WNO Announces Star-Studded Gala With Renee Fleming, Denyce Graves, and Leslie Odom Jr., 6/3

WNO Announces Star-Studded Gala With Renee Fleming, Denyce Graves, and Leslie Odom Jr., 6/3

WNO Announces Star-Studded Gala With Renee Fleming, Denyce Graves, and Leslie Odom Jr., 6/3

Washington National Opera (WNO) today announces an exciting conclusion to its 2016-2017 season: the 2017 WNO Opera Gala, celebrating WNO Board Chairman Jacqueline Badger Mars, who will step down as Chairman this summer. The Gala, on Saturday, June 3, 2017, will include a concert in the Kennedy Center Opera House featuring the WNO Orchestra and an array of musical stars who will pay special tribute to Jacqueline Mars's visionary leadership of WNO: legendary soprano Rene?e Fleming, superstar mezzo-soprano and D.C. native Denyce Graves, and Hamilton Tony Award® winner Leslie Odom Jr. The Gala is presented as part of JFKC, the Kennedy Center's season-long celebration of John F. Kennedy's centennial, and explores the themes of service and gratitude, which are often associated with President Kennedy.

The Co-Chairmen of the WNO Opera Gala are WNO Life Chairman Mrs. Eugene B. Casey and Mrs. John F. Mars. The Opera Gala pays tribute to Jacqueline Badger Mars for her six seasons of leadership of the WNO Board of Trustees. Highlights of her tenure include the founding of the American Opera Initiative, which for the last five seasons has helped identify the brightest rising American composers and librettists and has added their work to the repertory; the programming of an annual opera for families at the holiday season, including Hansel and Gretel, The Little Prince, and the world premiere commission of The Lion, the Unicorn, and Me; and the presentation of WNO's first-ever complete Ring cycles in 2016, a feat that put WNO into a very elite group of American opera companies.

"I have been honored to work with Jacquie Mars since 2008, and her imaginative leadership and guidance have brought WNO unparalleled growth and success while also making the opera more accessible to a broader audience," said WNO executive director Michael L. Mael. "Our next Chairman will certainly have big shoes to fill, but I am happy that Jacquie will continue to steer this company as a WNO trustee."

Tickets for the Gala concert start at $49 and are on sale now to Kennedy Center members. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Friday, April 21, 2017 at 10 a.m.

For those who wish to purchase special Gala packages, the evening will begin with a VIP cocktail reception on the Kennedy Center's River Terrace at 5:30 p.m., followed by the Gala concert at 6:30 p.m. After the performance, Gala package holders will depart the Kennedy Center for elegant black-tie dinners hosted by many ambassadors at their embassies or residences throughout the city, a longtime tradition of the Opera's season- ending social gathering.

The Opera Gala is WNO's largest fundraiser and one of Washington's most anticipated events of the year. Proceeds from the Opera Gala will play a crucial role in advancing the Opera's award-wining artistic, educational, and outreach programs.

While the 2016-2017 season is coming to an end, the new season promises excitement. WNO's 2017-2018 season includes new productions of Verdi's epic drama Aida, the company premiere of Handel's magical baroque opera Alcina, and Verdi's towering masterpiece Don Carlo, plus Rossini's delightful comedy The Barber of Seville and Bernstein's biting satire Candide. The season also features a festival weekend of four world premieres as part of the American Opera Initiative, the return of the holiday family opera The Little Prince, two special Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist performances, and more. Subscription packages are available now.


Tickets for the Gala concert start at $49 and are available online, in person at the Kennedy Center Box Office, and by calling (202) 467-4600 or (800) 444-1324. For all other ticket-related customer service inquiries, call the Advance Sales Box Office at (202) 416-8540.

Information about Gala ticket packages, which include the VIP cocktail party, priority seating for the Gala concert, and seating at private embassy dinners following the performance, is available online or by contacting the Special Events office at (202) 416- 8496 or operagala@kennedy-center.org.


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