From the Desk of Artistic Director Jonathan Pell – DC I

by Jonathan Pell

It is cold and rainy in Washington DC and none of the famous cherry trees are in bloom yet (although the annual festival is next week) so I am disappointed.

Saturday afternoon when I arrived I heard six of the eight singers in the Washington National Opera’s young artist program, and there were two of them who really stood out for me--a tenor named Yuri Gorodetski from Belarus and baritone Norman Garrett, who received his undergraduate degree from Texas Tech. It was really great to hear how Norman has progressed since winning the People’s Choice Award in the 2011 Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition and hearing him again last summer at the Glimmerglass Festival.

Yesterday I went to a performance of MANON LESCAUT, starring Patricia Racette, who was radiant in the title role. It was her first production of this rarely performed Puccini opera, and she was terrific. As her brother, baritone Giorgio Caoduro, who made his American debut as “Figaro” in the Dallas Opera’s 2006 production of BARBER OF SEVILLE, was also very good, and it was wonderful to meet his wife and 11 month old son, Enrico.

Tonight I will hear a performance of a new production of NORMA, starring Angela Meade and Dolora Zajick, and then back to Dallas in the morning.

I should also mention one other thing.

The cover of the new brochure promoting Washington Opera’s next season, much to my delight, is a full page photograph of our production of MOBY-DICK, which will be the highlight of WNO’s 2014 winter season. I couldn’t have been more pleased!

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