Metro Weekly

Opera Outdoors presents “the best of opera and musical theater” for free

Washington Concert Opera offers the free outdoor concert on the upper field of Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park

Washington concert opera
Opera Outside — Photo: Stan Engebretson

This weekend, opera aficionados have two opportunities to appreciate the artform in casual settings in the great outdoors — both offered for free.

Washington Concert Opera, a 35-year-old organization dedicated to presenting “rarely performed operatic masterpieces” as well as expanding opportunities for artists and outreach to youth, will feature a free outdoor concert on the upper field of Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park, Sunday, Sept. 12, at 11 a.m.

A partnership with Washington Parks & People, the concert will feature “selections from the best of opera and musical theater” performed by two critically heralded young opera singers, soprano and cabaret artist Ashley Marie Robillard, a regular with Opera Philadelphia and alumnus of the Curtis Institute of Music and Wolf Trap Opera Company, and baritone Efrain Solis, a regular with San Francisco Opera and Opera San Jose and graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

They will be accompanied on piano by an equally heralded young artist, David Hanlon, a Manhattan School of Music alum increasingly known for his work as a composer.

Spectators are able to “come and go as you please,” and are welcome to bring along children, pets, food and drink, blankets and chairs as well. Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park is located at 16th and W Streets NW. Visit www.concertopera.org.

The day prior, on Saturday, Sept. 11, starting at 5 p.m., Opera Lafayette presents a concert in the East Garden of the Hill Center celebrating the announcement of its 2022 season. Founded more than 25 years ago by Artistic Director Ryan Brown, the internationally heralded, D.C.-rooted company chiefly focuses on performing pre-20th century works using period instruments.

With highlights of the season including both familiar and rediscovered treasures, the short program will feature company regulars soprano Pascale Beaudin, bass/contrabass player Doug Baillett, and pianist Jeffery Watson, plus two company newcomers, tenor Arnold Livingston Geis, a recent graduate of Washington National Opera’s Cafritz Young Artist Program gaining notice for his work in theater as well as opera, and guitarist Dylan Kober, a 2021 graduate of the University of Colorado, Denver. Socially distanced seating will be available. Advance registration requested at www.operalafayette.org.

Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital is located at 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. Call 202-549-4172 or visit www.HillCenterDC.org.

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