Blue Viola, a bluesy, jazzy new opera from UrbanArias

Alicia Olatuja. (Photo:  C. Stanley Photography)

What would you call the blend of music and genre in UrbanArias’ world premiere Blue Viola? Standard terms like “chamber opera,” “folk opera,” or “comic opera” fall short. Is it Chicago opera? Rosewood blues? Whatever you might call it, it is funny, thought-provoking, absorbing, and certainly not what most of you imagine when you think […]

Don Giovanni, a seductive romp from In Series

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The In Series Pocket Opera Company is using its gifted creative team, librettist Bari Biern and stage director Tom Mallan, to the utmost, for a bold, new venture, Don Giovanni, one of Mozart’s most demanding operas.

Eric Owens is magnificent in WNO’s Flying Dutchman

The cast of The Flying Dutchman at Washington National Oper (Photo: Scott Suchman)

When I think of Wagnerian opera I think big – big sets, big ideas, and big voices – but in the production of The Flying Dutchman that just opened at Washington National Opera, only the voices were suitably Wagnerian big and robust. Everything else seemed intentionally scaled to say something more intimate and human. So […]

A bold, dramatic new season coming for Washington National Opera

From the 2012 production of Lost in the Stars at Glimmerglass Festival (Photo: Karli Cadel/The Glimmerglass Festival)

Walking into the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday morning, I was greeted by the hell-bent-for leather sounds of the famous “Ride of the Valkyries” from Wagner’s Ring Cycle. Nothing could have been better chosen to underscore KC’s new President Deborah F. Rutter stepping up to the podium to announce her […]

A chilling Dialogues of the Carmelites from Washington National Opera

Dialogues of the Carmalites

A Meditation on Fear and Mass Hysteria How the twist of a current event can bring a work alive. Far from being an opera about how faith put to the ultimate test offers a path to redemption, this Dialogues of the Carmelites feels like a difficult meditation on the power of fear, and not just […]

Penny’s short run reveals promising new opera

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The best thing about Washington National Opera’s world premiere of Penny in the Terrace Theatre is that in a rare “tuning of the spheres” another new opera was commissioned and given a respectable viewing and hearing. This is the third year that Artistic Director Francesca Zambello has carried the banner forward in her personal crusade […]

La Sonnambula (the Sleepwalker) soars at Source

Lisa (Kimberly Christie) looks on as Elvino (Joe Haughton) discovers his fiancée Amina (CarrieAnne Winter) in a stranger's bed. (Photo: Angelisa Gillyard)

Remember that illuminating moment when first love hits? It can be a flutter in the solar plexus, an airy sensation in the head.  It’s that light-headed feeling that is pure, wholesome love. That time can be like a dream. But if the lovers prove to be liars and do sneaky, mean things for selfish reasons,  […]

Mozart’s opera for kids Bastian and Bastianna at Source

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Presenting opera for children seems like an idea that’s going hotter than hotcakes. Kids and their parents are eating this stuff up. In December the Washington National Opera presented its third year of seasonal family performances with sold-out performances of The Little Prince. This weekend Washington’s most intimate opera company, The InSeries opens its own […]

Washington National Opera’s The Little Prince

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Hitching a ride through the galaxy with The Little Prince last week, the audience discovered magical delights in the opera and such truths that grown-ups never are capable of telling, perhaps, as the story tells us, because they are so strange. So, I went straight to the children.

What makes an opera sing?

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Two different casts, two different audiences, two different experiences for La bohème What makes an opera sing? There are so many elements that must come together in this art form. Even within a single production, with different casts, (often the case at Washington National Opera as other opera companies) or even on different evenings with […]

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