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.
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
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
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).
In February 2018, WNO Artistic Director Francesca Zambello directs Leonard Bernstein’s classic musical in a production staged for the unique experience of the Concert Hall, with a full cast of more than 20 dazzling performers including members of WNO’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists. NSO Principal Pops Conductor Steven Reineke leads the National Symphony Orchestra in the performance.
Today, it seems incredible that Leonard Bernstein could have written West Side Story, an up-to-the-minute commentary on gang warfare in New York City, concurrently with Candide an operetta based on political satire by Voltaire. Yet both pieces, in their way, struggle with timeless ideals that are at the heart of the American project: the idea that we are all created equal, and with a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
The human struggle to honor these ideals plays out in both pieces. In West Side Story, discord between native-born Americans and recent immigrants leads to tragedy, but its most famous song is an anthem of true optimism, a belief in a world – “Somewhere” – where each person has a place, each person has a home. Later this spring, at Washington National Opera, Candide will ultimately offer a similar message of hope, a message wrapped in a challenge to “Make Our Garden Grow.”
BravO is D.C.’s premier young professional arts-lover program, welcoming those who are interested in opera to connect with one another, WNO, and the productions. Each year, led by the BravO council, this group attends designated, discounted BravO nights at the Opera, networking happy hours, and a variety of other social events that focus on the work on our stages. The council functions much like a Junior Board and is made up of extremely dedicated individuals who meet monthly to make strategic plans for the future of BravO, and more importantly the next generation of Opera fans.
This fall we are thrilled to welcome two new council members, Mattia D’Affuso and Alyssa O’Connor! Read more