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Washington National Opera: Three New 20-Minute Operas, part of the American Opera Initiative Festival

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Washington National Opera

Three world premiere short operas will be staged in a concert performance, accompanied by a small chamber orchestra and followed by a Q&A with the artists and creative team. This season's distinguished mentors include composer Kevin Puts, librettist Mark Campbell, and conductor George Manahan.



Run Time

Approx. 1 hour


Catch a glimpse into the future of opera!
American Opera Initiative Festival
Three New 20-Minute Operas

Three new 20-minute operas will be staged in a concert performance, accompanied by a small chamber orchestra and followed by a Q&A with the artists and creative team. This season's distinguished mentors include the 2012 Pulitzer Prize–winning team from the opera Silent Night--composer Kevin Puts (The Manchurian Candidate) and librettist Mark Campbell (Approaching Ali, which the American Opera Initiative premiered in 2013)--and conductor George Manahan, the music director of Portland Opera who will also conduct WNO's production of Champion in March 2017. "Short-form chamber opera appears to be the wave of the operatic future," said the Washington Post about our 2015 world premiere presentations. "The young members of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program did themselves proud."



A Bridge for Three
Three figures are about to hurl themselves from the Brooklyn Bridge--inventor and daredevil Jimmy James in 1897, Wall Street tycoon Roland Archister in 1929, and teenage runaway Molly in 2017. All have their different reasons for this leap into the unknown, and all discover that life is more than it sometimes appears.

Nathan Fletcher
Megan Cohen


Fault Lines
In an upper-middle class suburb of New York during the Second World War, racism, classism, and abuse lurk beneath the surface of this family’s daily life, spiraling out of control as dark secrets come to light and threaten all their existences.

Gity Razaz
Sara Cooper 


Precita Park
How do we find peace within chaos? In the aftermath of the great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906, Lilah and her four siblings move in to their new home--a tiny Earthquake Shack in Precita Park. All have experienced loss in their way, and her brothers and sisters are bickering over every little thing--where the beds will be placed, who gets the best one, who snores the most. Searching for stillness and calm in the midst of all this chaos, Lilah reaches for a copy of Thoreau’s Walden…

John Glover
Erin Bregman


WNO's acclaimed commissioning program for contemporary American opera enters its sixth exciting season, once again featuring four world premieres across a single weekend. Our Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists and other talented performers will be featured throughout the festival, now guided by program director Robert Ainsley. 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!" Complete casts and creative teams to be announced at a later date.
"I'm thrilled to once again serve as the librettist mentor for the AOI. This training program for the next generation of composers and librettists has taken on a crucial role in the creation of new opera in this country."--Mark Campbell


Award-winning bass-baritone Eric Owens (Don Carlo) and acclaimed director Peter Kazaras (The Barber of Seville) will be the 2017–2018 season's Artists-in-Residence for the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program. Their expert mentorship will include leading individual coaching sessions, presenting group classes on a variety of repertoire, and hosting career roundtable discussions. Founded by Plácido Domingo in 2002 and currently guided by Robert Ainsley, this leading resident-training program cultivates promising young singers and coach/accompanists on the verge of international careers, with many graduates going on to perform in the world's top opera houses. Throughout their training, the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists are featured prominently in WNO performances. 


Don't miss your opportunity to engage directly with our artists and share your thoughts on the experience you just had! Here's your chance to ask questions and get the inside scoop on the production from members of the cast and creative team.
All discussions begin immediately after the performance and are free with your ticket.

Three 20-Minute Operas Talkback Date:
Saturday, Jan. 20, following the 9 p.m. performance only

Included In Packages

This event is part of these subscription packages

Create Your Own WNO/NSO Trio

Opera Duets

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