Wolf Trap Opera

The Future of Opera

July 13, 2014
by Kim

Jukebox Update: Sunday a.m.

Good morning, opera friends! Our young artists enjoyed an amazing panel discussion yesterday with Eric Owens and four of his colleagues. (A longer update to come when there’s time.) Unfortunately, Eric was feeling ill last night, and he’s doing a bit worse this morning and will not be able to sing on today’s Aria Jukebox concert. Just a little advance notice for those of you who are coming today.

It’s still going to be a terrific afternoon of opera, and I know you’ll enjoy yourself. Repertoire menu below! (And no, we’re not performing 56 arias… Each singer will perform whichever of his/her four options is chosen by the audience:))



Mireille Asselin

Handel                       Amore è qual vento                                        Orlando

Louiguy / Piaf                 La vie en rose

Mozart                      Deh vieni non tardar                        Le nozze di Figaro

Strauss                    Adele’s Audition Aria                           Die Fledermaus

Tracy Cox

Barber                       Do Not Utter a Word                                      Vanessa

Massenet                  Il est doux, il est bon                                   Hérodiade

Rodgers                 You’ll Never Walk Alone                                  Carousel

Verdi                         Pace, pace mio Dio                       La forza del destino

Ying Fang

Donizetti                Prendi, per me sei libero                         L’elisir d’amore

Handel              Endless pleasure, endless love                               Semele

Massenet             Je suis encor tout étourdie                                    Manon

Sullivan                    Poor Wandering One              The Pirates of Penzance

Melinda Whittington

Gounod                           Jewel Song                                                 Faust

Porter                      The Tale of the Oyster               Fifty Million Frenchmen

Puccini                 Chi il bel sogno di Doretta                               La rondine

Verdi                            Ernani, involami                                            Ernani    



Maya Lahyani

Bizet                          En vain pour éviter                                        Carmen

Donizetti                 Il segreto di esser felici                          Lucrezia Borgia

Porter                            Love For Sale                              The New Yorkers

Saint-Säens         Mon coeur s’ouvre à ta voix                    Samson et Dalila

Renée Rapier

Bellini            Se Romeo t’uccise un figlio             I Capuleti  ed i Montecchi

Gershwin                              Vodka

Rossini                            Cruda sorte                               L’Italiana in Algeri

Tchaikovsky                   Pauline’s Aria                       The Queen of Spades

Virginie Verrez

Barber              Must the winter come so soon?                             Vanessa

Mozart            Non so più cosa son, cosa faccio              Le nozze di Figaro

Mozart                           Voi che sapete                            Le nozze di Figaro

Straus           Komm, komm Held meiner Träume            Der Tapfere Soldat



Eric Jurenas

Britten                            I know a bank             A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Handel                           Venti, turbine                                             Rinaldo

Handel                    Dove sei, amato bene?                                  Rodelinda

Mozart                 Venga pur minacci e frema               Mitridate Re di Ponto



Robert Watson

Cilea                   É la solita storia del pastore                            L’Arlesiana

Massenet             O souverain, ô juge, ô père                                    Le Cid

Puccini                        Addio fiorito asil                           Madame Butterfly

Wagner                           Winterstürme                                      Die Walküre



Norman Garrett

Massenet                       Vision fugitive                                        Hérodiade

Verdi                  O, Carlo ascolta…Io morrò…                             Don Carlo

Verdi                  Ford’s Monologue (È sogno)                                 Falstaff

Wagner              O du mein holder Abendstern                          Tannhäuser

Tobias Greenhalgh

Donizetti                Bella siccome un angelo                           Don Pasquale

Korngold             Mein Sehnen, mein Wähnen                       Die Tote Stadt

Loewe                   If Ever I Would Leave You                                  Camelot

Rossini                        Largo al factotum                       Il barbiere di Siviglia

Joo Won Kang

Massenet                       Vision fugitive                                        Hérodiade

Rossini                        Largo al factotum                       Il barbiere di Siviglia

Tchaikovsky                  Yeletsky’s Aria                       The Queen of Spades

Verdi                     O, Carlo ascolta…Io morro…                           Don Carlo



Jeongcheol Cha

Britten              Within this frail crucible of light           The Rape of Lucretia

Mozart                           Se vuol ballare                            Le nozze di Figaro

Rachmaninoff               Aleko’s Cavatina                                             Aleko

Wagner              O du mein holder Abendstern                          Tannhäuser

Ryan Speedo Green

Gershwin                   I got plenty o’ nuttin                           Porgy and Bess

Mozart    Solche hergelaufne Laffen               Die Entführung aus dem Serail

Rossini                            La calunnia                            Il barbiere di Siviglia

Verdi    Infelice! E tuo credevi  Ernani

July 9, 2014
by Kim

Owens & the Jukebox

I’m happily at the piano this week, preparing for Sunday’s Aria Jukebox. My days are once again filled with Verdi, Rossini, Wagner, Puccini, Donizetti, Massenet, Mozart and more. Jukebox is always a wonderful time for both performers and audience, but this year it will be even more amazing thanks to the participation of Artist in Residence Eric Owens.

Eric_Owens_-_Audition_Headshot_-_credit_Dario_AcostaTake a few minutes and listen to his Classical Conversation with WETA’s Marilyn Cooley, and come to The Barns on Sunday to hear Eric, this year’s roster of artists and a special guest!


July 1, 2014
by Kim
1 Comment

July 1, 2014: A Day in the Life

10:40 am. Instant Opera at the Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods. The youngest opera fans, enthusiastically shouting “Bravo!” and helping our fabulous improv comedians (a.k.a. Studio Artists Evan, Anna, Josh, Alex and Michael and Coaching Fellow Michael) write and perform a world premiere opera set on Mars in which one of the characters is a an evil Zurtlecorn.Screenshot 2014-07-01 22.27.18

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 11:45am Telephone call with Allan Kozinn of the New York Times’ Arts Beat blog. Exciting news about Carmen, David Pogue, Google Glass and MobiTxt. Read the blog post. Or the press release!


1:20 pm. Tuesday Periodic  Table. Studio Artists get a crash course on patron and donor relations from guest faculty member Cory Lippiello.

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2:00 pm. Staff meeting celebration. Happy Birthday, Susan!!!

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3:15 pm. Carmen staging. Maya, Kevin, and director Tara Faircloth dig into Act 3.

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5:52 pm. World Cup viewing during rehearsal break brings together pianists, singers from all three of our operas. (Bravi, Team USA, for a helluva game.)


6:30 pm. Final Inside the Opera preshow talk for Cesare. Telling the people about the opera. In recent years, one of my favorite things to do.


7:15 pm. Ready for M&M. Sign-in board is prepped for start of Les mamelles di Tirésias and Le pauvre matelot rehearsal period tomorrow. Let’s get surrealistic.


8:38 pm. Greeting Opera Newbies at the first intermission!


9:01 pm. Stair sitting. Like you do. Attacking the email backlog while luxuriating in the Handel wafting off The Barns stage.


10:07 pm. Chair Stacking. A WTO Olympic sport, tonight delivered in style by Grant and Kevin (thanks, guys!!!), turning the room over from preshow talk to rehearsal.


10:44 pm. Farewell to Alexandria. Bravi Ying, John, Carolyn, Renée, Eric, JC, Alex, Kara, Antony & Co. We shall miss you.


June 29, 2014
by Kim

“Super” Stars

Guest post by Mina Asayesh-Brown

2014-06-24 18.17.37-1When I took a tour of The Barns at Wolf Trap as part of my summer copywriting internship, I never thought I would be performing in an opera on their stage just a few weeks later. Maybe the phrase “performing in an opera” is misleading: I’m a supernumerary (or “super” for short), a nonspeaking (and more importantly, non-singing) extra in Wolf Trap Opera’s production of Handel’s Giulio Cesare, a baroque piece that tells the thrilling and mostly fictional tale of Julius Caesar and Cleopatra’s courtship. I only recently learned how to pronounce the title of the show (Joo-lio Che-sar-ay) after avoiding saying it out loud for the first two weeks of rehearsal.

How does one become a super? In this particular Wolf Trap production, we came from all walks of life – a chemistry professor from Brigham Young University, an opera grad student from Maryland, several Wolf Trap employees, an experienced extra whose young daughter got a kick out of seeing her mom in costume. Some responded to Wolf Trap’s Facebook post, others (like myself) received an email advertising the position. Though I had little to no performing experience, I realized it was a rare opera-tunity, so I decided to go for it. My only qualifications were that I had a pulse, and I was free every night from 7-10. Thankfully, that was all they needed.

The process began with a series of costume fittings that forced me to accept the poking and prodding of several kind strangers. By the fourth round of fittings, I barely registered the hands adjusting my bust line. Needless to say, I bonded with the costume crew the fastest. A Cleopatra-style wig decked in golden beads (Egyptian bling) complements my French maid outfit, which also includes a pair of the highest heels I’ve ever worn. As an added challenge, the stage is covered in sand, and in one memorable scene my fellow maids and I have to scamper across without falling on our faces. I’ve taken necessary precautions and practiced my reaction to my inevitable wipeout ahead of time: once it happens, I’ll jump up and look angrily at the person closest to me, blaming them for making me trip. (Note – I have managed to stay upright throughout rehearsal, so let’s hope my track record continues to be injury-free.)

Working 9-5 and then rehearsing from 7-10 every day was a blessing and a curse: on one hand, it was brutally exhausting, but on the other hand, it gave my fellow super/intern John and I an excuse to eat way too much sugar so we could “have enough energy to get through the day.” And though we spent about the same amount of time complaining as we did actually rehearsing, there is something uniquely rewarding about being a part of a production, especially a show that features so many gifted individuals.

It’s not every day that an average Joe (or Jane?) like myself gets to share the stage with the future stars of the Metropolitan Opera. I often had to stop myself from “ooh”-ing and “ahh”-ing in the middle of the arias so I could pay attention and not miss my entrances. The Cesare principal cast members (and their counterparts in the ultra competitive world of opera) are some of the most dedicated, hardworking, remarkable artists around. Their commitment to this particular art form requires constant training, years of schooling, and a deep understanding and appreciation of the many languages in which operas are written, not to mention the physical demands of sustained vocal excellence.

The definition of supernumerary may mean that technically, we supers are excessive, but we do have value. We fill space. We add comic relief. We look cute. Most importantly, we help highlight the principals’ incredible work. If a great production is like a delicious meal, then we are the seasoning. We bring out the flavors that make it taste so damn good.

June 27, 2014
by Kim

It’s the Day of the Show!


The Giulio Cesare cast and crew survived tech week in style and are enjoying a day to catch their breath before opening night. It’s a wonderful show, meticulously crafted and beautifully sung. I’m particularly proud of the fearless way this cast has embraced the challenge. This music is naturally attractive and virtuosic, but it only becomes truly meaningful when approached with commitment and courage. These people are “all in,” as they say, and we are the luckier for it.

A bit of good news for those of you who have been asking me where the other podcasts are… Act II is up and running on the podcast page. Not sure if Act III will make it before closing night, but I haven’t lost hope. I adore talking about this music and sharing it with you, but the days have been overflowing and the poor podcasts have been edged out :)

On a lighter note, please enjoy this little video, made by our Technical Director and crew, with the help of Google Glass. (Rome wasn’t built in a day, but obviously, Alexandria was.)

Production photo by Teddy Wolff

June 25, 2014
by Kim

Giulio Cesare: An Early Look

There’s some seriously beautiful and exciting singing going on at The Barns. Can’t share any of it with you just yet, but here are some early dress rehearsal photos to tide you over. And if you don’t have tickets yet, you really should.

(Flickr slide show below is flash, sadly. If you can’t see it, click through to the album here.)

June 22, 2014
by Kim

Handel’s Giulio Cesare: A Classical Conversation

Screenshot 2014-06-22 22.47.25Giulio Cesare is almost upon us! My recent silence was caused by nothing more than an abundance of good things to manage here in this corner of the opera world. But a few big projects have been completed, and I’m back in the blogosphere to share the excitement of our upcoming production. Photos, videos, and commentary to come. Today, a lovely interview with conductor Antony Walker and WETA’s David Ginder. Enjoy!


June 10, 2014
by Kim

Music and Art, Year Five

In advance of next Thursday’s Vocal Colors concert at The Phillips Collection, the museum has featured their collaboration with Wolf Trap Opera – now in its fifth year! – on their blog.

American Art in Music” promotes the upcoming June 19 performance by soprano Tracy Cox and tenor Robert Watson, and it also features a link to a 2013 performance by former Filene Young Artist Andrea Carroll. Andrea paired Ricky Ian Gordon’s “Troubled Woman” with Jacob Lawrence’s The Migration Series (above), and an audio recording of her performance is now part of The Phillips Collection’s new audio tour!