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By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | September 8, 2013
Celebrated soprano Deborah Voigt has withdrawn from Washington National Opera's season-opening production of Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde" a week before the first performance. She will be replaced by Ireene Theorin on Sept. 15, 18, 21, and 24, and by Alwyn Mellor for the final performance Sept. 27. Here's Voigt's statement, released by WNO: "Returning to a role that I love but haven't sung in a number of seasons, and encountering its unique challenges, has caused me to reconsider keeping it in my repertoire,.
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ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | March 24, 2014
Comic operas don't come more endearing than Donizetti's "L'elisir d'amore"  ("The Elixir of Love"). The humor in this rustic tale, which involves a lovesick guy buying a potion (just plain old wine) from a snake-oil salesman to melt the heart of an indifferent woman, still has good miles left on it, as Washington National Opera's lively revival at the Kennedy Center reconfirms. But the tender side of the work is what ultimately counts the most, and that's what this production brings out with particular effectiveness.
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ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | May 7, 2011
Placido Domingo, as usual, is in full multitask mode as he wraps up his 15-year tenure as general director of Washington National Opera. The famed Spanish tenor has seven more performances to sing as Oreste in the company's first-ever production of Gluck's "Iphigenie en Tauride," which opened last Friday. He'll also switch gears to conduct five performances of Donizetti's "Don Pasquale," which opens this Friday. At 70, Domingo could be pursuing an enviable, pampered life of leisure, but that's a thoroughly alien concept to him. Besides, he gives every indication of thriving on packed schedules like the one he has this month in Washington.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | October 14, 2013
If it is your destiny to be anywhere near the Kennedy Center during the next couple of weeks, check out Washington National Opera's new production of Verdi's "La forza del destino. " The force of it may surprise you -- and quite possibly thrill, confound, amuse or annoy you, too. You will certainly not be unaffected. I can well imagine opera fans raising any number of objections to director Francesca Zambello's concept (I've got one or two of them myself). But at Saturday night's opener, I found it easy to jump onto the eventful ride and let the qualms slip away, especially since the performance, featuring notable company debuts onstage and in the pit, was so electric.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | May 9, 2013
Time was when American opera companies considered musicals as suspect artifacts from another planet, hardly worthy of serious attention -- not even on a par with the operettas those companies would occasionally stage when they needed a box office lift. Bit by bit, thinking has changed at a lot of places, and a welcome thing, too. Washington National Opera has enthusiastically embraced this broader view, offering an inspired staging of the path-breaking 1927 musical "Show Boat," a co-production with the Lyric Opera of Chicago (where it debuted last year)
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,tim.smith@baltsun.com | November 6, 2008
"Everyone abhors me," sings one of history's most notoriously cruel women early on in Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia, "and yet I wasn't born for such a sad fate." That may not be enough to make her a totally sympathetic character, especially since she does a whole lot of poisoning in the last scene. But Renee Fleming offers a valiant, persuasive portrayal of the conflicted Lucrezia in Washington National Opera's new production of this rarely staged work, a production that yielded dynamic musical and visual results on opening night at the Kennedy Center.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | March 24, 2014
Comic operas don't come more endearing than Donizetti's "L'elisir d'amore"  ("The Elixir of Love"). The humor in this rustic tale, which involves a lovesick guy buying a potion (just plain old wine) from a snake-oil salesman to melt the heart of an indifferent woman, still has good miles left on it, as Washington National Opera's lively revival at the Kennedy Center reconfirms. But the tender side of the work is what ultimately counts the most, and that's what this production brings out with particular effectiveness.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | September 17, 2013
If we can believe the story -- and, really, what stories about this  megalomaniacal guy can't we believe? -- Wagner called "Tristan und Isolde" a "wonder," and declared: "I shall never be able to understand how I could have written anything like it. " There's still something dismaying about this transcendent fusion of music and drama, propelled by revolutionary harmony, heated by a rare, poetic urgency. There's something a little dismaying, too, about Washington National Opera's season-opening production of "Tristan," one of its greatest efforts the company has made in the past dozen or so years.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | October 14, 2013
If it is your destiny to be anywhere near the Kennedy Center during the next couple of weeks, check out Washington National Opera's new production of Verdi's "La forza del destino. " The force of it may surprise you -- and quite possibly thrill, confound, amuse or annoy you, too. You will certainly not be unaffected. I can well imagine opera fans raising any number of objections to director Francesca Zambello's concept (I've got one or two of them myself). But at Saturday night's opener, I found it easy to jump onto the eventful ride and let the qualms slip away, especially since the performance, featuring notable company debuts onstage and in the pit, was so electric.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | May 12, 2011
If opera had somehow become so unfashionable, so unthinkable that no one dared create another one after 1779, we'd still be well off, for that would mean we'd still have an incredible work from that year — Christoph Willibald Gluck's "Iphigenie en Tauride" ("Iphigenia in Tauris"). This fusion of exquisite music and telling dramatic substance, based on ancient Greek tales involving the ill-fated family of Agamemnon, has in recent years been attracting fresh attention. Helping to fuel the attention is the fact that tenor Placido Domingo added the role of Oreste from "Iphigenie" to his unprecedentedly extensive repertoire.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | September 17, 2013
If we can believe the story -- and, really, what stories about this  megalomaniacal guy can't we believe? -- Wagner called "Tristan und Isolde" a "wonder," and declared: "I shall never be able to understand how I could have written anything like it. " There's still something dismaying about this transcendent fusion of music and drama, propelled by revolutionary harmony, heated by a rare, poetic urgency. There's something a little dismaying, too, about Washington National Opera's season-opening production of "Tristan," one of its greatest efforts the company has made in the past dozen or so years.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | September 8, 2013
Celebrated soprano Deborah Voigt has withdrawn from Washington National Opera's season-opening production of Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde" a week before the first performance. She will be replaced by Ireene Theorin on Sept. 15, 18, 21, and 24, and by Alwyn Mellor for the final performance Sept. 27. Here's Voigt's statement, released by WNO: "Returning to a role that I love but haven't sung in a number of seasons, and encountering its unique challenges, has caused me to reconsider keeping it in my repertoire,.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | May 9, 2013
Time was when American opera companies considered musicals as suspect artifacts from another planet, hardly worthy of serious attention -- not even on a par with the operettas those companies would occasionally stage when they needed a box office lift. Bit by bit, thinking has changed at a lot of places, and a welcome thing, too. Washington National Opera has enthusiastically embraced this broader view, offering an inspired staging of the path-breaking 1927 musical "Show Boat," a co-production with the Lyric Opera of Chicago (where it debuted last year)
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | May 12, 2011
If opera had somehow become so unfashionable, so unthinkable that no one dared create another one after 1779, we'd still be well off, for that would mean we'd still have an incredible work from that year — Christoph Willibald Gluck's "Iphigenie en Tauride" ("Iphigenia in Tauris"). This fusion of exquisite music and telling dramatic substance, based on ancient Greek tales involving the ill-fated family of Agamemnon, has in recent years been attracting fresh attention. Helping to fuel the attention is the fact that tenor Placido Domingo added the role of Oreste from "Iphigenie" to his unprecedentedly extensive repertoire.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | May 7, 2011
Placido Domingo, as usual, is in full multitask mode as he wraps up his 15-year tenure as general director of Washington National Opera. The famed Spanish tenor has seven more performances to sing as Oreste in the company's first-ever production of Gluck's "Iphigenie en Tauride," which opened last Friday. He'll also switch gears to conduct five performances of Donizetti's "Don Pasquale," which opens this Friday. At 70, Domingo could be pursuing an enviable, pampered life of leisure, but that's a thoroughly alien concept to him. Besides, he gives every indication of thriving on packed schedules like the one he has this month in Washington.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,tim.smith@baltsun.com | November 6, 2008
"Everyone abhors me," sings one of history's most notoriously cruel women early on in Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia, "and yet I wasn't born for such a sad fate." That may not be enough to make her a totally sympathetic character, especially since she does a whole lot of poisoning in the last scene. But Renee Fleming offers a valiant, persuasive portrayal of the conflicted Lucrezia in Washington National Opera's new production of this rarely staged work, a production that yielded dynamic musical and visual results on opening night at the Kennedy Center.
FEATURES
By TIM SMITH and TIM SMITH,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | March 27, 2006
Richard Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung - about 15 hours of music and drama, divided into four chapters - remains not just a pinnacle of Western art, but a continual source of fresh inspiration. Hardly frozen in a world of ancient myth, the Ring cycle has the curious ability to speak in different ways to different people at different times in different places. It's a living thing, which makes it all the more magnetic. WNO's `Das Rheingold' 7:30 p.m. Thursday and five more performances through April 10 at Kennedy Center, Virginia and New Hampshire avenues N.W. Tickets $45 to $190 (higher for box seats)
FEATURES
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,Sun music critic | May 24, 2007
Next September, a Washington National Opera performance of Puccini's evergreen La Boheme at the Kennedy Center will be seen simultaneously by audiences at high schools and colleges around the country, as well as outdoors on the Mall and in two D.C.-area movie theaters -- all free of charge. "Everybody is trying revolutionary ways to bring opera to more people," Placido Domingo, the famed tenor and general director of the WNO, said yesterday in an interview at the Kennedy Center. "This is terrific.
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