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Subject: Justice at the Opera/WNO presents Ruth Bader Ginsburg in sold out performance with Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists(3-9-17)
From: Alan Savada <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Alan Savada <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 10 Mar 2017 15:55:40 -0500

text/plain (50 lines)

I posted this earlier, but for some reason it did not go thru to the list?

Last night Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg took the stage at the Kennedy Center Opera House in front of a sold out house to present a program entitled :Justice at the Opera" with all 11 vocal young artists of the Washington National Opera's Domingo-Cafritz Program. The 90 minute program was full of excitement from the singers as well as many fun moments and jokes from the Justice herself!

Francesca Zambello introduced RBG, as she is now known, and mentioned that the opening Overture to Fidelio led by Maaestro Philippe Auguin and the Kennedy Center Opera Orchestra (what a treat for the YA's to have them as backup!) was about a woman who disguised as a man and saved her husband and her country as well! When RBG emerged there was a standing ovation and she began the program by speaking about strong women in opera such as Leonore and also Minnie who as she said, portray the way women really are!

The program began with 4 women seeking revenge on the oppressor (as silly as he might be) Sir John Falstaff with the Act I Quartet "Alice, Meg, Nannetta" from Falstaff(Verdi) with Raquel Gonzalez shining as Alice Ford joined by Ariana Wehr, Allegra DeVita and Daryl Freedman.

RBG went on to discuss contract killings featured in the next two selections:

Act I duet "Quel vecchio maledivami" from Rigoletto (Verdi) with Hunter Enoch and Timothy J. Bruno followed by the

Act II Quintet "Alle danze questa sera" from Ballo(Verdi) with Leah Hawkins, Ms. Wehr, Messrs. Enoch & Bruno joined by Andrew Bogard in which Ms. Wehr's coloratura as Oscar soared.

Plea bargaining was the next subject and RBG explained that over 90% of cases in the USA are indeed plea bargained and never get to trial. WOW!

"E lucevan le stelle" from Tosca(Puccini) received a heartfelt delivery from Frederick Ballentine followed by te

Seguidilla from Carmen (Bizet) with Ms. DiVita & Mr. Ballentine.

These selections were all wonderfully, yet simply, semi-staged by director Andrea Dorf McGray.

We moved on to the Act II duet "Venti scudi" from Elisir d'Amore (Donizetti) with Rexford Tester & Michael Adams, wherein RBG told us that Ducalmara is indeed the most engaging quack in all opera. I must disagree as Dulcamara only vends Bordeaux while Sweeney Todd's Pirelli is a vendor of piss! At the end of the duet where Belcore asks Nemorino to sign the contract for entry in the military to receive his money, Mr. Enoch turned aside and asked RBG to notarize it!

"I telegraph from Colfax, Louisiana" is T. Morris Chester's, a black Civil War journalist, aria from Appomattox (Glass) in which Mr. Ballentine related the massacre of over 100 black militiamen. It was a most moving rendition for sure only making me want to see the opera yet again after its magnificent production in DC in the fall of 2015!

Slavery was the next subject and we moved to the Act II duet "Fu la sorte dell'armi" from Aida (Verdi) for Mlles. Hawkins & Freedman where RBG says Amneris is clearly guilty of intentional infliction of emotional distress! This was a truly dramatic duet and both ladies were simply superb. Ms. Freedman's warm deep mezzo is amazing and now that Ms. Hawkins has made the transition from mezzo to dramatic soprano, she excels in the Verdi soprano heroine roles amazingly, actually reminding me of Grace Bumbry at her vocal heights!

RBG spoke next about the death penalty and the recent production of Dead Man Walking, and how actual death penalty executions dropped in the USA last year to just above 20 and that they all occurred in only 5 states, and indeed, most only in 2 counties! The program however ended on a much lighter note wit the finale sextet "A nice dilemma we have here...Oh joy unbounded" from Gilbert & Sullivan's Trial By Jury featuring the entire ensemble. Timothy J. Bruno as the Judge had a special moment with his line, "I am a judge and a good judge too" as it was repeated here "and she is a judge and a good judge too" as they all looked over to RBG.

It was indeed a fun evening full of great talent and what electricity as we all also learned a great deal from a great woman!

Next Friday, the WNO YA's present DON GIOVANNI!

ALAN SAVADA of Washington, DC

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