We all have people we look up to -- as role models, as the kind of grown-ups we'd like to become one day. For many kids, it's more often than not baseball players, or rappers. For Opera Chic though, it's Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman ever on the US Supreme Court, who despite her monster brains and wisdom and cutting wit manages to carry herself lightly -- and we like that in our heroes. Pioneer of equal rights for American women, professor at Rutgers and Columbia, the first woman to appear on the Harvard Law Review AND the Columbia Law Review, Justice Ruth -- usually the smartest person in the room, and quite often the only woman in there -- spent her life and career drilling more than a few big holes through that old glass ceiling. And if and when, one day, that ceiling is truly shattered, we'll owe Justice Ruth and women like her a debt of gratitude that's probably impossible to repay.
Being so awesome, Justice Ruth is also a huge opera fan -- thus making her the perfect hero for Opera Chic. And last night, she went to the opera house with her good friend "Big Tony" Scalia (probably the most intelligent man ever to utter the zany words "gay agenda" with a straight face -- Antonio, relax, they won't give you a makeover if you don't want to; even if you really need one pretty badly).
Last night's opening of Washington National Opera Ariadne auf Naxos boasted supernumeraries of a special kind: the above mentioned Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg & Antonin Scalia, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, Professor Martin Ginsburg and arts philanthropist Adrienne Arsht all turned out to appear in on-stage as non-speaking party guests.
(Above: Justice "Big Tony" Scalia with Zerbinetta's Lyubov Petrova)
From the WNO press release:
Justice Scalia added, “I can’t remember when I’ve ever had more fun on stage.” The renowned conservative jurist chuckled throughout the performance, and at one point blushed in earnest when Russian soprano Lyubov Petrova, who played the care-free minx Zerbinetta, plopped down on his lap and draped an arm around him, leading the entire audience to erupt in applause.
Ginsburg & Scalia, both avid opera fans, have already appeared on the WNO stage, first in 1994 in Die Fledermausand again in 2006 for a 50th Anniversary Gala. All photos are credited to Karin Cooper for WNO.
(Above: Zerbinetta's Lyubov Petrova takes a bow while Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg & Antonin Scalia look on)
(Photos above and below: Karin Cooper- Washington National)
Washington National Opera, that sweet little gub'mint pearl under the nurturing hand of Placido Domingo, is giving back to the American Armed Forces as part of their 54th Season Opener. Tomorrow night, as the 2009/10 season opens at the Kennedy Center opera House with Rossini's Barbiere, a free simulcast party will be held at Nationals Park (home of the Eastern Division expansion team the Washington Nationals) with a live HD stream from the Kennedy Center Opera House. Out of an expected 25K turn-out, 5K will be military personnel and their families, invited by the American Armed Forces Foundation. That means no monkey business, guys...you've been warned!
Tomorrow night's Barbiere premiere will be the second year of the WNO's new "Opera in the Outfield" simulcast spectacle. OC scored the images above and below of Barbiere's stellar cast, donning Washington Nationals' red & white baseball caps in support of their home team. Lawrence Brownlee is Count Almaviva (who sang live the National Anthem at the Nationals vs. the Phillies game on Wednesday...the Nationals got served!), Simone Alberghini is Figaro, Eric Owens is Don Basilio, and Silvia Tro Santafe is Rosina. The production is a David Gately revival, and Michele Mariotti conducts.