Diva Delights

Classic Arts Features   Diva Delights
Washington National Opera's 2012 _2013season features a dynamic group of strongfemale characters with compelling musical anddramatic stories, portrayed by outstandingsingers: it is a season of divas.


The season opens with Anna Bolena, Donizetti's moving retelling of Anne Boleyn's historic tragedy, September 15 _October 6 in the Opera House. The golden age of Italian bel canto opera shines with dark reflections when a queen falls from grace as her unfaithful king plots to bring his mistress to the throne. Condemned to death by King Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn accepts her fate and tumbles into madness as she awaits her unjust execution.

In her role debut, American soprano Sondra Radvanovsky portrays the wronged Queen Anne in a striking production that also features Shalva Mukeria as Riccardo, Sonia Ganassi as Giovanna, Oren Gradus as Enrico VIII, and Claudia Huckle as Smeton, and is directed by Stephen Lawless and conducted by Antonello Allemandi. Sung in Italian with English supertitles.

In Don Giovanni, widely regarded as one of the greatest operas ever composed, Mozart weaves the tale of the legendary rake Don Juan into a comically light-hearted (yet deadly serious) musical masterpiece, September 20 _October 9 in the Opera House. With more than a thousand seductions behind him and no end in sight, Don Giovanni becomes increasingly reckless as he descends into excess and immorality. But when his antics turn fatal and unrepentant, the women he has discarded seek revenge and it is ultimately served up by a hellish supernatural force.

Powerhouse Russian bass Ildar Abdrazakov appears in the title role for this WNO revival of John Pascoe's darkly passionate production, conducted by WNO Music Director Philippe Auguin. The cast also features Meagan Miller as Donna Anna, Barbara Frittoli as Donna Elvira, Juan Francisco Gatell as Don Ottavio, Andrew Foster-Williams as Leporello, Veronica Cangemi as Zerlina, and Aleksey Bogdanov as Masetto. Sung in Italian with English supertitles.

The Celebrity Concert Series brings some of today's most in-demand singers in recital with the WNO Orchestra. Internationally renowned opera star Nathan Gunn "commands an operatic baritone whose mighty heft and richness confer an outsize authority on everything he touches" (The New York Times). A distinguished concert performer as well, Nathan Gunn makes his WNO debut on September 23 in an exciting concert of opera favorites with the WNO Orchestra, conducted by Ted Sperling in the Opera House.

As a preview to her performance in the title role of Norma next March, rising star Angela Meade makes her WNO debut November 5 with a diva program of arias in recital. With piano accompaniment by Bradley Moore in the intimate Terrace Theater, the program includes Norma's famous aria "Casta Diva." The "lavishly gifted young soprano" (The New Yorker) made her professional debut four years ago and has already become recognized as one of the outstanding vocalists of her generation.

For information about subscribing to the 2012 _2013 Washington National Opera season, please call (202) 416-8500 or visit kennedy-center.org/subscriptions.

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