Old things may become new. Handel’s opera, Alcina, which premiered in 1735 has done just that – quite magically so. Washington National Opera has dared to take on the classic sorceress for the first time, and it couldn’t have been better timed. “Witchy” and “witchiness” have come back into vogue as women choose to reclaim […]
Aida opened Washington National Opera’s season, and the production is stunning grand opera. From the remarkable singing to the stage pictures filled with RETNA’s startling, rich iconography, this is a production not to be missed.
In most productions, Madame Butterfly is unabashedly atmospheric in its romanticism. “Orientalism” carries us back to composer Giacomo Puccini’s time when the West imagined a fanciful Japan with geishas in pastel colors, a watery moon over stirring waters, a pinkish snow of cherry blossoms, and the like. Those of us who love this opera succumb willingly […]
Michael Cristofer, who wrote the libretto for the opera Champion, seen at Washington National Opera earlier this year, mined the same territory to write Man in the Ring, which debuted in Chicago last September. The American Theatre Critics Association yesterday announced that his efforts have earned him the $25,000 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics […]
Mozart would have been grinning at this youthful production of his tried-and-true opera that reached out to a new younger and diverse audience Friday night, March 17th. Washington National Opera’s Don Giovanni was Mozart as he wanted to be known: someone who delivered stories-in-song with popular appeal.
The air was electric at Kennedy Center Saturday night with the promise of a great fight mounted as opera on stage, and I had what amounted to ringside seats. Champion clearly had some heavy hitters, headed up with a score by the great jazz trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard and a libretto by award winning […]
On the 24th of March, 1962, welterweight champion Benny Paret called former champ Emile Griffith a maricón at their weigh-in. The closest contemporary American-English equivalent to this word is faggot, but maricón means more, and worse. Griffith understood what it meant. He climbed into the ring with Paret that night, fought him, and killed him.
The opera Dead Man Walking is a journey of harrowing truth and compelling beauty. If, as Sister Helen Prejean says, “ Grace is waking up to the gospel of encounter,” then Director Francesca Zambello and her company of stunning singer-actors has graced us with a revelatory theatrical encounter – that is to say an American […]
How will Director Francesca Zambello accompany her singer’s journey on the dark and lonely path of playing the nun who befriended a convicted killer and witnessed his execution? This is what I wondered while watching Kate Lindsey prepare her Washington National Opera debut in the lead role of Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking.
I am being given an intimate look inside the rehearsal rooms of Washington National Opera’s Dead Man Walking under the direction of WNO’s Artistic Director Francesca Zambello. This report marks the end of Week 2 of rehearsals. Starting Monday, we are barely two weeks away from its opening night, February 25th.