Politicians a No-Show at Washington Opera; Kanye West at LA Opera

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - 12:00 PM

Ketevan Kemoklidze as Preziosilla and the company of 'La Forza del Destino' at Washington National Opera Ketevan Kemoklidze as Preziosilla and the company of 'La Forza del Destino' at Washington National Opera (Scott Suchman)

You can tell a lot about a city’s opera culture by who shows up for opening nights – or doesn't.

The Washington National Opera unveiled a new production of Verdi’s La Forza Del Destino Saturday night, but the gala event turned out to be a low-key affair because of the government shutdown.

The Washington Post's Reliable Source column reports that most of the elected officials who normally attend the A-list social event were missing in action. Supreme Court justice and perennial opera lover Ruth Bader Ginsberg was one of the few government heavyweights who did make an appearance. The Kennedy Center has been partially closed since the shutdown began, and politicians have been avoiding the limelight. Reviews for the Verdi production, by Francesca Zambello, have been largely positive.

Meanwhile, Philip Glass and Robert Wilson’s Einstein on the Beach made a stop at the Los Angeles Opera over the weekend, drawing a starry crowd that included Jack Nicholson as well as Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. The celebrity couple were said to arrive late for the five-hour opera, and apparently weren't entranced by the plotless, stream-of-consciousness production. San Bernadino Sun critic Jim Farber writes:

Then, about an hour into the performance an entourage that included Kanye West and Kim Kardashian clambered over us and took their seats. Perhaps they thought they were at the Nokia Center rather than the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion because they immediately got up, went back to the lobby and purchased cocktails, which they proceeded to bring back to their seats. Sip. Sip.

A few moments later a uniformed usher made his way down the aisle, informed the celebs about the house rules and confiscated their libations. About an hour after that (well before the end of the performance) they bolted for parts unknown. (I, however, had no intention of keeping up with the Kardashians).

For his part, Los Angeles Times music critic Mark Swed called the Einstein production a "momentous event" and reported that the opera's creators received "one of the most thrilling, thunderous ovations in the history of L.A. Opera."


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Comments [10]

David, I second that, after working on the Hill for nearly 20 years before going back full time to University to study Music, the less I have to do with the Pols. the better. You know they are lying because their lips are moving. Good comment. Charles Fischbein

Oct. 17 2013 10:27 AM
concetta nardone from Nassau

And when politicians show up, they usually create mischief such as kicking the can down the road rather than fix our financial problems.

Oct. 17 2013 07:12 AM

"Politicians a No-Show at Washington Opera"

That in itself is something to celebrate.

Oct. 16 2013 09:18 PM
concetta nardone from Nassau

Frank: What other word would you use for politicians. Do not know if your comments were meant for me. I tend to be a little salty. Actually the word I used was rather mild.
Best wishes

Oct. 16 2013 02:28 PM
concetta nardone from Nassau

Cellostudent: Hope you did not get offended by my use of the word "whore".
As for politicians getting walk on parts during the opera, years ago, the governor of Connecticut (forgot his name) was on stage during a performance of Barber of Seville during the mob scene (actually he was on for the two performances). He got a pie in the face both evenings. I would have loved to see that.

Oct. 16 2013 02:23 PM

When Placido Domingo was General Director, of The Washington Opera he went out of his way to court Washington's "so called elite politicians". He even gave a number of them walk on roles in full costume, for no other reason than to solicit them for big bucks later. Now who was the "whore"?
But even these sleazy tactics of Domingos failed to work and the Washington Opera had to be bailed out by the Kennedy Center, which is now responsible for all of its financial matters. Bye Bye Placido, don't let the door hit you on the way out. I struggled through years of his declining performances, watching hordes give up season subscriptions and productions fall to a level of a High School comedy. Hope things will get better soon, would love to have a first class Opera Company close to home. Charles Fischbein

Oct. 16 2013 01:44 PM
Frank Weimer

Just goes to show -- money can't buy class, manners or etiquette.

Oct. 16 2013 11:57 AM
concetta nardone from Nassau

Big deal. Politicians are a special breed of whore.

Oct. 16 2013 09:41 AM
Ed from Sicily

Hi Fred,
A little off subject but I was in Noto 2 days ago and found Corrado Costanzo closed and out of business. Could this be true?

Oct. 16 2013 03:28 AM

Keeping up with the Kardashians! I think not! These people would go to the opening of a phone book to get into the spotlight. Who cares if they show for anything, and especially their weddings?

Oct. 15 2013 01:43 PM

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