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Nine Months Later: WNO Completes Three Rousing Cycles of Wagner's Ring Cycle

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After a lot of international travel and a hiatus from attending many performances, I finally got back into the Kennedy Center for Washington National Opera's production of Der Ring des Nibelungen, the company's (and city's) first full cycle. I was happy to be able to attend this momentous event, and found the performances, direction, and overall concept gripping. I attended Cycle II. As I've said it similar situations before, this review will necessarily be briefer on each topic than some of my reviews, but hopefully will cover ground across the cycle and provide an overall perspective.


Der Ring des Nibelungen
Director: Francesca Zambello
Conductor: Philippe Auguin
Set Designer: Michael Yeargan
Costume Designer: Catherine Zuber
Lighting Designer: Mark McCullough
Projection Designers: S. Katy Tucker and Jan Hartley
Movement Director: Denni Sayers

Key
*WNO debut
‡ Current Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist
± Former Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist
Listed in order of vocal appearance

Das Rheingo…

Opera On Two Continents

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Over the past two weeks I had the wonderful opportunity to return to Vienna, where I studied in 2011 and posted many of the reviews on this blog. While I was there, I attended three more operas at the Wiener Staatsoper, bringing my standing room total there to 29 operas (and one Volksoper opera - for 30 standing room operas in Vienna): Puccini's La boheme, Massenet's Werther, and Strauss' Elektra. All three were excellent, particularly the latter two. Upon my return to the United States last week, I immediately was at a performance of the revised version of Philip Glass' Appomattox. This performance was also quite interesting for me, as it is the second Glass opera I have seen and very different from his Satyagraha in London. As a bonus: a quick review of a concert by The Tenors (formerly The Canadian Tenors) performing one man down. Reviews will be shorter than a standard review, but the performances raised a few interesting points I want to record.

ViennaLa bohemeGiac…

Classical Holidays in Washington, D.C.: A Beginner's Guide

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I composed this article, in its original format below, to introduce a different audience to the basics of classical music in D.C. this holiday season. In reality, the recommendations below are probably applicable anywhere, just with different specific groups and performances involved. For the experienced reader, this article may not add much, but it's a good revue of what's out there and will bring joy to anyone, classical music lover or not.
The D.C. area offers many options across genres for classical music around the holiday season. Perhaps it bears an important note that the classical music tradition, coming as it did out of Europe, is tied largely to Christian traditions. Nevertheless, the music borne from this background offers both moving and delighting evenings built around stories of universal human value.


Perhaps the most iconic classical piece of the season is Tchaikovsky’s ballet The Nutcracker, replete with charming music that has extended far beyond the worlds of…