The Kennedy Center

Washington National Opera: Appomattox

Washington National Opera: Appomattox

Saturday, November 14, 2015 - Sunday, November 22, 2015

Washington National Opera

From the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement, the battle for racial equality in America marches on--in the world premiere of WNO's new production of Philip Glass and Christopher Hampton's riveting opera.

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Philip Glass / Christopher Hampton
In English with Projected English Titles
New Production and World Premiere of Revised Version
Don't miss this world premiere commemorating 50 years since the Voting Rights Act and 150 years since the end of the Civil War.

This new production of the opera masterfully explores the struggle to end racial inequality in America at two key crossroads a century apart: General Ulysses S. Grant's dramatic war-ending deliberations with General Robert E. Lee at a Virginia courthouse--and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s passionate debates with President Lyndon B. Johnson as civil rights protesters rallied in Alabama. As WNO's first foray into the music of world-renowned composer Philip Glass, and with a libretto by Academy Award winner Christopher Hampton, Appomattox is a must-see event in our nation's capital, where hard lessons of the past still echo today.

Watch the Oct. 29 Millennium Stage concert of songs and readings from both the Civil War and Civil Rights Era--plus an excerpt from Appomattox--featuring members from the WNO Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program. 

This program contains mature themes and strong language.

Performance Timing: Act One - 80 min.; Intermission - 25 min.; Act Two - 80 min.


Abraham Lincoln / Lyndon B. Johnson                      
Tom Fox
Frederick Douglass / Martin Luther King Jr.           
Soloman Howard±
Robert E. Lee / Edgar Ray Killen
David Pittsinger
Ulysses S Grant / Nicholas Katzenbach
Richard Paul Fink
Julia Grant / Viola Liuzzo                               
Melody Moore
Wilmer McLean / J. Edgar Hoover                 
Robert Brubaker
T. Morris Chester / John Lewis
Frederick Ballentine*
Mary Todd Lincoln / Lady Bird Johnson
Anne-Carolyn Bird*
Elizabeth Keckley / Coretta Scott King
Chrystal E. Williams*
Mary Custis Lee / Secretary
Keriann Otaño
General Howell Cobb / James Fowler
Timothy J. Bruno*
Edward Alexander / Cartha DeLoach
Robert Baker
John Aaron Rawlins / George Wallace
Aleksey Bogdanov±
Mrs. Dorsey / Amelia Boynton
Leah Hawkins*
Col. Ely S. Parker
Dane Suarez
Tazewell Thompson* 
Dante Santiago Anzolini* 
Set Designer                                       
Donald Eastman*
Costume Designer                                           
Merrily Murray-Walsh*
Lighting Designer                                           
Robert Wierzel
*WNO debut
± Former Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist
‡ Current Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist

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 Appomattox. The Wednesday, Nov. 18 Opera Insight starts 1 hour and 15 minutes before the performance and lasts 35–40 minutes. All other Opera Insights start 1 hour before the performance and last 20–25 minutes. See schedule of participants below:

Nov. 14: WNO Artistic Director Francesca Zambello leads a discussion with composer Philip Glass and librettist Christopher Hampton

Nov. 16: WNO Artistic Director Francesca Zambello leads a discussion with librettist Christopher Hampton and conductor Dante Santiago Anzolini

Nov. 18: Saul Lilienstein, musicologist

Nov. 20: Journey Through Hallowed Ground panel, "Interpreting Civil War to Civil Rights," with Bob Stanton, former Director of the National Park Service and a member of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; Karen Hughes White, former Fauquier County Circuit Court Deputy Clerk and President of the Afro-American Historical Association of Fauquier County; and moderated by journalist Juan Williams

Nov. 21: Steve Steinbach from Sidwell Friends School

Nov. 22: Colonel Ty Seidule from West Point
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. Following these performances only:
Monday evening, Nov. 16
Friday evening, Nov. 20

Note: Christopher Hampton will sign books following the Q&A, in the Grand Foyer outside of the Opera House.

Watch and Listen

Washington National Opera - 2015-2016 Season Preview

Francesca Zambello on WNOs Appomattox

Washington National Opera: Appomattox

In Conversation: Philip Glass on Historical Operas

In Conversation: Philip Glass discusses Christopher Hampton

In Conversation: Philip Glass

WNO In Rehearsal: Appomattox with Melody Moore (Julia Grant)

WNO In Rehearsal: Appomattox with Melody Moore (Viola Liuzzo)

WNO In Rehearsal: Soloman Howard as Martin Luther King, Jr.