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Voice in the chorus is silenced

A man who was found shot dead in a Washington, D.C. park last week has been identified as Don Jones, a tenor who had sung in the chorus of the Washington National Opera since 1996. Jones also sang the Crab Man, a small but exposed role in Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess,” in the original run of Francesca Zambello’s production in 2005, and during the revival of the opera this past spring.

He studied with Todd Duncan, who was Gershwin’s own choice to play Porgy; Charlotte Holloman, who sang leading soprano roles in the U.S. and Europe, and the famous coloratura Mattiwilda Dobbs. Jones’s own solo singing engagements included a stint in the Robert Wilson-Bernice Johnson Reagon opus “The Temptation of St. Anthony,” which opened at the RuhrTriennale festival in 2003 and toured around Europe in the spring of 2005, an appearance in Scott Joplin’s “Treemonisha,” and a solo at the funeral of Coretta Scott King. He also appeared on Oprah.

He and his wife of ten years, Charita Jones, had recently adopted two three-month-old babies.

By a sad coincidence, the Washington National Opera had scheduled a “Juneteenth” celebration concert/event on June 19th in Fort Dupont Park, where Jones’s body was found on June 8th. The event will now be dedicated to Jones’s memory.

Edited to add: Francesca Zambello, in an e-mail from London, commented, "I knew and loved Don... He was a generous spirit and slightly outrageous in a fun way. He took every rehearsal with such a professional attitude. I know he was beloved by our PORGY company."

By Anne Midgette  |  June 16, 2010; 3:20 PM ET
Categories:  Washington , news , opera  
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Great loss to the opera house .. he was excellent ... God bless him

Posted by: hijabgalore | June 17, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I remember Don because we attended the same church years ago. Not only was he a gifted voice with a beautiful spirit, but he was a man who loved the Lord. My heart and prayers go out to his wife, Charita, their two children, his family and everyone else who knew and loved him.

Posted by: gitouttahere | June 18, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

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