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National Opera Week

Today marks the start of the first National Opera Week. The NEA Opera Awards, which will be conferred in a ceremony tomorrow night, mark the start of a week of opera-related events at companies all around the country, from discounted tickets to open rehearsals to free concerts. A full listing, searchable by state, is available on Opera America’s website. Washington National Opera events include an open orchestra reading of “The Marriage of Figaro” at the Millennium Stage; a recital by the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists; and an introduction to opera for kids; while the Washington Concert Opera is offering half-price tickets to its Sunday performance of "Faust." (See the above link for details.) Edited to add: The Washington Concert Opera wishes it to be known that regardless of what it says on the Opera America website, they are not, in fact, offering half-price tickets to "Faust."

There are a few other free opera-related events that aren’t mentioned on the website. On Saturday morning at the unoperatic hour of 9:30 a.m., the local chapter of the Society of Motion Pictures and Television Engineers is hosting a talk by the engineer in charge of the live HD broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera, Mark Schubin, about the multiple facets of digital technology and opera from its origins to the present.

And on Saturday afternoon at 1:30, the Wagner Society (scroll down to the EVENTS heading) is presenting German administrator Klaus Schultz in a free talk about Wagner’s festival concept for the Ring.

By Anne Midgette  |  November 13, 2009; 6:30 AM ET
Categories:  Washington , national , opera  
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The SMPTA event is listed now.

Let's see, the Virginia Opera is having an essay contest: "How has Opera made your life inspired your life or made it better." Ugh, essay. More interested in what their twitter contest is as that is only a 140 character effort... and waiting for Maryland Opera Studio to post something already!!!

Posted by: prokaryote | November 13, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

I wanted to share my experiences WNO's with Opera Week so far.

1. One of the largest Millennium Stage audiences ever for the Orchestra Read of Nozze with the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists. Lots of young kids, people sat on the floor in front of the stage because they ran out of seats!

2. Community in Bloom, A Ward 7 Community Collaboration. More than 130 residents from Ward 7 turned out for a community showcase of residents' artwork. This showcase is part of WNO's long-term partnership with the Ward 7 Arts Collaborative and the DC Commission for the Humanities. WNO teaching artists worked with residents to help them create works of art based on their life experiences as residents of Ward 7.

3. I went to the "Hola Opera!" program this morning in Ward 4. About 80% of the kids spoke Spanish, and this bi-lingual introduction to opera really got the kids going. One of the Young Artists, Jose, used traditional Latino music (salsa, merengue, etc.), and related it back to opera. He used opera and music as teaching tools to talk about emotions, listening to each other, and other life skills. One boy, about 12 years old, was invited up on stage for a participatory part of the performance. Afterward, he told the WNO team that he wanted to be an actor and hoped to one day audition for the Duke Ellington School, but he'd never had the chance to be on stage before. He was just so excited for the opportunity.

Full disclosure as always--I'm a WNO staffer. But the above are all facts, and it's important to recognize that many of the city's arts orgs do so much more than stage performances. We're very active in our communities, and for WNO, this is true not just for Opera Week, but year-round.

I'd be interested to hear from others who have participated in the free Opera Week programs, either in DC or around the country. Any big successes? Lessons learned?

Posted by: OperaLove | November 16, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

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