Acclaimed contemporary composer Philip Glass and the Academy Award®-winning writer Christopher Hampton will bring the world premiere of their newly revised version of Appomattox to the Kennedy Center Opera House on November 14-22.
This landmark production, which marks 50 years since the Voting Rights Act and 150 years since the end of the Civil War, is conducted by Dante Santiago Anzolini and is staged by director Tazewell Thompson, both in their Washington National Opera (WNO) debuts.
In the opera, baritone Tom Fox in the dual roles of Abraham Lincoln and Lyndon B. Johnson. Singing the roles of Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King, Jr. is bass Soloman Howard, a D.C. native and an alumnus of WNO’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program who is a favorite of Washington audiences.
Baritone Richard Paul Fink will sing the roles of Ulysses S. Grant and attorney general Nicholas Katzenbach, while bass-baritone David Pittsinger is Robert E. Lee and Edgar Ray Killen, the Ku Klux Klan organizer who planned and directed the murders of three prominent civil rights activists.
Other characters in the opera from the Civil War era include T. Morris Chester, the only black correspondent for a major daily newspaper during the Civil War; the political wives Mary Todd Lincoln, Julia Grant, and Mary Custis Lee; and Wilmer McLean, whose residence in the courthouse in Appomattox, Virginia is the setting for the pivotal meeting between Generals Grant and Lee in the opera’s first act.
For many there will be familiar faces in the second act of “Appomattox.” There will be major figures from the Civil Rights era, including Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee chairman and future Congressman John Lewis, First Lady “Lady Bird” Johnson, civil rights activists Viola Liuzzo and Amelia Boynton, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, Coretta Scott King.
Also included in the second act are Alabama governor George Wallace, and James Fowler, whose shooting of unarmed black man Jimmie Lee Jackson in 1965 escalated the growing civil rights movement by spurring activists to organize the marches from Selma to Montgomery.
Saturday, November 14 at 7 p.m.
Monday, November 16 at 7 p.m.
Wednesday, November 18 at 7 p.m.
Friday, November 20 at 7 p.m.
Saturday, November 21 at 7 p.m.
Sunday, November 22 at 2 p.m.
Tickets start at $25 and are available online, in person at the Kennedy Center Box Office, and by calling (202) 467-4600 or (800) 444-1324. The Kennedy Center is located at 2700 F. Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.