The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Politicians a no-show at Washington National Opera’s opener

Betrayal, warring factions, a country in jeopardy. Capitol Hill? Nope – opening night of Verdi’s “The Force of Destiny” at the Washington National Opera.

Verdi wrote the opera “in a time of incredible political turmoil, strife about religion, his country was breaking apart .
. . really, a very fractured society,” Artistic Director Francesca Zambello said Saturday at the post-performance dinner.

Timely, but the company’s gala was missing any of the elected officials who normally attend the A-list social event. (As the default deadline gets closer, politicians have steered clear of anything that smacks of non-essential.) The Kennedy Center building is closed during the day, but the performance went on: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Kennedy Center President Michael Kaiser and other music lovers turned out for what turned out to be a decidedly low-key party.

So forgive the folks at Wolf Trap for a big sigh of relief. AOL founder Jim Kimsey hosted a reception Thursday at his McLean mansion celebrating the summer season – a season that would have been wiped out if the shutdown of the national park had occurred a few weeks earlier. More luck: Wolf Trap’s The Barns, currently in the middle of its fall programming, sits on privately owned land and is therefore up and running.

More Reliable Source: Michael Douglas; Greg Louganis; Pharrell Williams; Philippe Cousteau; Ginnifer Goodwin; Howard Homecoming; Duck Dynasty; Joe Scarborough; Julian Assange; Marilyn Monroe; Michelle Obama