Congratulations to WNO’s head of music staff, Michael Baitzer, for his recent additional appointment as Director of the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program at Central City Opera. Read the press announcement here.
Ellen Berelson, Chair of Washington National Opera’s (WNO) Board of Trustees, and Timothy O’Leary, WNO’s new General Director, announce important updates to the company’s leadership structure, laying the groundwork for a new era of bold artistic plans and service to the Washington community. WNO has renewed the engagement of Francesca Zambello as Artistic Director for three years, following a unanimous vote by the WNO Board of Trustees to extend her contract. Also announced is the appointment of American conductor Evan Rogister as Principal Conductor through the 2021–2022 season. Additionally, O’Leary and Zambello have completed the formation of WNO’s new management team through key hires for top administrative posts.
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.
The Kennedy Center and Washington National Opera are happy to celebrate #artsedweek! In fact, we celebrate and advocate for arts in education every day of the week, knowing how this knowledge fosters confidence, critical thinking, and creativity in our students. Read more
Russian soprano Venera Gimadieva stars as Violetta Valery in WNO’s production of Verdi’s La traviata helmed by Artistic Director Francesca Zambello. Named one of the “40 Under 40” by Operavore, WQXR’FM’s popular digital 24/7 audio stream devoted to Opera, Venera’s debut in Washington is one not to miss! Also featuring tenor Joshua Guerrero and baritone Lucas Meachem, La traviata runs for 11 performances from October 6-21. For more information, please visit our website.
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.
Follow Joshua on Facebook for more information.
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!
Follow Lucas on Facebook for more information.
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.”
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.