Meet our two talented angels in WNO’s heartwarming family opera!
Kylee, 11, makes her WNO debut with The Lion, the Unicorn, and Me. She’s loved singing and music ever since she started talking, and has performed in area musical theater productions and vocal recitals since she was four years old. Two of her favorite songs to sing are “The Lonely Goatherd” (The Sound of Music) and “Quiet” (Matilda). When she’s not performing, Kylee loves writing, reading, swimming, and arts & crafts.
Holden, 13, made his WNO debut in 2017 as the title character in The Little Prince. Holden says that performing is “exhilarating, because I get to become a different character.” He enjoys a wide variety of songs and plays the clarinet in his school’s symphonic band. In his spare time, he likes to play ultimate Frisbee.
“Hometown favorite” (Washington Post) Soloman Howard returns to D.C. to reprise the title role of Lion in The Lion, the Unicorn, and Me. Soloman is an alum of the Manhattan School of Music and Morgan State University and a 2014 graduate of our Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program. He was last seen on the WNO stage as The King in 2017’s Aida.
Soloman has performed on opera stages around the world, from The Metropolitan Opera to Teatro Real de Madrid. Now he’s back to display his “magical voice” (Washingtonian) as the brash but endearing lion.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.”