Washington National Opera to Premiere ‘Blue’

By Francisco Salazar
(Credit: Karli Cadel)

The Washington National Opera is set to present the D.C. premiere of “Blue.”

The production, which is set to be performed from March 11 to 25, 2023 at the Eisenhower Theater, is inspired by contemporary events and Black literature, including Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “Between the World and Me” and James Baldwin’s “The Fire Next Time.”

Written by Jeanine Tesori and librettist and director Tazewell Thompson, the the opera was commissioned by WNO Artistic Director Francesca Zambello and premiered at the Glimmerglass Festival in 2019. WNO was scheduled to perform the work in 2020, when the global pandemic postponed its D.C. premiere.

For the DC premiere, the three principals will be portrayed by Kenneth Kellogg (former WNO Cafritz Young Artist) and Aaron Crouch leading the cast as Father and Son. Mezzo-soprano Briana Hunter will portray the Mother.

In a statement, Washington National Opera Artistic Director Francesca Zambello said, “When I commissioned this work in 2019, I had no idea that America would face civilization-shifting events that included a pandemic and an insurrection or that the Black Lives Matter movement would galvanize change around the globe. We must harness the power of great art to foster empathy, fuel progress, and bring healing. I believe that America needs Blue’s message of hope and humanity now more than ever.”