By Anne Midgette
For the third year in a row, the Washington National Opera offered free opera at Nationals Stadium yesterday afternoon with a live simulcast of Verdi's "Ballo in maschera" beamed from the Kennedy Center to the stadium Jumbotron. As part of its buildup to the event, WNO held a baseball-related contest, challenging all comers to write new, opera-themed lyrics to "Take me out to the ball game."
This yielded more than 40 entries, many of them strikingly funny. "Plácido was a tenor/NPR says he's aged./Now he sings as a baritone," one entry began. Another continued "If all the singers are singing well/I don't care if they end up in hell."
But several entries divulged their true charm only in the Youtube videos that accompanied them. Gale Martin won first prize (a gift certificate to Target, one of the event's sponsors, plus two tickets to "Madame Butterfly" in the spring) with this soulful rendition of "Take me out to the opera":
Honorable mention, though, really should have gone to this entry, not only for its visual acuity but for its incorporation of an appropriately broad range of cultural references. If only they had found a way to work in Plácido Flamingo.