Washington National Opera Presents Verdi's THE FORCE OF DESTINY, 10/12
Washington National Opera (WNO) continues its 2013-2014 season with a new production honoring the 200th birthday of Giuseppe Verdi, one of opera's most legendary composers: The Force of Destiny, October 12-26 in the Kennedy Center Opera House. Verdi's epic romantic and political drama, which hasn't been seen in Washington in nearly 25 years, will be presented in a daring and visually striking new production directed by WNO Artistic Director Francesca Zambello. Conductor Xian Zhang, in her WNO debut, leads the WNO Orchestra in interpreting some of Verdi's most beautiful melodies.
This production of The Force of Destiny zooms in on one troubled family in the midst of an unhinged, lawless society. A displaced marquis, desperate to hold on to his family's wealth and power, has attempted to prevent the union of his daughter, Leonora, with a foreigner, Alvaro, by removing her from their war-torn urban landscape to an exclusive hotel outside the city. But Alvaro will not be kept from his beloved, and when a midnight encounter leads to the marquis' accidental death, the last ties binding the family are shredded. Leonora's brother Don Carlo vows revenge and returns to the city, where perversion and violence abound, to hunt Alvaro. Meanwhile, Leonora seeks anonymous refuge in a monastery. But the power of fate proves too strong: the three are inexorably drawn together, leading to a tragic end.
The Force of Destiny marks Francesca Zambello's first new opera production for WNO since becoming its Artistic Director in January 2013. Helping to bring Zambello's bold vision of a futuristic metropolis to life are set designer Peter J. Davison, costume designer Catherine Zuber, and lighting designer Mark McCullough.
Leading the WNO Orchestra in her WNO debut is Xian Zhang, a Chinese-American conductor who is in her fifth season as Music Director of Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi. She has also served as the Associate Conductor of the New York Philharmonic.
Two young American sopranos make their WNO debuts in the role of Donna Leonora of Vargas. Adina Aaron burst onto the international opera scene in Franco Zeffirelli's filmed version of Aida in 2001, and stepped in at the last minute for a celebrated run in the title role of last summer's production of the same opera at The Glimmerglass Festival, also directed by Zambello. Amber Wagner is a winner of the 2007 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a triumph that was documented in the popular film The Audition. Her recent appearances include the lead role of Amelia in the Metropolitan Opera's new production of Un ballo in maschera and the title role in Ariadne auf Naxos at Lyric Opera of Chicago.