Washington National Opera to Hold Panel ‘Soaring Service’

By Francisco Salazar

In anticipation of the World Premiere of Jeanine Tessori and George Brant’s “Grounded,” the WNO is hosting a panel discussion at the Military Women’s Memorial on Oct. 23.

The panel will include real female pilots whose experience is similar to the opera heroine, Jess. The evening opens with a performance by WNO Cafritz Young Artist alumna Hannah Shea, who will perform selections from the new opera. The following panelists will include Lt. Col. Tammy Barlette, a former U.S. Air Force fighter pilot who has logged more than 3,000 total flight hours and over 1,500 hours of combat support time in both Iraq and Afghanistan; Maj. Scott Swanson, a retired U.S. Air Force pilot and pioneer in unmanned systems including the Predator Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAS); Ret. Col. Elspeth Cameron “Cam” Ritchie, MD, MPH, current chief of psychiatry at Medstar Washington Hospital Center and a forensic psychiatrist with expertise in military and veteran’s issues; and George Brant, Grounded librettist.

The panel will be moderated by WNO Artistic Director Francesca Zambello.

Grounded” is set to make its world premiere on Oct. 28 and run through Nov. 13, 2023.