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Libiamo! La Traviata with the Washington National Opera **SOLD OUT**

The Italian Cultural Institute and the Washington National Opera (WNO) are pleased to present a special preview of Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata debuting on October 6th at the Kennedy Center.

WNO’s Artistic Director Francesca Zambello 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 most famous work, an everlasting story of love and sacrifice. From the famous “brindisi” drinking song to the heartbreaking “Addio del passato” aria, La Traviata captures Violetta’s unforgettable plight and illuminates tensions of social class that ring just as true today. 

The program will also feature musical performances with soprano Venera Gimadieva (Violetta) and tenor Joshua Guerrero (Alfredo), in addition to an introduction by Maestro Renato Palumbo.



Presented in collaboration with

wno logo


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. Ticket availability date subject to change.



PREVIEW (via YouTube)



About WNO

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.


Francesca Zambello

zambelloInternationally recognized director of opera and theater Francesca Zambello is the Artistic Director of Washington National Opera, a post she has held since 2012. She has directed many WNO productions, including Of Mice and Men (debut in 2001), Fidelio, Billy Budd, Porgy and Bess, Salome, Show Boat, The Force of Destiny, the world premiere children’s opera The Lion, the Unicorn, and Me, Florencia in the Amazon, The Little Prince, Dialogues of the Carmelites, Dead Man Walking, Aida, and Candide. In the spring of 2016, she also directed WNO’s first-ever complete Ring cycles, and brought the production to San Francisco Opera in 2018, both to great critical and public acclaim.

Since September 2010 she has also been the Artistic and General Director of The Glimmerglass Festival in Central New York. She served as the Artistic Advisor to the San Francisco Opera from 2005 to 2011 and as the Artistic Director of the Skylight Theater from 1987 to 1992, and as an adjunct professor at Yale University. Zambello’s American directing debut took place at the Houston Grand Opera with a production of Fidelio in 1984, and her European debut took place at Teatro la Fenice in Venice with Beatrice di Tenda in 1987.

A hallmark of Zambello’s creative leadership is collaborating with outstanding artists and designers and promoting emerging talent, while championing women and diversity among her artistic and production personnel. She takes a special interest in new music-theater works, innovative productions, and producing theater and opera for wider audiences. She has staged many new productions at major theaters, festivals, and opera houses in Europe, Asia, and the United States.

Inducted in 2018 as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Zambello’s honors and awards also include the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French government, the Russian Federation’s medal for Service to Culture, the Palme d’Or in Germany, the Golden Mask in Russia, two Helpmann Awards in Australia, and the Medallion Society Award from San Francisco Opera for 30 years of artistic service. In London, she has also won three Olivier Awards from the Society of Theaters and two Evening Standard Awards for Best Musical and Best Opera.

An American who grew up in Europe, Zambello speaks French, Italian, German, and Russian. She attended Moscow University and Colgate University and began her career as an Assistant Director to the late Jean-Pierre Ponnelle.


Venera Gimadieva 

gimadievaHailed as ‘the new voice of Russia’ and the star of the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Venera Gimadieva has quickly become one of the most sought-after lyric coloratura sopranos in Europe. Her performances as Violetta La traviata have earned sensational reviews, with the Guardian describing her Glyndebourne Festival debut in the role as “thrilling…She is a soprano of huge presence, compelling to watch, with a voice of thrilling security and range, and a special quality to her quieter singing that makes you hang on every note. It’s a remarkable, touching Glyndebourne debut.”

Engagements in the 2017-18 season include the title role of Lucia di Lammermoor (for returns to the Semperoper Dresden and the Teatro Real, Madrid, as well as her house debut at the Bayerische Staatsoper); Elvira I puritani (Wiener Staatsoper) and a recital at the Wigmore Hall.

Highlights of the 2016-2017 season included the Queen of Shemakha The Golden Cockerel (four house debuts at La Monnaie, Brussels and Santa Fe Opera, as well as a return to the Teatro Real, Madrid); the title role of Lucia di Lammermoor in Zürich and Beijing; and Violetta La traviata in Dresden.

Other recent highlights include Violetta La traviata for both her debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and her USA debut at the Hollywood Bowl with the LA Philharmonic Orchestra; Norina Don Pasquale at the Bolshoi; the title role of Lucia di Lammermoor in Limoges, Rheims and Rouen; Giulietta I Capuleti e I Montecchi at the Deutsche Oper Berlin; and Elvira I puritani at the Teatro Real Madrid; her first Juliette Roméo et Juliette opposite Juan Diego Flórez’s first Roméo in Lima, Violetta La traviata (La Fenice, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Paris Opera, Opéra de Limoges, Opéra de Reims, Hungarian State Opera and Savonlinna Opera Festival), Gilda Rigoletto (Hungarian State Opera), and an appearance at the BBC Proms with the John Wilson Orchestra.

Until recently Gimadieva was a member of the ensemble at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, having studied on their young artist programme, as well as at the Kazan Music College and the St. Petersburg State Conservatoire. Her roles at the Bolshoi have included Gilda Rigoletto, Marfa The Tsar’s Bride, Ksenia Boris Godunov, Amina in a new production of La Sonnambula (a performance that won the 2014 Golden Mask award for Best Female Performer in Opera), Violetta in a new production of La traviata by Francesca Zambello, the title role of Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Snow-Maiden, the Queen of Shemakha in a new production of The Golden Cockerel by Kirill Serebriannikov and conducted by Vassily Sinaisky, Sirin in Rimsky-Korasakov’s The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and Maiden Fevronia, and Serpina in Pergolesi’s La serva padrona. Concert performances in Moscow include Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem with the Russian National Orchestra conducted by Mikhail Pletnev at the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall.


Joshua Guerrero 

guerreroProclaimed a “gifted young tenor” by the New York Times, Grammy award winner Joshua Guerrero makes his Glyndebourne Festival debut as Pinkerton in a new production of Madama Butterfly in the 2017-2018 season. He will also be heard as the Duke in Rigoletto for his debuts with the Canadian Opera Company and Michigan Opera Theatre, as well as his first performances of Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor at Florida Grand Opera. He returns to the Santa Fe Opera in more performances of Madama Butterfly and will be heard in a concert of opera arias and duets with soprano Joyce El-Khoury and the NDR Radiophilharmonie, which will be broadcast on television throughout Germany.

Recently, Mr. Guerrero returned to the Los Angeles Opera in his role debut as Macduff in Macbeth with Plácido Domingo as Macbeth and James Conlon conducting which will be released commercially on Sony DVD. He debuted in the same role in Barrie Kosky’s production at the Zurich Opera with Gianandrea Noseda conducting and made his London debut at the English National Opera as the Duke of Mantova in Jonathan Miller’s famous production of Rigoletto. In concert, he toured Europe with Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolivar Orchestra singing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and sang Haydn’s Creation with Dudamel and the LA Philharmonic. He made his Baltimore Symphony Orchestra debut with Marin Alsop in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and was a featured soloist at the Richard Tucker Music Foundation Gala at Carnegie Hall.

Mr. Guerrero has sung Greenhorn in Jake Heggie’s Moby Dick and a new production of John Corigliano’s Ghosts of Versailles at LA Opera. He made his European operatic debut as Gabriele Adorno in Simon Boccanegra at Opéra National de Bordeaux and then was seen as Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore at Teatro de la Maestranza in Seville. He made his Santa Fe Opera debut as Roméo in Roméo et Juliette on short notice with “heroic, beautiful sound” (Washington Post). In concert, Mr. Guerrero has been seen with Gustavo Dudamel in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with both the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Simón Bolivar Orchestras, as well as Verdi’s Requiem with the Santa Fe Symphony. He made his role debut as Rodolfo in La bohème with Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela in Caracas. In the summer of 2015, Mr. Guerrero appeared at a special gala honoring Plácido Domingo at the Salzburg Festival.

As a member of the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program at Los Angeles Opera, his appearances include his mainstage debut as Normanno in Lucia di Lammermoor, followed by the role of Steve Hubbell in A Streetcar Named Desire. He also appeared in the Cathedral production of Jonah and the Whale and made his debut at the Ravinia Festival with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under the baton of James Conlon singing the role of the Messenger in Aida.

Mr. Guerrero was the second prize-winner at Plácido Domingo’s Operalia Competition in 2014 and the recipient of the 2016 Richard Tucker Career Grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation. He is a Grammy award winner for Los Angeles Opera’s recording of Corigliano’s Ghosts of Versailles (Best Opera Recording).


Renato Palumbo

palumboDriven by passion and calling for music, Renato Palumbo devoted himself soon to the study of singing, orchestral and chorus conducting, piano and composition, together with a passionate interest in all the aspects of Opera Theatre till his debut on the podium with Il trovatore when he was only nineteen.

From that moment on, Renato Palumbo embarks on a great career, interpreter of a huge repertoire, guest of the most important international theatres, such as Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Opéra Bastille in Paris, Covent Garden in London, Liceu de Barcelona, Washington National Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, Berlin Deutsche Oper, Tokio, Bilbao, Carlo Felice in Genoa, Teatro Lirico in Cagliari, Teatro Regio in Turin and in Parma, Maggio Musicale in Florence, La Fenice in Venice, San Carlo in Naples, Martina Franca Festival, Rossini Opera Festival and the Arena in Verona. In 2009, he also inaugurated, conducting Turandot, the new Teatro Petruzzelli in Bari, rebuilt after the fire of 1991.

Renato Palumbo’s vocation concerns in a non-dogmatic but strict attitude of absolute respect for the score and focuses its attention to the aspect of the dramaturgy of Melodrama and to its evolution in the whole European panorama, from Rossini to Marschner, from Donizetti and Bellini to Verdi, Meyerbeer, Puccini and Giordano. With the same spirit he devotes himself to the symphonic music, from Viennese classicism to Mahler and Hindemith, passing through the big romantic and pre-romantic German repertoire, Dvoràk, Grieg, Tchaikovsky.

Another remarkable peculiarity of Renato Palumbo as a conductor and didactically speaking is the interest in Melodrama also from the vocal point of view.

He has been decorated Cavaliere della Repubblica Italiana for his artistic merits.


  • Organizzato da: IIC Washington
  • In collaborazione con: WNO