Rossini on deck: WNO’s ‘Cinderella in the Outfield’

Rossini on deck: WNO’s ‘Cinderella in the Outfield’

Best deal of the year: Free simulcast performance of Rossini’s family-friendly musical take on a fairy-tale fave.

Opera in the Outfield.
Opera fans in the stands. Photo from a recent WNO "Opera in the Outfield" production. (Credit: Scott Suchman)

WASHINGTON, January 22, 2015 – We’re all at the point during yet another gloomy Washington winter where we’re longing for a break, just like the those lucky Washington Nationals will get next month. That’s when the Nats will be heading for spring training in sunny Viera, Florida.

Come to think of it, just as Washington’s ballplayers are heading north for their regular season, the cast and crew for the Washington National Opera’s will be arriving in DC for their own version of spring training. They’ll be rehearsing for the company’s May production of Gioacchino Rossini’s comic opera “Cinderella” (“La Cenerentola”).

In a twist on the original tale, Rossini’s version features not only a wicked step-father. Instead of a fairy godmother, WNO’s Cinderella gets a helping hand from Prince Charming’s magical tutor.

Better yet, for opera newbies and longtime opera fans as well, one of this opera’s performances will be simulcast free of charge to the giant screen and sound system at Washington Nationals’ Stadium. Now an annual event, this is one of the best classical music deals in town.

Here are the details, taken from today’s WNO press release:

Washington National Opera (WNO) celebrates its seventh season of free opera simulcasts at Nationals Park, with M&M’s* “Opera in the Outfield.” This year’s event is a performance of Rossini’s romantic comedy “Cinderella” on Saturday, May 16, 2015.

Gates open at 5 p.m. for “pregame” activities for the entire family, and the opera will be broadcast live from the Kennedy Center Opera House to the high-definition NatsHD scoreboard beginning at 7 p.m. Free seating will be available on the outfield grass and in the stands. The event will take place rain or shine—in case of inclement weather, some covered seating is available.

A perfect springtime treat for the entire family, Rossini’s popular retelling of the beloved “Cinderella” fairy tale adds a few fabulous twists to the traditional fairy tale. In this bright and whimsical production by Spanish director Joan Font and his celebrated performance troupe Els Comediants, a kindhearted girl named Angelina dreams of one day escaping her impoverished stepfather’s castle. When the prince announces he will choose his bride at a glamorous ball, she seizes the opportunity to escape the tyranny of her vain stepsisters and take control of her own destiny.

Audiences of all ages will delight in this clever romantic comedy that features bracelets instead of glass slippers, a philosophical tutor in place of a fairy godmother, and six adorable dancing rats that serve as a makeshift Greek chorus.

Considered one of his finest vocal works, Rossini’s opera glows with captivating bel canto singing and ornate ensemble passages performed by a thrilling cast of young talents, including the American mezzo-soprano and 2013 Richard Tucker Award winner Isabel Leonard in her WNO debut.

Gifted Italian conductor Speranza Scappucci makes her WNO debut leading the orchestra in a dazzling production that has enchanted audiences from Houston to Barcelona to Seattle with its witty characterizations, rainbow-bright costumes, and rags-to-riches ending that celebrates the power of love and forgiveness.

Cinderella will be performed in Italian with easy-to-follow English titles.

WNO notes that further details will be forthcoming as the performance date approaches. Meanwhile, why don’t you circle May 16 on your calendar right now and save the date?


* “M&M’s” is a registered trademark of the Mars Company.

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Terry Ponick
Biographical Note: Dateline Award-winning music and theater critic for The Connection Newspapers and the Reston-Fairfax Times, Terry was the music critic for the Washington Times print edition (1994-2010) and online Communities (2010-2014). Since 2014, he has been the Business and Entertainment Editor for Communities Digital News (CDN). A former stockbroker and a writer and editor with many interests, he served as editor under contract from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and continues to write on science and business topics. He is a graduate of Georgetown University (BA, MA) and the University of South Carolina where he was awarded a Ph.D. in English and American Literature and co-founded one of the earliest Writing Labs in the country. Twitter: @terryp17