After their highly successful partnership in 2017 on Philip Glass’s The Fall of the House of Usher, Wolf Trap Opera and Halcyon reunite to present Kurt Weill and Bertholt Brecht’s The Seven Deadly Sins on Saturday, June 23 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, June 24 at 1 p.m. This stunning new production will take place at Dock 5 at Union Market, one of D.C.’s most popular spaces for cutting-edge and innovative art, as part of Halcyon’s inaugural, city-spanning By The People Festival. The performances are a part of Wolf Trap Opera’s UNTRAPPED initiative, featuring performances that bring the thrill of live vocal music to new spaces and unexpected places across the Washington, Maryland, and Northern Virginia area.
“Wolf Trap’s UNTRAPPED initiative allows us to take opera to new places and unexpected spaces like Dock 5, and we are thrilled to be part of Halcyon’s inaugural By The People festival,” said Kim Pensinger Witman, Vice President, Opera and Classical Programming at Wolf Trap Foundation. “Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins is the perfect piece for this festival’s focus on arts and dialogue, and its cross-disciplinary structure will engage lovers of opera, dance, and theatre.”
The first half of the program, titled America: the Beautiful, the Blended, the Bared, explores the terrain of America’s east coast and deep south through American and American-influenced music. Wolf Trap Opera artists and dancers from Hong Kong Ballet and Terra Firma Dance Company perform arrangements of familiar songs in front of a backdrop of photos of American landmarks, drawn from audience members.
The Seven Deadly Sins comprises the entire second half of the program. Weill and Brecht’s deeply sardonic, anti-capitalist operetta unites cabaret, jazz, and other popular American musical forms. Sisters, the practical Anna I (a singer) and the impulsive Anna II (a dancer), set out across America to seek their fortune and create a new home. During their seven-year journey, they are tempted by each of the capital deadly sins. Disillusioned, they eventually give up their dreams and ideals and return to their family. Anna I will be sung by Annie Rosen, Wolf Trap Opera Filene Artist, and Anna II will be danced by Ye Feifei from Hong Kong Ballet. Anna’s family members will be sung by Piotr Buszewski, Nicholas Nestorak, Johnathan McCullough, and Anthony Reed, Filene Artists. Other Hong Kong Ballet members (Li Jiabo, Xia Jun, Kyle Lin, and Jonathan Spigner) round out the cast. The performance features artwork from American legend Robert Rauschenberg’s “Currents” and “Seven Deadly Sins,” courtesy of Michael Craig-Martin and Alan Cristea Gallery.
Continuing Wolf Trap Opera’s tradition as a top-tier operatic training program for emerging artists, all singing roles in both halves of the program will be performed by Wolf Trap Opera’s Filene Artists. Wolf Trap Opera’s elite group of young singers is chosen through a highly selective annual nationwide audition tour. The creative team includes Septime Webre (stage director and choreographer) and Joseph Li (musical director).
Wolf Trap Opera is a program of Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, produces and presents a full range of performance and education programs in the Greater Washington area, as well as nationally. Wolf Trap features three performance venues: the outdoor Filene Center and Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods, both located at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, and The Barns at Wolf Trap, located down the road from the national park and adjacent to the Center for Education at Wolf Trap. The 7,028-seat Filene Center is operated in partnership with the National Park Service and annually showcases an extensive array of diverse artists, ranging from pop, country, folk, and blues to classical music, dance, and theatre, as well as multimedia presentations, from May through September. The Barns at Wolf Trap is operated by the Wolf Trap Foundation year round, and during the summer months is home to the Grammy-nominated Wolf Trap Opera, one of America’s outstanding resident ensemble programs for young opera singers. Wolf Trap Foundation’s education programs include the nationally acclaimed Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts, Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods, a diverse array of arts education classes, grants, and a nationally recognized internship program.
A nonprofit organization that believes in the power of creativity and compassion to empower humanity, Halcyon provides space, community, and access to socially engaged artists and social entrepreneurs working to use their vision and talent to address the world’s greatest challenges. Signature programs include Halcyon Incubator, Halcyon Arts Lab, Halcyon Dialogue and the By the People festival. In only three years, Halcyon’s 63 social entrepreneurs have created 460 jobs, raised more than $37 million and impacted nearly half a million lives around the world. Founded by Dr. Sachiko Kuno and Kate Goodall, Halcyon is based out of the historic Halcyon estate and nearby Halcyon Arts Lab in Georgetown.
By The People festival, June 21-24, is Washington’s largest international arts and dialogue festival, bringing people together around the themes of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The four-day extravaganza will feature interactive visual art installations, performances from ballet to go-go, high-profile speakers and an augmented reality art hunt. The public is encouraged to register in advance for a free festival pass online for fastest entry.
Running Time: 75 minutes, with one intermission.
The Seven Deadly Sins, presented by Wolf Trap Opera and Halcyon, performs on Saturday, June 23, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, June 24, at 1 p.m., at Dock 5 at Union Market, 1309 5th Street NE, Washington DC 20002. To purchase tickets, call 1-877-WOLFTRAP, or go online.