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Wolf Trap Opera Turns 40

See my review of the 40th anniversary gala concert for Wolf Trap Opera in The Washingtonian:

Wolf Trap Opera Turned 40, August 26:

Each summer the Wolf Trap Opera Company stages high-quality productions of major operas for its cadre of young singers. Over the years, the best of these apprentice vocalists have gone on to important careers, which is one of the best parts of attending their performances: to see and hear great talent in the making. Wolf Trap Opera took stock of its 40-year history on Wednesday night, with a gala concert of opera’s greatest hits, pairing some of this year’s new talent with some of the best who got their start in America’s National Park for the Performing Arts. Like most events of this type, it had some memorable moments among others that were less so, and it ran too long with speeches, mostly entertaining but too many in number. (At least at an awards dinner, they serve you food and wine.) If two of the scheduled singers, mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe and tenor Carl Tanner, had not canceled, it would have gone on even longer than three hours.

At the top of the roster was tenor Lawrence Brownlee, who brought the house down with a gutsy rendition of “Ah, mes amis!” from Donizetti’s La Fille du Régiment, those famous nine high Cs all on pitch and laser-focused. He also paired off with baritone Richard Paul Fink, heard earlier this summer as an impressive Wozzeck at Santa Fe Opera, in the famous duet from Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers, “Au fond du temple saint.” Bass-baritone Alan Held was a brooding, granite-solid Wotan leading the gods into Valhalla (from the end of Wagner’s Das Rheingold), as well as a charming Leporello in the catalogue aria from Mozart’s Don Giovanni, played with an iPad highlighting 1003, the number of the Don’s conquests in Spain. Held’s Scarpia in next month’s Tosca, at Washington National Opera, will certainly be worth hearing, as will -- if the planets align correctly -- the return of his Wotan in WNO’s first complete Ring cycle. [Continue reading]
Anne Midgette, At Wolf Trap Opera gala, enough star wattage to power operahouse 40 more years (Washington Post, August 26)

Susan Dormady Eisenberg, As Wolf Trap Opera Marks 40th Year, 14 Star Alumni to Return for Benefit Concert (Huffington Post, August 16)

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