Friday morning, images across TV screens and in The Washington Post flashed pictures of wildfires burning in the oil fields of Alberta, Canada. For those of us this past week who have lived and breathed Richard Wagner’s towering operatic epic, The Ring of the Nibelung by Washington National Opera (all 18 hours!) these billowing spumes […]
Projections follow music and carry us from clouds to forest canopy. But how quickly the woods change to a panorama of deforestation. Magnificent trunks become denuded logs and are carried by rail as poles to hold up electric wires. Next come belching industrial smokestacks. Director Francesca Zambello will not let us off from bearing witness […]
“Nun zäume dein Ross, reisige Maid!” (“Mount your horse, cavalry maiden!”) We’re in for a ride! Zambello’s big pre-show announcement on opening night of The Valkyrie was that Christine Goerke, who had just the afternoon before sung another Brünnhilde in Siegfried in Houston, an equally huge role, had flown in like the Valkyrie she is to […]
In the darkened Kennedy Center Opera House, the music begins so quietly one thinks maybe it is only imagined. But that E-flat major triad rolls on and grows. On an enormous screen, from a murky swirling darkness, slowly, light appears, forming a gaseous cloud.
Francesca Zambello is directing Wagner’s Ring Cycle that opens April 30th at The Kennedy Center and brings to Washington National Opera for the first time the whole four-part epic opera cycle. And just for good measure, WNO will present the whole thing three times through.
Many people taking their seats for the first time at WNO’s Lost in the Stars may wonder at the production’s stark and formidable stockade, lit but darkly. The leader of the Chorus enters and acts as Magician and Stage Manager, raising a few of the set’s steep side panels with a wave of his hand […]
Washington National Opera’s Better Gods brings a mostly unknown chapter in Hawaiian history onto the stage at the Kennedy Center, telling the story of Queen Lili’uokalani, the island nation’s last monarch, with dignity and high artistic values. I imagine the Hawaiian “better gods” are happy.
There’s much to learn watching a production being remounted by essentially the same team. The riches and new challenges proved fascinating in the rarity of Vivaldi’s Catone in Utica that played for two performances this past weekend at the Kennedy Center.
Philip Glass has been called by some the greatest living composer. His new work, Appomattox, received a world premiere in its expanded and revised state by Washington National Opera on Saturday. It is bold, sweeping, dreamlike, socially relevant, and ultimately deeply spiritual.
There is a Carmen for everyone. This production of Georges Bizet’s opera is from South African townships around Capetown welded by the most spirited Isango Ensemble. They have made the work their own from the marimba orchestra in which all the performers participate to the African dance steps and occasionally native-language songs thrown in the […]