Washington National Opera Golden Gala
March 19th • The Kennedy Center
Washington National Opera's 50th Anniversary Golden Gala, and guests knew they were in for a retrospective treat when characters from opera seasons past populated the Kennedy Center's Grand Foyer. Selwa "Lucky" Roosevelt, the event's chairman was radiant as she kicked off the evening by announcing that the gala brought four million dollars into the WNO coffers. The 2,200 guests represented the diplomatic corps, politicians, cabinet officials, three supreme court justices and Washington National Opera trustees, including Jacqueline Mars, Betty Scripps Harvey and Mercedes Bass.
The audience enjoyed rousing performances by Anna Netrebko, Juan Diego Florez, Carlos Alvarez, Elizabeth Futral, Paul Groves, Alan Held, Anja Kampe, John Matz and Samuel Ramey performing WNO "Greatest Hits" such as "O mio babbino caro" from Puccini's Gianni Schicci, a fabulous "madamina, il Catalogo e questo" from Mozart's Don Giovanni, and "Ecco il Mondo"from Boito's Mefistofele, all made possible by the orchestra, and Maestro Heinz Fricke's conducting. The guilty pleasure of the evening was the world premiere of Marvin Hamlisch and Sheldon Harnick's Opera spoof "The Audition," starring Placido Domigo, Kristin Chenoweth and Trevor Scheunemann (a Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Member) with cameos by Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Antonin Scalia. One only wishes we didn't have to wait so many years for another celebration. Lucky, must you retire? One more for the 55th? For Washington? For opera lovers?
Photos by Kyle Samperton