Cast Set For Washington Concert Opera's LA RONDINE

The performance is on April 7, 2024 at 6PM. 

By: Feb. 28, 2024
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Washington Concert Opera will continue their 2023/24 season, “Escape with Opera,” coming off their critically-acclaimed December presentation of Rossini’s Ermione. The year 2024 marks the 100th Anniversary of Puccini’s death. In celebration of his enduring legacy, WCO will present the gorgeous, moving opera, La Rondine at Lisner Auditorium Sunday, April 7, 2024 at 6PM. 

The performance will feature company debuts including electrifying soprano Ailyn Pérez in a favorite role of hers, Magda de Civry– one that she sang recently in Florence, Italy. Guatemalan tenor Mario Chang, internationally renowned for his Bel Canto, Verdi, and Puccini interpretations, will also make his WCO debut as Ruggero Lastouc. They will be joined by Deanna Breiwick as Lisette, an exciting, agile-voiced soprano with an exuberant stage presence, and recently added, also making his WCO debut, tenor Jonathan Johnson as Prunier.

Supporting this all-star cast, WCO is proud to announce the return of baritone Javier Arrey (Rambaldo), and soprano Tess Ottinger (Yvette), soprano Natalie Conte (Bianca), and mezzo-soprano Melanie Ashkar (Suzy), all making their WCO debuts.

Chilean born American baritone Javier Arrey returns to the WCO stage for the first time since his 2021 recorded appearance alongside René Barbera in I Puritani. Tess Ottinger is a Northern Virginia based soprano and graduate of Peabody Institute, having trained under Metropolitan Opera soprano Danielle Talamantes. Last season she won the Encouragement Award from the Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition. Natalie Conte is a multi-award winning soprano who won first prize in the National Federation of Music Clubs’ Young Artist Competition, the Maryland Lyric Opera Competition, and the Vocal Arts DC Discovery Art Song Competition. Lebanese-American mezzo soprano Melanie Ashkar is a Northern Virginia native who has performed across the country with companies such as Utah Opera, Central City Opera, New York City Opera, OperaDelaware, Opera Southwest, and Virginia Opera, and more. 

Originally premiered at the Grand Théâtre de Monte Carlo (or the Théâtre du Casino) in March 1917, La Rondine is a notably lesser-known work among Puccini’s tremendous output. This is largely due to the outbreak of World War I thwarting its originally intended premiere, plus the fact that no clear “final” performance version exists. Puccini penned three distinct versions with two different endings, but died before he could decide on his favorite. Even so, some of its arias persist in their broader popularity among discerning audiences, and thus, La Rondine as a whole has been saved from obscurity and returned to its rightful place among Puccini’s best. The opera will be sung in Italian with projected English translations. Maestro Antony Walker will conduct.

The performance is 2 hours and 20 minutes including one 20 minute intermission. A pre-performance talk will be given by WCO co-founder Peter Russell an hour before curtain in Lisner Auditorium. Attendance to this talk is included for all ticket holders.