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Opera? Oh, Sure, Ted Lerner's Game

Washington National Opera board chairman Jane Cafritz and Ted Lerner at the gala dinner celebrating "The Barber of Seville" on Saturday at the Organization of American States. (Russell Hirshon for the WNO)

The Washington National Opera has acquired two new fans: Ted and Annette Lerner. The owners of the other Washington Nationals -- the baseball team -- were the star attractions at the opera's season opener of "The Barber of Seville" on Saturday night.

For the second year, the WNO offered a free, live simulcast of the performance at Nationals Park. More than 19,000 people -- including 5,000 members of the military and their families -- sat in the stands and outfield to see the comic opera on the park's giant screen; the Lerners watched from the owner's box, then changed into formal wear for the $1,000-a-ticket gala dinner (with Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sam Alito, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, and former homeland security head Michael Chertoff) at the Organization of America States.

"It was fantastic!" said Lerner with a grin. "You could hear a pin drop." His wife was impressed -- and a tiny bit surprised: "Usually he says, 'Wake me up when it's over,' but he really liked it."

By The Reliable Source  |  September 14, 2009; 1:03 AM ET
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