Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Again No Room For American Opera At The Kennedy Center? ... Cultural Conservatives Hail WNO 'Ring' As Most Culturally Important!

"The Washington National Opera has announced its 2008-09 season ... The complete cycle of all four [of Richard Wagner's] Ring operas [sic] in November 2009, the first ever for the company, will be one of the most important cultural events in the history of Washington, D.C." ...

Charles T. Downey Ionarts January 16, 2008


According to Monday's Washington Post, the Washington National Opera will also present in 2008-09 a new American opera (to be revealed at a later date and to be staged at a not yet disclosed venue) with the members of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program.

The German National Opera [Deutsche Oper Berlin] produced two cyles of Richard Wagner's four music dramas, the Ring, at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in May and June 1989 -- one half a year before the Fall of the Berlin Wall. It is inconceivable that the German National Opera of Berlin, or indeed any other European Opera House, would ever mount a season without a single opera or music drama by a classical composer from that nation.

Image of John F. Kennedy speaking at the Berlin Wall, Divided Europe, June 26, 1963.

Augustus Saint-Gaudens, American, 1848 - 1907
Shaw Memorial
, 1900, patinated plaster
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
On Loan from U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, Cornish, New Hampshire

[Currently off-view during staged major renovations to the NGA West Building Galleries.]

[Click on image for enlargement.]


"The Memorial to Robert Gould Shaw and the Massachusetts 54th Regiment, also known as The Shaw Memorial, has been acclaimed as the greatest American sculpture of the 19th century. Created by the preeminent sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848–1907), the monumental relief depicts Colonel Robert Gould Shaw and the valiant members of the Massachusetts 54th Regiment—the first African American infantry unit from the North to fight for the Union during the Civil War—marching to battle. Among the soldiers were Frederick Douglass' sons Charles and Lewis. The Shaw Memorial, usually on view in the West Building, Gallery 66, is temporarily off-view."

The National Gallery of Art also offers an online tour of some of the more than 150 works of art by African Americans in the Gallery's collection.

Photo and caption credit: (c) National Gallery of Art. 2007. All rights reserved.


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