It all began in 1997 in a Theatre built on the site of an old chicken coop inhabited by fifteen thousand hens…. World famous conductor Lorin Maazel invited his friends Mstislav Rostropovich and Yefim Bronfman to inaugurate his tiny “Globe Theatre”. 12 years later, an Opera Festival was born. The late Maestro Lorin Maazel and his wife Dietlinde Turban Maazel founded the Castleton Festival in 2009 to bring classical music, theatre and opera - performed at the highest level - to the rolling hills of Rappahannock County, Virginia. The program blossomed, creating expanded opportunities for participants through the inclusion of symphonic concerts, chamber music, master classes, recitals and Prose Theater.
In addition to high quality productions, the Castleton Festival acutely focused on educating young artists through the Castleton Artists Training Seminar (C.A.T.S.). This unparalleled seven-week program identifies exceptional operatic talent and brings them to the next level of accomplishment through comprehensive training with leading professionals in their field. To date, more than 300 young artists have benefited from the Festival’s C.A.T.S. program.
With the success of the program came the necessity of a larger venue. A 22,000 square foot Festival Theatre was built in the picturesque countryside and hosts nearly 10,000 patrons every year. Since its inception, the Castleton Festival has provided a stage for world-class artists. It has launched the careers of singers, musicians, conductors and stage directors. Alumni often go on to positions with leading orchestras and opera companies such as the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic, the London Philharmonia, the Vienna Philharmonic, the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing, the NHK in Tokyo, the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, and many others.
And as for the ex-chicken coop? The intimate and acoustically superb Theatre House still serves as the focal point of Castleton’s year-round activities. Its stage has welcomed world-renowned artists such as José Carreras, Emanuel Ax, and Itzhak Perlman, alongside rising classical music stars, and figures from world music, jazz, dance, and theatre. This multi-cultural series “Castleton in Performance” (CiP) and the Castleton Festival first operated under the Châteauville Foundation umbrella. In 2014, the Castleton Festival received its own 501c3 status.
Entering its seventh season, now under the leadership of Executive & Artistic Director Dietlinde Turban Maazel, the 2015 Castleton Festival will host over 10,000 onsite patrons to engage with the tragic tale of Roméo et Juliette, celebrate the world premiere of a new American opera, Scalia/Ginsburg, paired with Ravel’s charming L’heure espagnole, embark on a symphonic journey with Maestro Fabio Luisi and pianist Alessandro Taverna, and bear witness to some of the greatest stars of tomorrow. Joining forces for the first time, the Castleton Festival and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis will introduce Jazz to the festival season repertoire and the first edition of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Academy. Add bluegrass performances, an engaging presentation from Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg on Law in Opera, performances of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, chamber music, and a tribute performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, and the 2015 Castleton Festival will make this a summer to remember!
Learn about our Founders and Board of Directors.
The Beijing National Centre for the Performing Arts
Maestro Maazel - Official Website