Seeking humanity in War by Tomer Zvulun

Director Tomer Zvulun reflects on WNO’s next production: Silent Night

From the first moment I listened to Silent Night, I felt that it deeply touched a personal side in me. Kevin Puts’s music along with Mark Campbell’s libretto uniquely captures the dichotomy of love and war and creates a world that is both specific and universal at once. It captures the humanity of the characters and the comforts that friendship and music bring to the bloodiest of all human experiences—war. Read more

Alexander McKissick | Meet the Artists

Tenor. Nikolaus Sprink in Silent Night.

Hailing from Madison, Connecticut, Alexander made his WNO debut in the 2017–2018 season of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program. This season, he returns to the Artist Program to perform his role debut as Nikolaus Sprink plus roles in Faust and The Lion, the Unicorn, and Me.

In his fast-growing career as a tenor, Alexander has won international awards and sung roles ranging from Alfredo Germont in La traviata to Monostatos in Die Zauberflöte. In May 2018, Alexander reached the finals of OPERALIA, one of the most prestigious and important international vocal competitions in the world.

Watch Alexander perform on the Millennium Stage.

View Alexander’s artist page for more information.

Kenneth Kellogg | Meet the Artists

Bass. Father Palmer in Silent Night.

Born and raised in D.C., Kenneth is quickly gaining recognition as a sought-after rising star. He’ll return to his hometown for his role debut as Father Palmer after making his WNO debut in 2010’s Un Ballo in Maschera.

Since graduating from our Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program in 2012, Kenneth has performed everywhere from Switzerland’s Opéra de Lausanne to San Francisco’s Opera Parallèlle.

Kenneth is noted by critics for his “commanding stage presence” and “rich, resonant bass.”

 “[From Silent Night] I hope audiences will grasp that the joys of life rest in the things that transcend our differences,” Kenneth told WNO.

Watch Kenneth perform Sam Bankhead’s aria in The Summer King at Pittsburgh Opera.

Follow Kenneth on Instagram or visit his website for more information.

Raquel González | Meet the Artists

Soprano. Anna Sorensen in Silent Night.

Raquel is a familiar face at WNO; she graduated from the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program in 2017 where she performed the roles of Donna Anna in Don Giovanni and Cio-Cio San in the DCYA performance of Madame Butterfly. She returns for her role debut as Anna Sørensen after a successful season as Tatiana in Lyric Opera of Kansas City’s Eugene Onegin and Violetta in Cincinnati’s Queen City Opera production of La traviata.

Critics hail Raquel as a “true artist” (Opera News) and a “marvel of voice and stage” (KC Metropoolis).

Read our Q&A with Raquel to learn about her first transformative musical experience and how she discovered she loved opera.

View Raquel’s website for more information.

Former Chorister, Clifford D. Thomson, Bequeaths $1.1 Million to Washington National Opera

Washington National Opera (WNO) is grateful to announce the receipt of an unexpected $1.1 million donation from Clifford D. Thomson, a member of the Washington National Opera Chorus for 30 years. Thomson passed away May 6, 2016 in Naples, Florida, but his estate gift was just recently made known to the company. From 1975 to 2006, Thomson, a native Washingtonian, performed hundreds of times in more than 75 Washington National Opera productions. His first performance was in Verdi’s Otello while his last appearance was in Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore. To commemorate his generous gift, Thomson’s name will be etched on the marble walls of the Kennedy Center’s Hall of Nations.

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Joshua Guerrero | Meet the Artists

Tenor. Alfredo Germont in La traviata.

Joshua is a graduate of University of California at Los Angeles.

Making his WNO and role debut as Alfredo, Joshua has performed roles ranging from Greenhorn in Moby-Dick at LA Opera to Macduff in Zurich Opera House’s Macbeth. He’s a winner of two awards at Operalia 2014 and an alumnus of the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program at LA Opera.

Whether he’s singing the National Anthem at Dodger Stadium or performing at the world’s top opera houses, the “gifted young tenor” (New York Times) continues to see a skyrocketing career.

Fun fact: Before pursuing opera, Joshua worked as a singing gondolier in Las Vegas.

Watch Joshua’s award-winning performance of “Torna ai Felicia di” from Le villi:

Joshua Guerrero

Follow Joshua on Facebook for more information.

Lucas Meachem | Meet the Artists

Baritone. Giorgio Germont in La traviata.

Hailing from Raleigh, N.C., Lucas studied at Appalachian State University, the Eastman School of Music, and Yale University before becoming an Adler Fellow with the San Francisco Opera.

Lucas’s “earnest appealing baritone” (New York Times) has led him to the world’s most important opera stages, from the Metropolitan Opera to San Francisco Opera and Royal Opera. He appeared as Figaro in LA Opera’s Grammy Award®–winning recording of The Ghosts of Versailles.

For his WNO debut, Lucas portrays Alfredo’s hardheaded but loving father.

“My favorite moment of La traviata is Violetta and Germont’s duet,” Lucas told WNO. “Germont decides to judge Violetta on the substance of her character rather than her occupation.”

Fun fact: Lucas gives helpful advice for singing in Italian, creating a vocal game plan, navigating stage romance etiquette, and more in his personal blog!

Listen to Lucas sing some of his highest notes in these arias:

Lucas Meachem

Follow Lucas on Facebook for more information.

Venera Gimadieva | Meet the Artists

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:

Venera Gimadieva

Follow Venera on Twitter + Facebook and visit her website for more information.