Washington National Opera Presents Gounod's ROMEO & JULIET, November 4–18

Don't miss this production at the Kennedy Center Opera House from November 4–18.

By: Sep. 29, 2023
Washington National Opera Presents Gounod's ROMEO & JULIET, November 4–18

Washington National Opera presents Gounod's evergreen Romeo and Juliet, November 4–18, in a new production directed by one of the foremost Shakespeare directors, Simon Godwin, in his opera staging debut.

This production endcaps the D.C.-wide Shakespeare Everywhere Festival, an unprecedented collaboration among more than a dozen arts institutions of D.C. that will amplify the unique accessibility to work inspired by Shakespeare in the nation's capital. The Festival is organized by Artistic Directors Simon Godwin and Francesca Zambello.

The new production will be led by Principal Conductor Evan Rogister, after his acclaimed performances of Elektra in the 2022–2023 season. Italian soprano Rosa Feola, hailed for her “plush, warm voice” (The New York Times) in her performance as Gilda in Rigoletto with the Met Opera, makes her role and WNO debut as Juliet. British “tenor that the whole opera world is talking about” (Marie Claire) Adam Smith makes his WNO debut as Romeo. Marian Anderson Vocal Award–winner Justin Austin plays Mercutio. Duke Kim, a former WNO Cafritz Young Artist, performs the role of Tybalt.  

Godwin, who directed a “maybe best ever” (Washington Post) King Lear, brings his vast knowledge of Shakespeare to the opera stage for the first time. In opera, “music leads everything—tempo, emotion, character,” said Godwin. “I'm interested in music's ability to expand or shrink the visual. The music becomes a kind of camera allowing us to sweep in and out of this exhilarating and momentous journey.”  

On Gounod's Romeo and Juliet, Rogister says, “By its very nature, opera is an interplay of words and music. But rarely is a score as inspired by text as Romeo and Juliet. In four gorgeous duets written for the star-crossed lovers, Gounod captures the arc of their relationship from infatuation to deep love, from a dream-state to tragedy.” 

This production will also be WNO's popular Opera Look-In series of the season. The Opera Look-In is an abridged performance in the theater designed for students in grades four through eight in the greater D.C. area. The performance, mixed in with commentaries, aim to familiarize students with the plot, artistry and stagecraft in presenting the opera. The Look-In performance will be on November 15 for participating schools.  

Moreover, this production is the anchoring event of the Shakespeare Everywhere Festival. “We are thrilled to contribute Romeo and Juliet, the opera to this festival,” said WNO Artistic Director Francesca Zambello and co-founder, with Godwin, of the Festival. “Shakespeare has stood the test of time for his ability to speak to the human condition. Shakespeare brought history alive for his contemporaries, and those same dramas continue to resonate today. In a city passionately engaged by questions around how we best organize ourselves to provide for life, liberty, and happiness for all, I hope Shakespeare's works will challenge us to learn from the past and inspire us to work for the future.” 

Romeo and Juliet
Music by Charles Gounod
Libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré after William Shakespeare's play
November 4–18, 2023 in the Opera House
In French with Projected English Titles
The scenery and costumes are co-produced by Glimmerglass Festival and Washington National Opera 

Saturday, November 4, 2023 at 7:00 p.m.
Monday, November 6, 2023 at 7:00 p.m.
Friday, November 10, 2023 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, November 12, 2023 at 2:00 p.m.
Wednesday, November 15, 2023 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, November 17, 2023 at 7:30 p.m.**
Saturday, November 18, 2023 at 7:00 p.m. 


Juliet Rosa Feola*/ Tiffany Choe** Romeo Adam Smith*/Duke Kim†** Mercutio Justin Austin*/ Justin Burgess** Tybalt Duke Kim†/ Sahel Salam** Stéphano Winona Martin Frère Laurent Nicolas Testé*/ Sergio Martínez** Count Capulet Donovan Singletary* Gertrude Jill Grove/ Cecelia McKinley** Benvolio Kevin Punnackal Grégorio Hunter Enoch Pâris Jonathan Patton Duke of Verona Nicolas Testé/Sergio Martinez**     Conductor Evan Rogister Director Simon Godwin* Set Designer Daniel Soule* Lighting Designer Robert Wierzel Costume Designer Loren Shaw* Choreographer Jonathan Goddard*

* WNO mainstage debut
† Alumnus of the Cafritz Young Artist program
**Cafritz young Artists Performance

Washington National Opera (WNO) is one of the leading opera companies in the United States. Under the leadership of General Director Timothy O'Leary and world-renowned Artistic Director Francesca Zambello, the company presents a diverse repertory of grand opera across three main venues of the Kennedy Center. From classic operas to contemporary works, each season the WNO's artistic output also includes commissioned American works and a variety of special concerts, youth operas, and events. Founded in 1956 and an artistic affiliate of the Kennedy Center since 2011, WNO has a storied legacy of more than 100 new productions, plus world premieres, international tours, live recordings, and radio broadcasts, digitally streamed content, as well as innovative education and community-engagement programs. Recent celebrated productions have included a new production of Strauss' Elektra; the D.C. premiere of Jeanine Tesori's and Tazewell Thompson's Blue, which was commissioned by Zambello; the world premiere of Written in Stone—composed for the Kennedy Center's 50th anniversary season; the world premiere of Philip Glass' reconceived Appomattox, presented in conjunction with cultural events throughout Washington, D.C.; the powerful performances of Kurt Weill's Lost in the Stars; and the massive feat of WNO's first complete Ring Cycle, which was helmed by Zambello and played to sold-out houses following international acclaim. The 2023–2024 season includes the world premiere of Grounded by Jeanine Tesori and George Brant, and Turandot with a new ending by Christopher Tin and Susan Soon He Stanton. WNO is committed to expanding opera's reach and fostering a new generation of opera talent. Among the company's most successful education and community engagement programs are the American Opera Initiative (AOI), the Cafritz Young Artist Program, the WNO Opera Institute, Opera in the Outfield, in-person and digital Look-In performances, the Student Dress Rehearsal Program, free pre-concert lectures and post- show Q&As after many shows, the WNO Young Associates program, and the Let's Go There discussion series.

Tickets may be purchased online at Click Here, in-person at the Kennedy Center Box Office, or by calling (202) 467-4600.

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