Washington National Opera Begins Season With Bart‹k/Puccini Double-Bill | Playbill

Classic Arts News Washington National Opera Begins Season With Bart‹k/Puccini Double-Bill
It's tragedy followed by comedy in the nation's capital, as Washington National Opera opens its 2006-07 season at the Kennedy Center with a double-bill of Bart‹k's Duke Bluebeard's Castle and Puccini's Gianni Schicchi. Samuel Ramey takes the title roles in both operas, with Denyce Graves as the ill-fated Judith in the Bart‹k. Film director William Friedkin, best known for The French Connection and The Exorcist, directs; Giovanni Reggioli conducts the seven performances from September 16 to October 7.
On September 21, Washington National Opera presents the North American premiere of Nicholas Maw's Sophie's Choice, based on the same William Styron novel that was adapted into the award-winning film starring Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline. The opera has been revised since its December 2002 world premiere at the Royal Opera House in London, but the cast remains the same for this run: Angelika Kirchschlager as Sophie, Rod Gilfry as Nathan, Gordon Gietz as Stingo and Dale Duesing as the Narrator. Markus Bothe directs the staging, and Marin Alsop conducts the six performances through October 9.

Other new productions in Washington this season include Wagner's Die Walk‹re, Janšcek's Jenufa and Verdi's Macbeth.

Die Walk‹re, scheduled for March and April 2007, is the second in the WNO's ongoing Ring cycle (now, according to the company, a co-production with San Francisco Opera). Francesca Zambello is the director, WNO music director Heniz Fricke conducts, and company general director Plšcido Domingo sings Siegmund, his signature Wagner role.

WNO performs Jenufa for the first time in May 2007. The production, shared with English National Opera and Houston Grand Opera, is directed by David Alden; Jir‹ Belohlšvek, the incoming BBC Symphony music director, conducts. The cast includes Patricia Racette and Catherine Malfitano.

Macbeth, directed by Paolo Miccich, closes the 2006-07 season in June 2007. Lado Ataneli and Paoletta Marrocu star as the murderous royal couple; Renato Palumbo, named music director of Deutsche Opera Berlin last year, is the conductor.

Revivals include Mariusz Trelinski's staging of Puccini's Madama Butterfly (November), conducted by Domingo, and Donizetti's La Fille du regiment starring Stefania Bonfadelli and Jos_ Bros (March and April 2007).

Information on and tickets for 2006-07 performances at Washington National Opera are available at www.dc-opera.org.

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