Things to Do

One of the Country’s Best Festivals Is Happening Now

Get Thee to the Country This Weekend for Shakespeare, Soaring Music, and Opera Star Denyce Graves

On a steamy weekend in the city, why not take a drive to the country—and enjoy a diversion that’s a different sort of steamy?

The annual Castleton Festival, which stages concerts and operas by some of the world’s most promising young singers and musicians, opened June 28 and runs through August 2 in Virginia’s Rappahannock County, about 70 miles southwest of DC. In May, the New York Times named it one of the country’s top 10 summer festivals for classical music.

While a few of this weekend’s events are already sold out—including Law in Opera, which features operatic performances followed by the commentary of Supreme Court Justice (and opera fan) Ruth Bader Ginsburg—you can still get tickets to Friday’s 8 p.m. performance of Roméo et Juliette, a French opera based on the Shakespeare tragedy. Tickets cost $20 to $85.

If your classical tastes run more classic, there’s also a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 on Sunday, July 12, at 2 p.m. As a tribute to the late maestro who founded the festival, Lorin Maazel, Beethoven’s work, which includes “Ode to Joy,” will be sung by four celebrated soloists, including Washington native Denyce Graves. Tickets are $20 to $65

Editor in chief

Sherri Dalphonse joined Washingtonian in 1986 as an editorial intern, and worked her way to the top of the masthead when she was named editor-in-chief in 2022. She oversees the magazine’s editorial staff, and guides the magazine’s stories and direction. She lives in DC.