The tour, called "Great American Voices Military Base Tour: Unforgettable Melodies From Opera and Broadway" and produced in a partnership with the department of defense, will involve 24 professional opera companies performing at 39 military bases. The program includes excerpts from operas by Mozart, Verdi, Puccini, Gounod, Copland, Bernstein, and others.
Performers include such top-tier companies as Washington National Opera, Seattle Opera, and Lyric Opera of Chicago, and regional companies including Anchorage Opera, Kentucky Opera Association, and Rimrock Opera Company.
Great American Voices will launch with a performance at the Smithsonian Art Museum's Renwick Gallery in Washington D.C. today. Soprano Harolyn Blackwell will perform, as will singers from Washington National Opera's Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program.
This is the third NEA program for soldiers. Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience sends writers to the bases and created an archive of writing by soldiers and an anthology forthcoming in 2006. Shakespeare in American Communities Military Base Tour brought performances of Shakespeare's plays to 18 military bases.