Washington National Opera to Offer September Simulcast Free to 17 Schools and Colleges

Classic Arts News   Washington National Opera to Offer September Simulcast Free to 17 Schools and Colleges
Washington National Opera is extending its free September 23 simulcast of Puccini's La Bohme to 17 universities, colleges and high schools across the country.

The live simulcast of Bohme, already planned for the National Mall in Washington, D.C., will also be screened at select movie theaters in the region as well as such educational institutions as the University of Virginia, Princeton, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Wellesley College, Rice University, the University of Washington and high schools on both coasts.

"We, at Washington National Opera, have had a longtime commitment to making opera accessible and meaningful to the broader D.C. community. It is so exciting to announce our continuing efforts to make opera more accessible — both locally and on a national scale," said company general director Plšcido Domingo in a statement.

The Bohme performance, transmitted direct from the Kennedy Center Opera House. is directed by Mariusz Trelinski and stars Adriana Damato as MimÐ and Vittorio Grigolo as Rodolfo. Emmanuel Villaume will conduct the Washington National Opera Orchestra and Chorus.

The simulcast is similar to the Metropolitan Opera's recent broadcasts in national and international movie theaters. But Kenneth Feinberg, WNO president, told The Washington Post that "Unlike the Met, WNO is more interested in reaching out to students than to the general public — although residents in local venues may very well be invited to attend by local school officials. Also, the simulcast will be free — no $18 ticket admission."

According to the Post, the company will not charge the schools for the simulcast; the approximately $15,000 cost per institution will be covered by WNO trustees.

WNO has previously simulcast two operas to the National Mall: Porgy and Bess in 2005 and Madama Butterfly in November 2006. (Cold and wet weather for the latter prompted the move to September for this year's presentation.)

Other new initiatives by the Washington National Opera include a partnership with XM Satellite Radio to broadcast WNO performances; a "Welcome to Opera" concert of popular arias and overtures on October 5, conducted by Domingo; a "Family Look-In" on November 10 featuring Mozart's Don Giovanni (also conducted by Domingo), and a holiday opera, Hansel and Gretel. That last project, which will feature current and former artists from the company's Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, will mark the beginning of a new partnership with Washington, D.C.'s historic Lincoln Theatre.

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