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!

Celebrating Music In Our Schools Month

March in Washington is marked by many wonderful events: the end of winter and emergence of spring, the full bloom of cherry blossoms, and several WCO education and outreach programs that celebrate Music In Our Schools Month (MIOSM).

Established in 1985 by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), MIOSM is an annual celebration in the month of March that engages teachers, students, arts organizations, artists, and communities from around the country in promoting the benefits of music education. As a former middle school music teacher and professor, I knew WCO would play a role in this month-long initiative, working with students of all ages in a variety of “classrooms.”

I kicked off MIOSM by meeting with university groups visiting Washington for Americans for the Arts’ annual Arts Advocacy Day: one from Ohio State University and the other from Southern Utah University. Both groups were made up of artists and aspiring arts administrators. We discussed topics ranging from diversity in opera to new models of engagement and fundraising. To say these students impressed me with their knowledge and passion for the field is an understatement.

  Clockwise (from top left): Southern Utah University, Ohio State University, University of Wisconsin--Eau Claire.

Clockwise (from top left): Southern Utah University, Ohio State University, University of Wisconsin--Eau Claire.

A week later, I headed to New York City to work with students on a Spring Break Arts Immersion trip from the Department of Music and Theatre Arts at the University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire. We spent time together discussing the fundamentals of running an opera company in today’s economic and social climates, repertoire, and arts entrepreneurship. We also enjoyed a show at the Metropolitan Opera (Donizetti’s Don Pasquale), museum visits, and an evening of jazz at Birdland--a quintessential New York weekend!

  Sporting our Papagena and Papageno masks at ITS Intersession.

Sporting our Papagena and Papageno masks at ITS Intersession.

I went back into the traditional classroom last week for a new venture with one of our partners, Inspired Teaching School, called Intersession. Intersession is a four-day program where students learn about a subject not commonly addressed in the curriculum. In collaboration with the school’s music teacher, I had the pleasure of working with kindergarten, first, and second graders learning about musicianship and opera, culminating in a performance of “Papageno! Papagena!” from Mozart’s The Magic Flute. It was a tremendous joy to work with these young musicians, and I think I found some WCO artists in the making!

The arts feed us on so many levels and fuel us in so many ways. They know no bounds and break down barriers unlike any other discipline. Opera is not only the marriage of breathtaking music and moving stories, it’s exciting, diverse, and more dynamic than ever before. I know through this year’s MIOSM activities, and other events throughout the year, WCO will continue to connect with our communities and extend our impact beyond the concert hall. 

Dr. Ursula M. Kuhar
Executive Director         

More reviews for our performance of La Favorite

  Joelle Harvey (Ines), Kate Lindsey (Leonor) and Javier Arrey (King Alphonse). Photo credit: Don Lassell.

Joelle Harvey (Ines), Kate Lindsey (Leonor) and Javier Arrey (King Alphonse). Photo credit: Don Lassell.

THE VOICE had arrived, and (Mr. Arrey’s) rendition of his opening number “Leonor, viens!” with its carefully modulated phrasing and endless legato lines, as well as the complete domination of the cabaletta’s high tessitura, virtually stopped the show.
— Daniel Vasquez, New Outpost

To read Mr. Vasquez's full review, click here. 

Reviews are in for La Favorite!

Philip Kennicott's review: click here to read.

Lindsey’s legato and pianissimo are magnificent, and she shapes lines almost but never quite to the point of fussiness. This was a concert performance, so she wasn’t called on to act physically, yet she acts through the voice with absolute clarity and devastating effect. She was the focus of the evening, but when singing together with the tenor Randall Bills (as Fernand) or baritone Javier Arrey (as King Alphonse), she was also a spur to her partners, drawing out more confidence, more detail and more attention to nuance from both singers.
Certainly the climax was Lindsey’s delivery of the opera’s showpiece aria, “O mon Fernand,” showing her musical intelligence as she marshaled her resources and found her own way into a scene that tempts one to over-sing at every turn and can easily shred a lighter voice. She sang it gorgeously and brought down the house.
The leadership of Washington Concert Opera’s Artistic Director and Conductor Antony Walker reliably brings the excitement of staged opera to the concert setting, never more so than in this performance of La favorite.
Chilean baritone Javier Arrey had a smooth, powerful tone over his entire range as Alphonse, capitalizing on the promise he showed as a Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist with Washington National Opera three years ago.