Washington National Opera Presents ANNA BOLENA, 9/15-10/6

Washington National Opera Presents ANNA BOLENA, 9/15-10/6

Washington National Opera (WNO) opens its 2012-2013 season with Gaetano Donizetti's Anna Bolena, September 15 to October 6 in the Kennedy Center Opera House. Celebrated American soprano Sondra Radvanovsky returns to WNO to make her role debut as Anne Boleyn. This striking production, new to Washington, is directed by Stephen Lawless, and the WNO Orchestra will be led by Italian conductor Antonello Allemandi in his WNO debut.

The opera takes place in the storied Tudor court of King Henry VIII. As the unfaithful king plots to replace his queen Anne Boleyn with her lady-in-waiting Jane Seymour, Anne slowly descends into madness. The opera's centerpiece duet between Queen Anne and Jane Seymour is considered one of the finest duets in the operatic repertoire.

Anna Bolena is the first in Donizetti's "Tudor Queens" trilogy, which also includes the operas Maria Stuarda and Roberto Devereux. Following her role debut as Anna Bolena in Washington, Ms. Radvanovsky will perform the leading roles in all three operas in future seasons at opera houses around the world, a feat considered one of the most difficult in opera.

The cast of Anna Bolena also includes Georgian tenor Shalva Mukeria as Riccardo, Italian mezzo-soprano Sonia Ganassi as GiovAnna Seymour, American bass Oren Gradus as Enrico VIII, British contralto Claudia Huckle as Smeton, American bass Kenneth Kellogg as Lord Rochefort, and American tenor Aaron Blake as Sir Hervey.

Anna Bolena opens WNO's 57th season on Saturday, September 15, 2012. Following this performance, WNO artists and patrons will celebrate the opening of the season with a black-tie gala dinner at the Kennedy Center. Other performances are September 18, 21, 24, 27, 30, and October 3 and 6.

WNO has presented Anna Bolena just once in its history, a 1993 production with Romanian soprano Nelly Miricioiu in the title role. This production is from The Dallas Opera.

Anna Bolena is the first production of WNO's 2012-2013 season, which also includes a revival of Don Giovanni, Patricia Racette in her role debut as Manon Lescaut, a new production of Norma starring Angela Meade in her role debut, and the company premiere and new production of the classic American opera Show Boat, directed by WNO Artistic Advisor Francesca Zambello. Both Don Giovanni and Show Boat will be simulcast live free of charge to thousands of fans at National Park as part of M&M's® Opera in the Outfield. WNO will also present Celebrity Series concerts by Nathan Gunn and Diana Damrau, a recital by Angela Meade, and the first performances of the American Opera Initiative, WNO's new commissioning program for young American composers and librettists.

Tickets start at $25 and are available at the Kennedy Center Box Office, by calling (202) 467- 4600 or (800) 444-1324, or online at www.kennedy-center.org. Subscription packages for the 2012-2013 season are also available and can be purchased at (202) 416-8500 or online.

Washington National Opera (WNO) is one of the leading opera companies in the United States. Founded in 1956 and now an affiliate of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the company boasts numerous artistic highlights, including world premieres, commissioning of new works and new productions, international tours, and performances by some of opera's most admired artists. WNO productions have been heard around the world, through radio and television broadcasts on WETA-FM, NPR, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, and PBS, as well as through audio and video recordings.

This season, WNO launches the American Opera Initiative, a comprehensive new commissioning program that brings contemporary American stories to the stage while fostering and developing the talents of new American composers and librettists. WNO contributes to the future of opera through two other signature artist-development programs: the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program is a leading resident-training program for artists on the verge of international careers, and the WNO Opera Institute nurtures the ambitions of high-school-age singers and pianists from across the nation during an intensive three-week summer program.

WNO's education and access initiatives include year-round programs in public schools throughout the region; Generation O, a popular discount-ticket initiative for young people; and a variety of lectures and discussions for every production on the season calendar. Among the most popular of WNO's community programs is M&M's® Opera in the Outfield, which brings free, live simulcasts of opera to Nationals Park for thousands of opera fans as well as new audiences.

For more information about Washington National Opera, visit www.kennedy-center.org/wno.
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