WNO Choristers Dress for Success

WNO Choristers in La Traviata/photo by Scott Suchman

Washington National Opera benefits from having a chorus that includes some of the finest singers in the Mid-Atlantic area, adding musical depth and dramatic or comedic flair to each production. These opera singers are more than just background—they deftly add important elements to the story unfolding on stage. WNO’s chorus, drawn from an established pool of about 100 very accomplished artists, who sing in seven languages: English, Italian, French, German, Russian, Spanish, and Czech—no small feat! Three WNO Chorus members got dressed up for La traviata and stepped out onto center stage in small roles during the production: Spencer Adamson (baritone) performed as Flora’s Servant; Aurelio Dominguez (tenor) portrayed Giuseppe; and Rob McGinness (baritone) served as the Messenger. Here, the talented trio share their tricks of the trade for success: Read more

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.

WNO announces renewal of Francesca Zambello, names Evan Rogister as Principal Conductor

Francesca Zambello

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.

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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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Venera Gimadieva named “40 Under 40: A New Generation of Superb Opera Singers”

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.

Read Fred Plotkin’s full article on the new generation of superb opera singers on Operavore.

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