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October 31, 2008

Reminder: first NEA Opera Awards presented tonight

The NEA Opera Honors, the nation's first awards for exceptional contributions to opera, will be bestowed tonight in Washington to illustrious soprano Leontyne Price, eminent conductor James Levine, distinctive composer Carlisle Floyd and innovative administrator Richard Gaddes. The awards mark the first individual honorifc from the National Endowment for the Arts in more than 25 years.

The awards ceremony/concert at 8 p.m. at the Harmon Center is open to the public; at last check, some unclaimed tickets remain and will be released at 7:30 p.m. to the public at no charge. After the hall is filled, another 300 free tickets will be made available for people who can watch a live video feed of the event in a nearby room.

The bad news for celebrity-watchers (as if the chance to see Leontyne isn't enough) is that Sarah Jessica Parker has canceled as co-host "due to last-minute professional commitments," but the other co-host, marvelous mezzo Susan Graham, will still be there to emcee and help pass out the awards, along with brilliant tenor and general director of Washington National Opera Placido Domingo, and others. Domingo will also conduct part of the concert during the evening, which features soprano Sondra Radvanovsky and members of WNO's Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists program.

Posted by Tim Smith at 11:57 AM | | Comments (0)

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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