The two biggest ovations at Sunday’s Washington National Opera gala had nothing to do with opera and everything to do with beloved divas: The audience gave Ruth Bader Ginsburg raucous, sustained applause when it learned the Supreme Court justice was in the house, and Broadway icon Patti LuPone stole the show with a comic riff on “A Boy Like That” from “West Side Story.”
“Obviously, I’m not from the opera,” LuPone told the crowd — which was perfectly fine, given that the program was yet another centennial tribute to Leonard Bernstein.
In fact, the entire night was pretty informal: “I’m supposed to tell you to turn off your cellphones, not take any pictures and not make any recordings,” Francesca Zambello, the Washington National Opera’s artistic director, said before the show. “Okay, so I’ve told you and you can do whatever. Make sure you use hashtag . . .” (Not sure what her punchline was; it was drowned out by laughter.)
The night raised $1 million for the company’s educational programs, and everyone left with custom M&Ms, courtesy of Jacqueline Mars — one perk of having the candy heiress on the board.