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October 25, 2009

Justices Ginsburg, Scalia onstage in Washington National Opera's 'Aridane'

The celebrity quotient was pretty impressive onstage at the Washington National Opera's Saturday for the opening night performance of Strauss' "Ariadne auf Naxos." In this production, directed by Chis Alexander, the setting for the opera-within-an-opera portion of "Ariadne" is a contemporary mansion, and guests of an extravagant host are seen onstage watching the proceedings.

Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia, who have been known to get in the act for WNO events, were up there among the supernumeraries, along with Martin Ginsburg (the justice's husband), D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and philanthropist Adrienne Arsht. The audience particularly enjoyed the sight of the bubbly character, Zerbinetta (performed by Lyubov Petrova), jumping into Scalia's lap. You don't see that everyday.

I'll have more to say about the production anon, but I thought you might like to see some shots of the celebs in action right away (PHOTOS BY KARIN COOPER FOR WASHINTON NATIONAL OPERA):

Posted by Tim Smith at 9:20 AM | | Comments (1)


Fans of the opera may find the following of interest:

Thanks. Glad to see 'Ariadne' has a fan site. I love the opera and am always surprised when I find people lukewarm or even hostile to it. Then again, I'm not too disciminating about any Strauss. A weakness, perhaps, but an unapologetic one. TIM

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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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