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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    La Bohème at Washington National Opera

    La Bohème, dramma lirico in quattro quadri, sung in Italian (premiered at the Teatro Regio, Turin, February 1st, 1896)

    Music by Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924)
    Libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica, after Henry Murger's Scènes de la Vie de Bohème.

    New production, Washington National Opera - this review is of the matinee on Saturday November 15, 2014

    Washington National Opera Orchestra, conducted by Phillippe Auguin
    Washington National Opera Chorus, Children's Chorus, and Dancers
    Chorus Master Steven Gathman; Children's Chorus Master Will Breytspraak

    A production by Jo Davies, with original stage direction by Peter Kazaras
    Set Designer Lee Savage
    Costume Designer Jennifer Moeller
    Lighting Designer Bruno Poet
    Choreographer Ben Wright

    Cast

    Rodolfo - Saimir Pirgu
    Mimì - Corinne Winters
    Musetta - Alyson Cambridge
    Marcello - John Chest
    Colline - Joshua Bloom
    Schaunard - Steven LaBrie
    Benoit & Alcindoro - Donato DiStefano
    Other comprimarios - Adam Caughey, James Shaffran, Andrew McLaughlin

    ---------

    I think I'm in love with Washington National Opera. I just had the most perfect opera trip, and I'm really impressed with the company, the hospitality, the staff, the production, and the cast.

    One year ago I interviewed Francesca Zambello at Glimmerglass, and since she directs that company but has also accepted relatively recently the position of Artistic Director at Washington National Opera, I asked her about this company that for the last several years, shall we say, has struggled to present high quality opera.

    Well, not anymore. When I asked her about it, she said "just you wait and see; I'll be fixing the company; there will be good shows at WNO." Indeed, Francesca has fulfilled her promise. This was an astonishing Bohème, and if the sample is indicative of things to come, WNO will rightfully take its seat as a prominent national company that will contribute very meaningfully to the operatic environment in the United States. It was about time. After all, it is located in our nation's capital, and it proudly displays the word 'National' in its name.

    I left the headquarters at 2:45 AM and drove to Washington DC, hoping to beat the traffic on a Friday (I had some business to conduct there in the morning). The expected driving time of 4 hours 15' got an extra 30' of traffic jam - getting there at 7 AM still didn't save me from some congestion, but by 7:30 I got to the Capital Hilton, two blocks from the White House. I highly recommend it: very attentive and kind staff; they go out of their way to please the guests, and the rooms and lounges are very comfortable.

    With the business part efficiently out of the way, Countess and I headed to the Kennedy Center - by such a beautiful day although bitterly cold, we walked 1.3 miles from the hotel in 30 minutes. Right next door to the Center in the Watergate complex, we stopped at Campono for an Italian lunch. This Bob Kinkead restaurant is soldiering on while Ancora next door, owned by the same chef and more upscale, is closed for renovations. No worries, since rustic food at Campono was simply delicious - very gourmet pizza, as good as the ones we had in Naples and Capri with a glass of Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, and phenomenal gelato.

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    The restaurant played opera tracks on their sound system. From there, we headed to the Kennedy Center to meet the very helpful and friendly Michael Solomon, Senior Press Representative, whom I knew from Glimmerglass and Santa Fe.

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    Michael took us to the newly renovated Russian Lounge, where I was scheduled to interview soprano Alyson Cambridge and to meet Francesca Zambello again.

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    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); November 23rd, 2014 at 05:31 PM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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