The Kennedy Center


Washington National Opera: Holiday Family Opera: The Lion, the Unicorn, and Me

Friday, December 14, 2018 - Sunday, December 16, 2018

Holidays Performances For Young Audiences Washington National Opera

As the first Christmas nears, a special character will share the Nativity story from his perspective: the donkey! Director Francesca Zambello brings the award-winning children's book to vibrant life in this heartwarming family opera, revived after its acclaimed 2013 world premiere.


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Miracles are made when you believe in yourself.

The Lion, the Unicorn, and Me

Music by Jeanine Tesori / Libretto by J.D. McClatchy, based on the book by Jeanette Winterson

Dec. 14e, 15m*, 15e, 16m/e (2018) in the Terrace Theater
*Sensory friendly performance
In English with Projected English Titles
WNO Revival

As the first Christmas nears, who among the animals can lead Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem? Fearsome Lion and graceful Unicorn are the top contenders—though it certainly won’t be Donkey, whose only humble gift is a small but sturdy back. But with the birth of a very special king on the horizon, Donkey soon discovers that miracles can happen anywhere!

When WNO first premiered this family-friendly opera in 2013, the Washington Post praised its “fresh energy and charm,” and tickets quickly sold out. Based on an award-winning children’s book and featuring music from a Tony®-winning composer, this heartwarming production returns for the holidays with whimsical costumes and a talented cast, to include members of our Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program and the WNO Children’s Chorus.

Come early to interact with real props and costumes!
WNO’s Touch Cart will be open one hour prior to the performances on Dec. 14e, 15m, and 16m/e.


Mary / Carmen: 
Hannah Hagerty
Joseph / Stagehand:
Alexander McKissick
The Donkey:
Joshua Conyers
The Unicorn / Weaver:
Alexandra Nowakowski
The Lion / Butcher 2:
Soloman Howard
The Flamingo / Brother 2 / Horse / Silk Merchant 1:
Marlen Nahhas
The Cat / Brother 1 / Silk Merchant 2:
Eliza Bonet
The Hippo / Holy Man / Dog / Water Seller:
Joshua Blue
The Elk / Camel soloist / Butcher 1:
Samson McCrady
The Innkeeper / Ox / Shepherd: 
Samuel Weiser
Holden Browne
Kylee Geraci

James Lowe
Francesca Zambello
Associate Director & Choreographer:
Eric Sean Fogel
Set Designer:              
Michael Yeargan
Costume Designer:                 
Erik Teague
Lighting Designer:                 
Mark McCullough

Watch and Listen

Making of Opera: The Lion, The Unicorn, and Me - Costumes and Puppets