The Washington National Opera just announced its 2021-2022 season, which includes productions of Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Bizet’s Carmen, and an intriguing new work, Written in Stone, that is inspired by DC’s Monuments. The latter opera, which opens in March to honor the Kennedy Center’s 50th anniversary, will feature four storylines written by four teams of creative talent (including novelist/librettist A.M. Homes and playwright David Henry Hwang) .
The first piece explores how and why we celebrate certain people and their actions; another focuses on Vietnam War Memorial creator Maya Lin. The second half of the opera celebrates the suffragette movement, and closes with the story of a Black father and son navigating what it means to be Queer in the Black church.
Così fan tutte and Carmen will go up in March and May, respectively, and will feature all-star casts of longtime WNO partners alongside performers making their Kennedy Center debuts. Così will feature the likes of Laura Wilde, Rihab Chaieb, Kang Wang, Andrey Zhilikhovsky, Ana María Martínez, and Eric Owens. Isabel Leonard will perform the title role in Carmen alongside Michael Fabiano, Ryan Speedo Green, and Vanessa Vasquez.
To open its season, WNO will stage Come Home: A Celebration of Return in November to reflect on the loss of the past year through classic operas scenes and a musical tribute to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was a longtime opera lover.
The critically-acclaimed new opera Blue is slated to make its Kennedy Center debut in a future season after its 2020 opening was postponed due to Covid-19. Following the story of a Black family in Harlem exposed to the tragedy of police brutality, the work was described by the New York Times as “powerful — as well as sadly timely.”