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PENNY at the Washington National Opera

The hour-long opera PENNY, about an autistic singer, with music by Douglas Pew and words by me, DW, will premiere on January 23 and 24, 2015, at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater. Tickets available here. This project is a WNO/KC American Opera Initiative one-hour commission, performed by the Washington National Opera. Directed by Alan Paul, conducted by Anne Manson.

To quote from the writeup on BroadwayWorld:

“Developed from an original story by Weinberg, Penny tells the tale of Penny Rutherford, a woman with a disability who discovers her talent for music, and the ensuing conflict with her family as she changes and grows more independent.

A Game of Hearts, the first collaboration of Pew and Weinberg, had its world premiere in November 2012 in the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater. The comedic opera depicted a group of widows in a Seattle nursing home as they reminisced about their pasts and faced their current situation. Following its critically acclaimed bow in Washington, A Game of Hearts was subsequently presented by Cincinnati’s North American New Opera Workshop in May 2013 and was performed at the prestigious OPERA America New Works Forum in January 2014.

“When I first heard A Game of Hearts, I was struck by the sophistication of the storytelling in both the music and the libretto and I am thrilled that Doug and Dara are returning for this new commission,” said Michael Heaston, the director of the American Opera Initiative for WNO. “I am proud that our program is achieving its mission-to continue to foster new American talent and to provide a forum for contemporary American stories and music.”

The cast of Penny includes many current members of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, including mezzo-soprano Deborah Nansteel, soprano Kerriann Otano, bass Wei Wu, and tenor Patrick O’Halloran. Rounding out the cast are baritone James Shaffran and baritone Trevor Scheunemann, an alumnus of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program who was seen earlier this season as Marcello in WNO’s La boheme.”

If you are in DC or Baltimore next weekend, I very much hope you will join us.

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