Photo Flash: First Look at LOST IN THE STARS at Washington National Opera
Washington National Opera (WNO) continues its 60th anniversary season with the company premiere of Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson's LOST IN THE STARS, tomorrow, February 12, through February 20 in the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater. LOST IN THE STARS is conducted by John DeMain, who led the WNO Orchestra for Show Boat in 2013, and is staged by director Tazewell Thompson, who directed WNO's highly acclaimed world premiere production of Appomattox earlier this season. BroadwayWorld has a first look at the cast in action below!
The opera is based on Alan Paton's literary classic Cry, the Beloved Country, perhaps the most famous and important novel in South Africa's history. This production was originally seen at South Africa's Cape Town Opera and heralds the return of singer Eric Owens to the WNO stage following his electric turn in last season's The Flying Dutchman.
In this gripping musical tragedy set in apartheid-era South Africa, two-time Grammy winner Eric Owens portrays Stephen Kumalo, a black minister who travels from his small village to Johannesburg to check on his troubled son Absalom. But when Absalom accidentally kills the son of a white neighbor, the reverend is suddenly faced with a crisis of faith. Amidst growing racial tensions, he must fight to keep his family together, lead his alarmed congregation, and reconcile his own shaken notions of mercy and hope.
The opera's 38-member cast is led by the formidable bass-baritone Eric Owens, one of the most in-demand American opera stars of our day, who sang this role to great acclaim at The Glimmerglass Festival in 2012. While in Washington for this production, Owens shows another side of his vocal prowess when he performs a program of jazz standards in the Terrace Theater on Wednesday, January 27-see page 4 of this press release for more details.
Also returning to WNO are Wynn Harmon, last seen at WNO as Captain Andy in Show Boat (2013), as James Jarvis, the white neighbor of Stephen Kumalo; and tenor Sean Panikkar, who has appeared in WNO's Salome (2010) and Nabucco (2012), as The Leader. Panikkar is also known as a member of Forte, an operatic tenor group that first found crossover success on NBC's America's Got Talent.
The cast also features soprano Lauren Michelle, who was the American representative in the 2015 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition. She sings the role of Absalom's lover Irina in her WNO debut. Other artists making their WNO debuts include Manu Kumasi as Absalom Kumalo, Cheryl Freeman as Linda, Kevin McAllister as John Kumalo, Caleb McLaughlin and Jeremy Villas sharing the role of Alex, and Dawn Ursula as Grace Kumalo and Mrs. Mkize. The cast also includes Jessica Lauren Ball, Aleksey Bogdanov, Tyler Bowman, Jane Bunting, Alexandra Christoforakis, Leah Hawkins, Jocelyn Hunt, Courtney Kalbacker, Jarrod Lee, Sean-Maurice Lynch, Michael Mainwaring, Ian McEuen, Caitlyn McLaughlin, Ines Nassara, Musa Ngqungwana, Jobari Parker-Namdar, Aaron Reeder, Alizon Reggioli, Ameerah Sabreen, Paul Scanlan, Thomas Adrian Simpson, Rexford Tester, Duyen Washington, Jade Wheeler, Lisa Williamson, and Rachel Zampelli.
LOST IN THE STARS opens tomorrow, February 12, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. in the Eisenhower Theater and runs for nine performances, including February 13, 14m, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20m, and 20e. Tickets start at $79 and are available online, in person at the Kennedy Center Box Office, and by calling (202) 467-4600 or (800) 444-1324.
Photo Credit: Karli Cadel for WNO
Cheryl Freeman as Linda
Sean Panikkar as The Leader and The Ensemble of LOST IN THE STARS