Get Away: An Opera Festival, Plus Two Places to Stay
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Courtesy of the Cavalier Hotel.
An Iconic Crown Jewel
In the decades after its opening in 1927, Virginia Beach’s Cavalier Hotel became a posh seaside getaway for 10 U.S. presidents and numerous celebrities, including Bette Davis, Elizabeth Taylor and Frank Sinatra.
With 85 rooms and suites, the hotel reopened in March following an $85 million renovation that had taken many spaces down to the studs and resulted in the restoration of terrazzo floors and Jeffersonian-inspired columns to their former grandeur. The hotel’s décor is a modern take on quintessential Southern elegance. The Raleigh Room—the place for afternoon tea and evening craft cocktails—features tufted velvet sofas and stunning art, some of it cheeky. The nearby veranda offers cushy seating and takes advantage of the hotel’s hilltop location, which overlooks the Atlantic Ocean on one side and a plunge pool on the other. The pool is said to have been a favorite of writer F. Scott Fitzgerald and his family. SeaHill Spa offers hydrotherapy suites along with sand-and-sea-themed treatments.
The name of The Cavalier’s swanky distillery, Tarnished Truth, reflects the half-truths and tales that have pervaded the hotel’s history, including one about President Richard Nixon burning papers late one summer night in the adjacent Hunt Room’s massive fireplace. Opening this summer, The Cavalier Beach Club will be home to a private beach, infinity pool and a beachside bar and cafe. Room rates at The Cavalier begin at $309.
The Cavalier Hotel, 4200 Atlantic Ave., Virginia Beach, Virginia; 757-425-8555, cavalierhotel.com
A rendering of The Virginian Hotel’s Skyline Rooftop Bar and Restaurant. Photo courtesy of the Virginian Hotel.
Hotel With A View
The Virginian Hotel, a downtown Lynchburg gem from the early 1900s, is slated to reopen in May after a three-year, $30 million renovation. The six-story art deco-style property is now part of Hilton’s Curio Collection and will offer 130 rooms and suites that feature high ceilings, high-definition television and cozy bathrobes. Some will also come with oversize high-back chairs and ottomans for comfy reading while overlooking Lynchburg. A lobby-level library will be stocked with books on Virginia history. Fuel up at the hotel’s coffee and wine bar, steakhouse or Skyline Rooftop Bar and Restaurant, which will have a fire pit and view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Restaurants, boutique shops and Lynchburg’s Academy Center of the Arts—home to art talks and exhibits, concerts, and pottery date nights—are a short stroll from the hotel. Rates begin at $159.
The Virginian Hotel, 712 Church St., Lynchburg, Virginia; 434-329-3200, thevirginianhotel.com
The OperaDelaware Festival will feature fully staged productions. Last year’s event included performances of La Cenerentola (Cinderella). Photo by Joe Del Tufo/Moonloop Photography.
Take In An Opera
For The 100th anniversary of the premiere of Puccini’s Il Trittico (The Triptych), the OperaDelaware Festival will stage performances at The Grand Opera House in Wilmington from April 28 to May 6. The festival, which debuted in 2016, has garnered glowing reviews (The Washington Post described it as “not only a success story but an inspiration”).
For this year’s festival, the tragedies Il Tabarro (The Cloak) and Suor Angelica (Sister Angelica), which make up the first two acts of Il Trittico, are presented together (April 28 and May 6). The trilogy’s final opera, the comedy Gianni Schicchi, is paired with Buoso’s Ghost, a contemporary sequel to Schicchi by composer Michael Ching (April 29 and May 5). Soprano Eleni Calenos, who was lauded by The Wall Street Journal for her vocal range and “stamina and fire,” stars as Giorgetta in Il Tabarro and in the title role of Suor Angelica.
In addition to the fully staged festival productions, OperaDelaware’s “A Flight of Puccini” makes for a good taste test of Puccini’s famous melodies for opera newbies. The evening event features festival cast members performing Act I of La Bohème, Act II of Tosca and Act III of Madama Butterfly—each paired with a wine tasting. “A Flight of Puccini” is scheduled for May 3 and 4 at the company’s Riverfront Studios (4 S. Poplar St., Wilmington).
Tickets for festival events start at $29.
Main festival events are at The Grand Opera House, 818 N. Market St., Wilmington, Delaware; 302-442-7807, operade.org