There is a flurry of new arts development in Fairfax County. The aim: to give Fairfax County bold footing in the DMV performing arts footprint. The opening this weekend of the new Capital One Hall in the burgeoning Tysons area of Fairfax County is leading the way.
The new performing arts venue is a public-private partnership between Fairfax County government and Capital One Bank. The public-use partnership, valued at more than $11 million, will bring a new arts and cultural experience to the area.
Booked to open the new venue are an evening with Josh Groban on October 1, Little Big Town on their Nightfall tour October 2–3, and the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra presenting Saint-Saëns and Beethoven October 9. Coming up: the touring Broadway musical Waitress October 29–31. (See the full schedule of events and performances at capitalonehall.com/events.)
For Fairfax County, the arts are an economic engine, bringing about $300 million in economic activity, providing around 6,200 full-time-equivalent jobs, and generating approximately $20 million in local and state government revenue each year. “It is clear that the arts are a big business,” said Linda Sullivan, president and CEO of ArtsFairfax. “We’re seeing an increased recognition of the value the arts bring to our region.”
With about 1.1 million residents, Fairfax County is the largest-population county in the DMV, with an ever-increasing diversity. The county also ranks seventh-richest in the nation based on median household income.
The Fairfax Symphony Orchestra (FSO) opens its 64th concert season in the Capital One Hall, making it the first Fairfax County performing arts organization to perform there. Under the baton of music director and conductor Christopher Zimmerman, the concert will include works from Bernstein, Beethoven, and Saint-Saëns. Joining the FSO will be Israeli-American cellist Amit Peled performing the Cello Concerto No.1 by Saint-Saëns.
“We’re thrilled to return to the stage in our concert debut at the gorgeous Capital One Hall,” said Zimmerman. “We invite all music lovers to join us to experience the joyous music of Bernstein and Beethoven, and the excitement of hearing Amit Peled — one of the most engaging cellists of our time — play Saint-Saëns beautiful cello concerto within the architectural splendor and distinctive acoustics of this stunning venue!”
“To celebrate our inaugural season, we are delighted to welcome the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra for a magical evening of music and artistry,” said Jonathan Griffith, managing director of Capital One Center. “We’re excited for our growing partnership with the Fairfax Symphony and proud to open this stunning new performing arts venue and the surrounding amenities of Capital One Center.”
The Main Theater is a mainstage 1,600-seat performance space with an orchestra level and two balconies. With its steep rise, viewed on a recent visit, the audience will be close to the stage and in comfortable seats surrounded by warm interior walls.
As seen on a tour of the expansive backstage area, there is extensive rigging, wings, a walkable grid, an adjustable proscenium stage, multiple dressing rooms, and even a hydraulic lift for a grand piano that can be kept in its own temperature-and-humidity-controlled chamber. Patrons can reach the Main Theater, the Atrium, and other interior spaces by escalator, elevator, or the Grand Staircase. With its bar and food amenities, the Atrium can be used for pre- and post-show gatherings and even weddings and galas.
The Vault is a smaller, more intimate space with 225 seats on risers. The upstage wall is an expanse of windows — looking out on the nearby Metro station and ongoing construction in the new urban Tysons — which can be blacked out with closeable curtains. Judging from an initial walk-through, the wings of the Vault are minimal and there is no real backstage, making the venue less suited for live theater production than for concert, cinema, and classroom use.
For national touring companies and boldface-name entertainers, Capital One Hall offers a prime new booking option. Thanks to the public-private partnership, the new performance spaces will also be available at specially negotiated rates for Fairfax County nonprofit arts groups and for arts-related programming by Fairfax County government agencies and Fairfax County Public schools. “This is a tremendous opportunity for local arts groups to have additional access to performing spaces, plus classrooms, for a wide variety of activities,” said Sullivan. The Vault will be available for public use by local performing arts groups 57 days per year; the Main Theater, for 25 days. The partnership also provides for technical supports such as sound and lighting.
Following the FSO’s concert on October 9, the next Fairfax County-based arts organizations to perform in the Main Theater are Gin Dance on October 16 and the Virginia Chamber Orchestra on October 23. The annual Washington West Film Festival will also have showings in the Vault on October 23.
Capital One Hall was designed by a team led by HGA and built with a “box-in-a-box” approach, to mitigate noise and vibrations from the surrounding area and activities. Drivers will find ample parking and the Hall is a ten-minute walk from the elevated Silver Line McLean Station. The exterior is made of 7,000 slabs of Carrera marble imported from Italy. The façade has approximately 16,000 square feet of glass, allowing daylight and nighttime to be visible from the vast interior Atrium.
Capital One Hall is located at 7750 Capital One Tower Road, Tysons, VA. It is right off Metro’s Silver Line McLean station. For driving and public transportation directions, see capitalonehall.com/visit. For tickets and information go to capitalonehall.com. Current safety and health guidance for entering Capital One Hall can be found at capitalonehall.com/faq.