Cher Public

Celeste graffiti

I see flags, I hear bells, There's a parade in Memphis. Photo: Scott Suchman

I see flags, I hear bells, there’s a parade in Memphis. Photo: Scott Suchman

The reasoning behind putting on Aida over any other Verdi opera must be that if you put ancient Egypt onstage, sooner or later you’ll find Tutankhamen’s tomb. It has name recognition value and is a surefire box office reward, but now carries a promise of luxury and extravagance onstage that other operas allegedly don’t have. (Evidence: the man behind be who, before the performance started, asked “Is this the opera about the elephant?”)  Read more »

Keeping the faith

Opera warhorse overload can happen to the best of us, and going into Washington National Opera’s final presentation of the season, Madama Butterfly, I feared that I might be geisha’d out. My most recent encounter just six months ago (a Vienna State Opera production with Kristine Opolais) was well done but left me thoroughly cold, a sign that a personal moratorium on this particular chestnut might be in order.  Read more »

Ring cycle

Washington National Opera continued a focus on recent works this season with Terence Blanchard and Michael Cristofer’s 2013 opera Champion on the life of boxer Emile Griffith. Though many of the stumbling blocks one might expect are no doubt present in this first attempt at an opera from Blanchard, there is also much to appreciate in this ambitious work.  Read more »

‘Dead Man,’ stumbling

The opera is relentlessly obvious, a work that repeatedly turns to tired tropes and canned characters to fill up its nearly three hour run time.

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Pyramid scheme

Isn’t it inspiring how deeply Francesca Zambello has sunk her tentacles into the heart of American opera?

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On topic

Washington National Opera’s American Opera Initiative, now in its 5th year, keeps the opera flame alight at the Kennedy Center during the long winter stretch between mainstage WNO productions.

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After the fall

Washington National Opera offered a shellshocked D.C. some much-needed diversion Saturday night, with a new production of La Fille du Regiment.

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And let the voice of Justice bring relief

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg takes her curtain call.

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Crazy stupid love

Well, that didn’t last long.

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A choice, not an ecosystem

Washington National Opera’s first Ring Cycle came to a bittersweet conclusion this past Sunday, closing the door on an extraordinary three weeks in the opera house and a remarkable musical and theatrical achievement for the company.

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