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American Opera Initiative: Three New 20-Minute Operas Washington DC 2021

Information on the Performance
Information about the Recording
  • Published by: Kennedy Center  
  • Date Published: 2021  
  • Format: Streaming
  • Quality Video: 3 Audio:3
  • Subtitles: yessubs, ensubs  
  • This Recording is NOT AVAILABLE from a proper commercial or public source

Washington National Opera’s American Opera Initiative presents its annual concert staging of three new 20-minute operas, filmed under strict COVID safety protocols on stage at the Kennedy Center Opera House.

Las Auténticas
Ben Morris and Laura Fuentes
Jenny and her aunt Luz run a taco stand that has been named as a finalist for a social media influencer’s Most Authentic Taco title. As they await the influencer’s visit and final verdict, Jenny questions her cultural legitimacy as a first-generation Mexican-American, as Luz hearkens back to lessons learned from a lifetime of punk rock fandom. Who determines authenticity? How far should we lean into others’ expectations? Whose tacos will emerge victorious?

American Apollo
Damien Geter and Lila Palmer
American Apollo is a story forged at the crossroad of celebrity; class; race and power in America. Teasing at the impossibly closed page of the personal relationship between two intensely private people with good reasons to be silent: John Singer Sargent, the closeted celebrity image crafter and public artist and the African – American Artist’s Model; Soldier & Muse Thomas McKeller. With special contributions from Sargent Scholar Nathaniel Silver & drawing on the recent Gardner Museum exhibition: Boston’s Apollo, comes a tale of individual courage and breathtaking vulnerability that peels the varnish off venerable historical figures to reveal the beating heart & simmering desire beneath Sargent’s only uncommissioned monumental male nude. Is love blind, or does it have the keenest eyes of all?

the barren(s)
Amber Vistein and Rebecca Hart
Have you ever heard of the New Jersey Devil? If you grew up anywhere in or around southern NJ, you have. The Garden State’s ‘official state demon’ is said to reside in the wide mysterious swath of forest known as the Pine ‘Barrens’… so named because the soil is inhospitable to farming. Every year, the Barrens draws ‘dark tourists’ eager to visit the Devil’s supposed birthplace in the town of Leeds Point. In 1735, legend has it, the Devil was born human, the 13th child of a woman named Mrs. Leeds. When she uttered a fateful curse, however, her baby transformed, killing her… and haunting the woods forever.

‘the barren(s)’ takes a closer look at the woman who supposedly started it all, asking who Deborah Leeds might have been… and how her story might echo in the lives of women today.

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