The Kennedy Center

Three 20-Minute Operas

Washington National Opera: American Opera Initiative: Three 20-Minute Operas

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Washington National Opera

Three world premiere short operas will be presented in a semi-staged concert performance, accompanied by a small chamber orchestra conducted by John DeMain, and followed by a Q&A session with the artists and creative team.

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The world premieres of three new 20-minute operas will be presented in a semi-staged concert performance, accompanied by members of the WNO Orchestra conducted by John DeMain, and followed by a Q&A session with the artists and creative team. Each opera will be performed in English and highlight a very different aspect of American life and culture.
Complete cast and creative team to be announced at a later date.

Service Provider
Music by Christopher Weiss
Libretto by John de los Santos
Service Provider is a comic opera detailing the erosion of modern romance by our obsession with mobile technology. When a loving young couple goes out for their anniversary dinner at an elegant restaurant, the evening descends into farcical disaster as the constant threat of cell phone use eventually unmasks the fractured reality of their marriage. 
Please note: this opera is recommended for ages 13 & up, for some strong language and adult themes. 

Music by David Clay Mettens
Libretto by Joshua McGuire
As a young widow tries to return a library book stolen by her deceased husband, she realizes it is the first link in a chain of secret messages from another time. With the library closing around her, she is forced to choose between her own complex history with the book and an uncertain future. 

Twenty Minutes or Less
Music by Sarah Hutchings
Libretto by Mark Sonnenblick
Osha's first night working at Pizza Queen coincides with its most important delivery of the year. Will her co-workers like and respect her? Will she get the pizza to the customer in time? Will the thin veneer of human civilization prove strong enough to keep the empty chaos of the universe at bay? The clock is ticking...


WNO's acclaimed commissioning program for contemporary American opera enters its fourth exciting season with more world premiere presentations featuring Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists and other talented performers among the casts.  

Says the Washington Post: "Encouraging new voices and new work is a good thing… and [the American Opera Initiative] is getting more music heard. Let's applaud it--and attend it!" Meanwhile, the Baltimore Sun praises WNO's "expert mentoring" from program director Michael Heaston (also Head of Music Staff and Director of the Young Artists Program at The Glimmerglass Festival) and several distinguished advisors including OBIE and Stephen Sondheim Award-winning composer Ricky Ian Gordon (The Grapes of Wrath, 27, A Coffin in Egypt), Grammy Award-nominated librettist Mark Campbell (Silent Night, Volpone, The Inspector, Rappahannock County), and Grammy and Tony Award-winning conductor John DeMain (WNO's Show Boat and Lost in the Stars; world premieres of A Quiet Place and Nixon in China; music/artistic director of Madison Symphony Orchestra).

Opera Insights start 1 hour before the performance and last 20–25 minutes. Informative and entertaining, Opera Insights take you inside the composer's mind, behind the scenes of planning a production, and into the history and social context of each opera.
These lectures are free, but patrons must present a ticket from any performance of American Opera Initiative: Three 20-Minute Operas.

Following the performance

Join WNO artists for a unique opportunity to ask questions about the production.
All discussions begin immediately after the performance and are free with your ticket.


Watch and Listen

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