Soprano. Violetta Valéry in La traviata.
Hailed as “the new voice of Russia,” Venera has performed for opera houses around the world. But with this performance she’ll mark her WNO debut.
The soprano was born in Kazan, Russia and studied at Bolshoi Theatre’s young artist program, where she now performs as a company member.
Venera is no stranger to the role of the ill-fated Violetta—she’s portrayed it to great acclaim at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, LA Philharmonic, and Glyndebourne. Describing her performance as Violetta, the Guardian said Venera is “a soprano of huge presence, compelling to watch, with a voice of thrilling security and range.”
Venera hopes the story of La traviata will touch many people.
“My wish is that audiences will leave believing there is purity in sacrifices, power in feelings, truth in love,” Venera told WNO. “We are stronger if we live by these principles.”
Watch Venera perform La traviata’s famous brindisi drinking song:
Follow Venera on Twitter + Facebook and visit her website for more information.
Washington National Opera welcomes our new General Director Timothy O’Leary! We also extend our congratulations to Tim who was just re-elected to an additional two-year term as chair of the board for OPERA America, the national service organization for opera. We are so pleased to have this national arts leader as a member of our WNO family. Read more
Free community event allows fans to lounge in the outfield
and watch an opera broadcast of Rossini’s laugh-out-loud rom-com
Washington National Opera (WNO) celebrates the eleventh season of free opera broadcasts at Nationals Park with Opera in the Outfield® on Saturday, September 29, 2018. Gates open at 5 p.m. for pre-show activities with the highlight of the evening, Rossini’s comic masterpiece, The Barber of Seville, broadcast on the high-definition Nationals Park scoreboard at 7 p.m. This popular free event is guaranteed to have fans belt out, “Figaro, Figaro, Figaro!” The opera is performed in Italian, with easy-to-follow English captions shown on the scoreboard. The approximate running time of the opera is three hours, including one 25-minute intermission.
Ample free seating will be available in the stands and access to seating on the outfield grass will be limited on a first-come, first-served basis. Patrons wishing to sit on the outfield grass will receive a free wristband, which will be distributed near the Family Picnic Area (at sections 141–143) beginning at 5 p.m. Accessible seating is available throughout Nationals Park, and assistive listening devices are also available. The event will be fully captioned. More information is available at OperaintheOutfield.org.
Washington National Opera (WNO) has announced the roster of emerging talent selected for the 17th season of its Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program (DCYAP), which begins in August 2018!
Please join us in congratulating our first year Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist tenor, Alexander McKissick, on reaching the finals of OPERALIA, one of the most prestigious and important international vocal competitions in the world.
Founded and conducted by the great Plácido Domingo himself, this competition is a real pinnacle for any singer, and we wish Alex several broken legs and many “Toi Toi Tois” when he travels this fall to Lisbon to compete in the final round.
Alexander is currently appearing in WNO’s production of Candide, earning praise for his double-duty roles as The Grand Inquisitor and the Governor.
We are very proud to report that Madison Leonard, a current Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist at Washington National Opera, was named yesterday as one of five outright winners of the prestigious Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions competition, performing on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera with the Met orchestra conducted by Maestro Bertrand de Billy. She sang Gilda’s notoriously difficult aria ‘Caro nome’ from Rigoletto, and Gretel’s aria from Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel.
The five winners of the 2018 MONCA Grand Finals (Madison on the far right).
Congratulations to WNO Artistic Director Francesca Zambello for her election into the Class of 2018 of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. This prestigious honor recognizes exceptional scholars, leaders, artists, and innovators, and engages them in sharing knowledge and addressing challenges facing the world. The Academy dedicates itself to “new knowledge” and their projects and publications generate ideas and offer recommendations to advance the public good in the arts, citizenship, education, energy, government, the humanities, international relations, science, and more.
This spring, the Kennedy Center celebrates Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday with a production of Candide, a work with contributions from a veritable gallery of 20th-century masters. In anticipation of this epic theatrical event, you can learn more about the creators of Candide—and the novella and events that inspired them—by exploring some of the recommendations below.
Voltaire’s satirical novella traces the journey of young Candide as he attempts to reconcile his tutor’s philosophy of optimism with the hardship of earthly existence. The Norton Critical Edition of Candide, edited by Nicholas Cronk, includes extensive footnotes for the novella’s many references, as well as a series of essays offering background and criticism. Read more
By Dramaturg Kelley Rourke
The Barber of Seville Tickets
Watchmaker, harp teacher, playwright, spy—Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais (pictured) was something of a general factotum himself. Today operagoers know him as the man who gave us Figaro (and friends) in a trilogy of plays. Le Barbier de Séville (“The Barber of Seville”), the first, is a light-hearted comedy in which two young people, inspired by love, conspire against those who would prevent them from being together. In the second, La Folle Journée, ou Le Mariage de Figaro (“The Crazy Day, or The Marriage of Figaro”), the high-spirited conspirators of Barber have lost their common cause—and are in danger of losing their youthful affection and regard for one another. This play has more of a political edge, which is even more pronounced in the work that follows: L’Autre Tartuffe, ou La Mère Coupable (“The Other Tartuffe, or The Guilty Mother”).
By Dramaturg Kelley Rourke
The Barber of Seville Tickets
When Gioachino Rossini (pictured) brought forth The Barber of Seville in 1816, a few days shy of his 24th birthday, it was an audacious act, since Giovanni Paisiello’s 1782 setting of the same play by Beaumarchais, with a libretto by Giuseppe Petrosellini, still enjoyed widespread popularity. The older work had played in Vienna, Prague, Paris, London, Madrid, Barcelona, New Orleans, Stockholm, and in cities across Italy through the early years of the 19th century, and even held the distinction of being the first opera performed in Italian in Mexico (1806).