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Wolf Trap announces 2016 season: the classical view

In 1991 the film director Istvan Szabo, bemused by his recent encounter with the opera world, made a movie called “Meeting Venus” about backstage shenanigans preparing for a performance at an opera house (starring Glenn Close as the diva). Szabo was far from the first to take on this subject. Before Szabo, before Richard Strauss’s “Ariadne auf Naxos” (the first act of which deals with the travails of getting an opera on stage), there was Florian Leopold Gassmann’s “L’opera seria,” about an opera company that has one day to prepare an opera performance, while everyone is concerned mainly with his or her own interests and at the end, the impresario runs off with all the money. It was written in 1769, and it’s coming to the Wolf Trap Opera this summer for its American premiere.

Known for eclectic programming that finds the right works to showcase and challenge young artists’ voices, the Wolf Trap Opera is offering as wide a range as it ever has this summer. At one end of the scale is this little-known 18th-century opera by a composer who, although he was Court Composer in Vienna in his day, is virtually forgotten. At the other end of the scale is a “La Boheme” at the Filene Center, staged by the international director Paul Curran. In between is Benjamin Britten’s “The Rape of Lucretia,” starring the former Marian Anderson award-winner J’nai Bridges, who, like many Wolf Trap singers, is returning for a second year.


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