As a regular season ticket holder to the Washington National Opera and a D.C. resident, I am puzzled by the regular absence of minority singers in featured roles — production after production. With the exception of Eric Owens and Denyce Graves in the past, and, of course, the production of “Porgy and Bess,” why is this the case? I hear about exciting singers such as Latonia Moore, who did the last broadcast of “Aida” at the Metropolitan Opera, and Michelle Johnson, who won the last MET audition, but none of these singers are on the stage in the nation’s capital.

— Eric Jones,


March 11 was a day of joy for everyone in the audience who saw the Lyric Opera production of “The Marriage of Figaro,” except for your dyspeptic critic and the equally inept headline writer. My friends and I are experienced opera-goers. We recognize, and evaluate accordingly, the difference between regional opera performances and what we see at the Met or in Chicago. Perhaps your critic should do the same. The performance that Sunday featured a young cast, with good voices and the ability to move and act. The set, with its reference to what Pierre Beaumarchais had in mind when he wrote the [original play], was subtly and cleverly done. The costumes, in period, thank heaven, didn’t violate the intent of the production. The nascent Lyric Opera deserves credit and encouragement rather than the tepid account that you published. Charles T. Downey was correct in one respect: the poor conducting, but the sprightly and charming performers deserve plaudits. I’m sorry that they didn’t appear in the review.

— Stephanie Miller,