.

The Virginia Opera expands its season from three to four operas, opening with “Die Walkure” on Friday, Oct. 11, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 13, at 2 p.m. The cornerstone of the Ring cycle, this opera features an international cast including Wagnerian soprano Jeannine Altmeyer as Sieglinde. The group will also be performing Thea Musgrave's "A Christmas Carol," Strauss's "Die Fledermaus" and Puccini's "La Boheme."

Showcasing their award-winning "Sing Down the Moon" and "Perseus Bayou" will be the Theater of the First Amendment. "Sing Down the Moon," based on Appalachian tales, will be performed Thursday, Jan.. 23, at 7 p.m.; Friday, Jan. 24, at 7 p.m.; and Saturday, Jan. 25, at 2 and 7 p.m. "Perseus Bayou," based on the classic Greek myth of Perseus and Andromeda, is the story of a bayou boy sent in search of the Cajun Medusa. The family musical will be offered Thursday, April 24, at 7 p.m.; Friday, April 25, at 7 p.m.; and Saturday, April 26, at 2 and 7 p.m.

Another presentation that will be enjoyable to children is "The Velveteen Rabbit," presented by ODC San Francisco on Friday, Oct. 25, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, Oct. 26, at 7 p.m. The play is based on the classic children's story.

In addition to Virginia Opera's "A Christmas Carol," George Mason will present two more holiday traditions. Chanticleer will offer "A Chanticleer Christmas on Friday, Dec. 13, at 8 p.m. The group will perform Christmas music from around the world and across the centuries from medieval and Renaissance music to American spirituals. Another holiday tradition is the Canadian Brass, which will perform on Sunday, Dec. 15, at 7 p.m.

The Shanghai Ballet will open the dance season, and other groups include the Georgian State Dance Company on Nov. 10 at 2 p.m.; Momix on Friday, Jan. 31, and Saturday, Feb. 1, at 8 p.m.; Tango Buenos Aires on Saturday, Feb. 8, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 9 at 2 p.m.; the Mark Morris Dance Group on Saturday, March 8, at 8 p.m.; and Grupo Corp, the Brazilian Dance Theater, on Wednesday, April 9, at 8 p.m.