By Brittany Young
Every fall, the Washington National Opera company partners with the Washington Nationals baseball team to present a unique event, “Opera in the Outfield,” which features an opera displayed on the high-definition NatsHD scoreboard at Nationals Park. This family-friendly night draws a large crowd each year. This free event which took place on Saturday, September 29, allows attendees to watch the opera while sprawling on the outfield grass or sitting in the stands, and hosts a variety of smaller events. These include operatic performances by students, a contest to win free tickets to the National Symphony Orchestra, M&M’s candy guessing games (the event is sponsored by Mars) and elementary school band performances.
This year, the opera of choice was Il barbiere di Siviglia, known in English as “The Barber of Seville” by Gioachino Rossini. First performed in 1816, this opera stands as the premiere example of “opera buffa,” a genre which includes comic operas written in Italian in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and contrasts the “opera seria” genre of the same time period. Opera seria deals with more serious dramatic content.
The plot of the opera is set in 17th century Spain, and centers around the complicated love story of Rosina, a beautiful young maiden, and Count Almaviva, a wealthy aristocrat who woos her all while disguised as a poor student named “Lindoro.”
Several vocal performance majors from Catholic’s Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, Drama, and Art had the opportunity to attend the event this past weekend . As true opera connoisseurs, they offered their opinion. Sophomore Vocal Performance Major Julia Kelley was particularly amazed by the fact that 10,000 people, of all ages, attended the event and believes that events like these in particular can increase widespread appreciation for opera.
This event creates a fun, inspirational, and informative atmosphere for all in attendance, but more importantly it consistently provides an outlet (this was the 11th season of the beloved “Opera on the Outfield” tradition) for those who might not normally get a chance to experience opera. By partnering with the Washington Nationals, the Washington National Opera makes professional opera available to students, families, and opera fans of all ages alike.