WCO announces 2018-2019 Season


WCO celebrates a season of strong women, the return of Opera Outside and a debut co-production with Wolf Trap Opera  

Washington, DC (August 10, 2018)– Washington Concert Opera (WCO) is excited to announce its 2018-2019 lineup, a season that celebrates strong women and the return of beloved opera stars. WCO kicks off the year with their second annual Opera Outside at Washington D.C.’s Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park on Oct 27th, followed by performances at Lisner Auditorium of Charles Gounod’s Sapho on November 18th, 2018 and Gioachino Rossini’s Zelmira on April 5th, 2019. Also, for the first time ever, WCO will co-present two very special performances of Frank Martin’s Le vin herbé at The Barns at Wolf Trap on February 9th and 10th, 2019. 

Washington Concert Opera’s Artistic Director and Conductor, Antony Walker says, “Every opera we are presenting this season is a unique and special treat: from Gounod’s gorgeous Sapho, a US premiere starring consummate singing actress and DC favorite, Kate Lindsey; to Rossini’s stunning Zelmira, never before presented on the East Coast, with the incomparable Rossini specialist Lawrence Brownlee; to our exciting new third offering – Swiss composer Frank Martin’s Le vin herbé – a rare 20th Century masterpiece featuring brilliant young singers; this will be an unmissable season for all lovers of exciting, superbly sung, and rarely heard operatic gems!”

Following in the footsteps of last year’s inaugural Opera Outside event, WCO will stage another performance this year at Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park in Northwest Washington D.C. Though details of who will perform are still being finalized, the performance is free to the public and will take place at 11:00 am on October 28th, 2018. 

On November 18th at The George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium at 6 pm, WCO will open its official season with Charles Gounod’s Sapho, a tragic tale of love, deception and the high power of art. The WCO performance of Sapho will mark the first-ever professional premiere of the opera in the United States. Sapho centers around intense, competing love affairs developing within the context of the ancient Greek Olympics - while a political coup bubbles just beneath the surface. Internationally renowned mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey will return to the WCO stage in the title role while four acclaimed emerging artists (Addison Marlor as Phaon, Amina Edris as Glycère, Musa Ngqungwana as Pythéas, and Brian Vu as Alcée) will make their WCO debuts. 

On April 5th at 7 pm, again at Lisner Auditorium, WCO wraps up their season with a performance of Gioachino Rossini’s Zelmira. The last of Rossini’s “Neapolitan Operas,” Zelmira is largely considered to be among his greatest works. Embarking on a mission to save her father, King Polidoro, from a murderous usurper, the title character faces a series of aspersions directed against her and nearly loses her family and her life in the process. Lawrence Brownlee, one of the world’s leading bel canto tenors, returns to WCO as Zelmira’s husband Ilo. Celebrated Spanish mezzo-soprano Silvia Tro Santafe will make her company debut in the title role, while distinguished mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux joins the cast in the role of Emma.

WCO will also co-present with Wolf Trap Opera two performances of Le vin herbé at The Barns at Wolf Trap, lead by Maestro Antony Walker. The opera is a rare modern retelling of Tristan and Isolde in a chamber music setting, by Swiss composer Frank Martin. The performances will take place on Saturday, February 9th at 7:30 pm and Sunday, February 10th, 2019 at 3 pm.

Single ticket and subscriptions for WCO’s performances at Lisner Auditorium are available for purchase online (www.concertopera.org) and by phone at 202 364-5826. Single tickets range from $15 for students to  $110. Tickets for performances at The Barns are available for purchase online (www.wolftrap.org) and by phone at 877 965-3872.

2018-19 Season Collage with WTO.jpg

WCO announces 2017-2018 Season

We are pleased to announce our 2017-18 season of two bel canto rarities.

The season begins with Vincenzo Bellini’s La Straniera on Sunday, November 19, featuring three rising stars in their WCO debuts: soprano Amanda Woodbury as Alaide, tenor Gerard Schneider as Arturo, and mezzo-soprano Corrie Stallings as Isoletta. Also joining them is WCO favorite, baritone Javier Arrey, in the role of Valdeburgo.

The season ends on Sunday, February 18, 2018 with Gaetano Donizetti’s Maria di Rohan, featuring soprano Marina Costa-Jackson in the title role, tenor Norman Reinhardt as Riccardo, baritone Lester Lynch as Enrico, and mezzo-soprano Ginger Costa-Jackson as Gondì. All four will make their WCO debuts.

All performances will once again take place at Lisner Auditorium on the campus of George Washington University. Season subscriptions will be on sale starting in mid-May 2017 and can be purchased by calling (202) 364-5826 or online here.

WCO Welcomes New Executive Director

            The Board of Directors of Washington Concert Opera is pleased to announce the appointment of Caryn Kerstetter Reeves as its new Executive Director, effective August 22, 2016.  Ms. Reeves comes to WCO from The Glimmerglass Festival where she has served as Associate Director of Institutional Advancement since October 2013.

            “The Board believes Ms. Reeves brings wide-ranging skills and experience to the Executive Director position which will greatly enhance WCO’s marketing, development, artistic and business operations.  We are excited about Washington Concert Opera’s future with Ms. Reeves at the helm and look forward to her leadership in maintaining WCO’s long-held reputation for artistic excellence,” said Melissa Rhea, WCO President and chair of the Board.

             Antony Walker, WCO Artistic Director, said: "I'm looking forward to working with Caryn.  She will bring sound development experience, a thorough knowledge of opera and performing arts organizations, and a thoughtful, confident and youthful personality to WCO."

            Caryn Reeves said:  "I am greatly looking forward to my time with Washington Concert Opera, an organization I’ve long admired for its compelling musical programming and performances of the highest caliber.  It is especially exciting to join the company for its 30th Anniversary Season, and I plan to continue and expand upon the excellent work that has already been done over these past three decades.  It will be wonderful to celebrate with all of WCO's friends and supporters on September 18, which I know will be a memorable evening!"

            Prior to her work at Glimmerglass, Ms. Reeves served for two years as Development Officer for New York City Opera.  Ms. Reeves has a Master of Music in Voice Degree from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and holds a Graduate Diploma in Opera from the Royal College of Music in London.  She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Music from Eastman School of Music. 

            Ms. Reeves will succeed Ursula Kuhar as WCO’s Executive Director.  Dr. Kuhar, who is returning to academia, has provided WCO with significant growth opportunities and expanded community outreach during her tenure at WCO.  She will be leaving July 29, 2016 to return to her alma mater, Indiana University, where she has accepted the position of Lecturer of Arts Administration in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

            WCO is also pleased to announce the promotion of Adrianne Eby to the position of Chief Operating Officer, effective as of July 1, 2016.  Ms. Eby, who has been with WCO for over three years, will provide management continuity during the executive transition process.  We welcome her leadership in the commencement of WCO's 30th Anniversary Season - and Antony Walker's 15th anniversary as WCO Artistic Director - in September, and will be sorry to lose her contributions to our management team when she departs for the Boston area in the fall.

            President Melissa Rhea adds "We are excited about our 30th Anniversary Season, and honoring Antony on his 15th anniversary, and we are confident in our new management team as we move forward.”

2015-16 Season in Review

What an incredible season for WCO!

From the bel canto brilliance of Rossini's Semiramide to the drama of Donizetti's La Favorite, and everything in between, we have had a magnificent year.

Explore some of our favorite moments--on and off stage--below.

Because of you, we are able to present critically acclaimed performances of rare operatic masterpieces, be an integral part of the DC community and school programs, and champion emerging and established artists. Consider making a gift today to help us continue and grow our mission and vision based programming and initiatives.

Don't miss out on next season, celebrating our 30th Anniversary and 15 years under the artistic leadership of Maestro Antony Walker. Subscribe today and we look forward to seeing you at the opera!

Don't miss Strauss' Guntram on WETA this Saturday!

 Soprano Marjorie Owens and tenor Robert Dean Smith in Strauss'  Guntram , March 2015.

Soprano Marjorie Owens and tenor Robert Dean Smith in Strauss' Guntram, March 2015.

Tune into Classical WETA (90.9FM) Opera House for a broadcast of our 2015 performance of Strauss' first opera, Guntram, this Saturday, May 21 at 1pm. Relive this incredible performance starring Marjorie Owens (returning next season as the title role in Beethoven's Leonore), Robert Dean Smith, Tom Fox, and Wei Wu, under the baton of WCO Conductor and Artistic Director, Antony Walker. 

You can also stream this broadcast online here.

2016 Gala is SOLD OUT!

Our 2016 Gala, A Night at the Opera, is officially sold out!

In addition to a night of cocktails, dinner, music, and honoring arts patrons Elizabeth & Jan Lodal, there will also be a silent auction, with items ranging from artwork to vacation homes around the world. All proceeds will benefit WCO's artistic and education programming. Click here to check out these wonderful items up for bidding!



Announcing Our 2016 Gala Artists!

We are pleased to announce the artists for WCO's 2016 Gala: A Night at the Opera, on Thursday, May 12 at the Carnegie Institution for Science!

  Joanna Parisi                                                     Nicholas Pallesen

Joanna Parisi                                                     Nicholas Pallesen

Soprano Joanna Parisi has been applauded for her thrilling voice and acting ability in opera houses around the world. In March 2016, she was named one of WQXR Classical's "Forty Under Forty: Next Generation of Great Opera Singers". In 2015, she performed the title role in Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia with LoftOpera and was praised for her "big, spinto voice with confident flexibility" (NY Observer) and "scintillating performance" (The New York Times). Recent engagements include Margherita in Mefistofele with both Théâtre du Passage and Theatre Equilibre, Micaëla in Carmen with Teatro Antico di Taormina, and Leonora in Il Trovatore at Ópera de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. An active recording artist, she can be heard on the Capriccio label's album, Verdi Lieder, with tenor Ramón Vargas. 

Baritone Nicholas Pallesen is quickly establishing himself as one of the most promising talents of his generation and has been praised for his "authority and tonal beauty," "handsome, stylish singing," "depth of feeling," and his "formidable portrayal in bearing and voice." This season, he returns to New Orleans Opera as Falke in Die Fledermaus, the Metropolitan Opera in various roles, English National Opera, and makes debuts with City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Oper Köln. Pallesen is the winner of the Giulio Gari, Sullivan Foundation, and Opera Index competitions, and is an alumnus of the Juilliard Opera Center and apprentice programs at Santa Fe Opera and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. 

For more information and tickets, please call 202-364-5826. We look forward to seeing you there!