It looks like crowds will be unfurling their blankets on the field at Nationals Park and soaking up opera on a warm spring night this year. The Washington National Opera has announced that this season's free Opera in the Outfield, a simulcast of "Show Boat,"  will be May 18.

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 22: Owen Shellahamer, 2, of Hyattsville, MD climbs on his father, Glenn Shellahamer, seconds before the opera began. His mother, Charice Shellahamer, read a book nearby. Washington National Opera presents the fourth annual Opera in the Outfield. The free community event featured a simulcast of its season-opening production of Puccini's Tosca. (Photo by Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)
(Photo by Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

If it feels like only months ago that you watched the WNO's "Don Giovanni," it's because it was: For the fifth season of the popular outfield simulcast, the opera scheduled two events, "Don Giovanni" last September, and, for spring, "Show Boat."

"Show Boat," with its vintage appeal and recognizable score, may be the most accessible  simulcast yet. With music by Jerome Kern and book by Oscar Hammerstein II, the important piece of early American musical theater follows a crew of riverboat performers in the 1880s South, where issues of race bubble under the surface.The opera's new production at the Kennedy Center will feature more than a hundred performers and an orchestra of 50 musicians.

The WNO also announced next year's Opera in the Outfield performance: Mozart's kid-friendly masterpiece "The Magic Flute" will be simulcast in May 2014.