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The Embassy of Italy, the Italian Cultural Institute and the Washington National Opera are pleased to present a special preview of Giuseppe Verdi’s Otello debuting at the J. F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on October 26th.

Director David Alden and Conductor Daniele Callegari will take you inside the composer's mind and into the history and social context of the opera, explaining the behind the scenes of this revival of Verdi’s monumental retelling of Shakespeare’s masterpiece, last staged by WNO nearly 20 years ago.

As a raging storm breaks on Cyprus, the governor Otello returns victorious from battle. But there is another storm brewing. Iago, Otello’s ensign, launches a malicious scheme to lead his chief to believe his wife Desdemona is unfaithful. As Iago’s manipulations decay Otello’s trust in those he loves, the great hero will confront his most fatal enemy: his own jealousy.

The program will also feature musical performances from the opera by soprano Leah Crocetto (Desdemona) and baritone George Gagnidze (Iago).


This program is organized in collaboration with The Washington National Opera under the High Patronage of the President of the Italian Republic as part of the 19th Week of Italian Language in the World, an event promoted yearly by the Italian diplomatic and cultural network to foster the diffusion of the Italian language in the world.


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Embassy of Italy
3000 Whitehaven Street NW 
Washington, DC 20008


Please Note



Due to new safety regulations, we are not allowed to add extra seats to the auditorium or let anyone stand. A registration is not a guarantee of a seat as these are assigned on a first-come first-served basis. Doors close at event start-time.

Once the event is full we will not accept wait list requests. A limited number of “last call" registrations will be available on Eventbrite between 9:00 AM and 2:00 PM on the day of the event.



PREVIEW (via Youtube)



**  SOLD OUT  **




Founded in 1956 as a modest but intrepid ensemble known as the Opera Society of Washington, Washington National Opera (WNO) is today one of America’s largest opera companies. WNO draws inspiration from a rich legacy built on the values of artistic excellence, engagement with a broad community, and a thriving future for the art form of opera and its audiences. As an affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, WNO performs fall and spring seasons in the 2,200-seat Kennedy Center Opera House. WNO also offers performances on Millennium Stage and at other venues at the Center and throughout the city, and offers training, educational, and enrichment programs year-round.




One of the world’s most influential and prolific directors of opera, David Alden received the prestigious ‘South Bank Show Award’ for his production of Britten`s Peter Grimes and an Olivier Award for Janácek`s Jenůfa at English National Opera (ENO), a production which was shared with Houston Grand Opera and Washington National Opera. He also received the ‘Bavarian Theatre Prize for Individual Artistic Achievement’, marking a long time relationship with the Bavarian State Opera.

Alden studied at the University of Pennsylvania. He made his European debut directing Rigoletto for Scottish Opera. From the mid-1980s he directed many productions for English National Opera, where his many credits include award-winning productions of Peter Grimes and Jenufa. Alden also has a close relationship with Bavarian State Opera, where his productions have included La Calisto, L’incoronazione di Poppea and Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria, Ariodante, Orlando, Rinaldo and Rodelinda, Semiramide, Tannhäuser, La forza del destino, Der Ring des Nibelungen, The Queen of Spades and Lulu. In 2006 the Bavarian State Opera revived eight of his productions to celebrate its association with Alden, and he was awarded a special Bavarian Theatre Prize for Individual Artistic Achievement in recognition of his artistic contribution to the company.

Other credits include Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg for Dutch National Opera, Un ballo in maschera for the Metropolitan Opera, New York, Les Huguenots for Deutsche Oper Berlin, Otello for Teatro Real, Madrid, and Khovanshchina for Opera Vlaanderen. His film and television work includes a BBC documentary on the life of Verdi and a film of Winterreise with Ian Bostridge and Julius Drake. He has also directed a world concert tour for Pet Shop Boys.




Daniele Callegari was born in Milan, Italy. He studied at the Conservatory of Music in his home town where he studied double bass and percussions . He was only 22 years old when he was selected to take part of the Teatro alla Scala orchestra, where he remained for 12 years, playing with the most prestigious conductors.

Working daily with high level names such as Abbado, Bernstein, Gergiev, Giulini, Kleiber, Maazel, Mehta, Muti, Ozawa, Pretre, Sawallisch, Sinopoli became an incentive for him to go back to the Conservatory where he majored in composition and conducting. Starting in the 90’s, his career developed in the most important theaters in Italy and abroad, making him in a short time one of the most prominent conductors of his generation.

His repertory includes titles like: “Arlesiana” by Cilea, “I Quatro Rusteghi” by Wolf-Ferrari, “I Cavalieri di Ekebu’” by Zandonai, “Siberia”by Giordano, “Alessandro Stradella” by Flotow, “Le Rois Arthus” by Chausson, “Orleanskaya Deva” by Tchaikovsky. He has been invited by the major theatres and most prestigious concert halls in the world, such as Carnegie Hall in New York, Canadian Opera in Toronto, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, Thèatre du Capitole in Toulouse, Deutsche Oper and Staatsoper in Berlin, Teatro alla Scala, Israeli Opera di Tel Aviv, La Monnaie in Bruxelles, Dresden Semperoper in Dresden, Gasteig in Munich, Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, Macerata Opera Festival in Macerata, La Fenice in Venice, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence, Teatro Massimo in Palermo, Metropolitan Opera in New York, Nederland Opera in Amsterdam, New National Theatre in Tokyo, Opèra in Montecarlo, Opèra Bastille in Paris, Thèatre des Champs Elysèes in Paris, Teatro Comunale in Bologna, Teatro dell’Opera in Rome, Teatro Regio in Torino, Teatro Regio in Parma, Wiener Staatsoper in Vienna.

Daniele Callegari has conducted some of the major symphonic orchestras in the world, like the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France, Orchestre Philharmonique de Montecarlo, Hessischer Rundfunk Sinfonie-Orchester in Frankfurt, La Monnaie Orchestre in Bruxelles,Orchestre National del’Ile de France in Paris, Orchestre National de Lille, Orchestre National de Belgique, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI in Turin,MDR Sinfonieorchester in Leipzig,National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Tokyo Philharmonic, Orquesta Nacional de Madrid, Orquesta Filarmonica de Gran Canaria, Brabant Orkest in Eindhoven, Prague Philarmonia, Orchestra Sinfonica G. Verdi in Milan, Gurzenich-Orchester in Cologne, Berlin Staatsoper Orchester, Bayerische Staatsoper Orchester in Munich and Tonkunstler-Orchester in Vienna.




Described by the New York Times as possessing an “agile coloratura technique and a feeling for the Italianate style… with warmth, full penetrating sound and tenderness,” American soprano Leah Crocetto continues to astonish audiences with her moving portrayals of opera’s greatest heroines.

In the current season, Ms. Crocetto sings the title role of Aïda in her debut with Opera Australia. She returns to Washington National Opera as Desdemona in Otello, followed by performances of Liu in Turandot with Palm Beach Opera and Verdi’s Requiem with the Philadelphia Orchestra. In the spring, she is Elisabetta in Don Carlo for Dallas Opera, and takes on the title role of Norma for Pittsburgh Opera.

Last season, Ms. Crocetto was Norma in concert with North Carolina Opera, followed by her solo recital debut at Carnegie Hall with pianist Mark Markham. With Seattle Opera, she performed the role of Leonora in Il trovatore, and debuted with the Melbourne Symphony as the soprano soloist in Verdi’s Requiem. On the concert stage, she performed the Soprano II role in Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 “Symphony of a Thousand,” first with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel, and subsequently with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the Ravinia Festival under Marin Alsop.




 “The Georgian baritone George Gagnidze was an exceptionally menacing Scarpia, singing with robust, earthy power and seductive lyricism when the villain turns on the charm”. With these words the New York Times hailed George Gagnidze in a 2008 performance of Tosca at Avery Fisher Hall at the New York Lincoln Center. One year later he made his sensational debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York as Rigoletto, and has since then ranked among the leading singers of his genre.

Regularly invited by the most prestigious international opera companies, performances of the 2019/20 season include the title role of Nabucco at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Iago in Otello for his debut at the Washington National Opera and in a gala performance in Mannheim as well as Scarpia in Tosca at the Metropolitan Opera and the Teatro San Carlo in Naples.

In 2018/19, the star baritone made his role debut as Michele in Il tabarro at the Metropolitan Opera, where he also sang the title role of Rigoletto. He also performed Giorgio Germont in La traviata and Iago in Otello at the Paris Opera, Iago at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, his first Sharpless in Madama Butterfly at the Royal Opera House of Muscat in Oman and Alfio in Cavalleria rusticana for his house debut at the Teatro San Carlo and in open-air performances at the Sassi di Matera, telecast all over Europe.

Among his engagements of the 2017/18 season were Tonio in Pagliacci and Alfio in Cavalleria rusticana at the Metropolitan Opera and at the Hamburg State Opera, Amonasro in Aida at the Teatro Real Madrid and at the Teatro alla Scala, Iago in Otello with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl and his role debut as Barnaba in La Gioconda at the Deutsche Oper Berlin.




Michael Baitzer has established himself as one of his generation’s top opera, audition and recital pianists. He is currently the Head of Music Staff at Washington National Opera as well as the Administrative Director of the Bonfils-Stanton Young Artist Program at Central City Opera, where he also serves as the Principal Coach. A graduate of Drake University with degrees in Vocal and Piano Performance, he attended the University of Minnesota and New England Conservatory of Music, studying with Margo Garrett and John Moriarty.

He received additional training with Minnesota Opera, Houston Grand Opera Studio, Aspen Opera Theater Center and the Merola Opera Program. He has served on the Music Staff at Central City Opera, Spoleto Festival USA, and Wolf Trap Opera, where he was the Head of Music Staff in 2011. He also was a Faculty member of The Juilliard School from 1999-2009. Long known as one of the top Opera audition pianists, Michael has also been heard with singers in recitals throughout the country with organizations such as The Marilyn Horne Foundation and Young Concert Artists.



Data: Gio 24 Ott 2019

Orario: Dalle 18:00 alle 20:00

Organizzato da : Italian Cultural Institute

In collaborazione con : Washington National Opera

Ingresso : Libero


Embassy of Italy