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January 21, 2010

Washington National Opera Chorus to give AGMA Relief Benefit

In a strong gesture of solidarity with colleagues struggling in the recession, including choristers out of work from the now-defunct Baltimore Opera Company, the excellent Washington National Opera Chorus will perform American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) Relief Benefit Concert this weekend. WNO chorus master Steven Gathman will conduct the program, which includes scenes from "Magic Flute," "Madama Butterfly," "Flying Dutchman," "Cavalleria Rusticana" and "Daughter of the Regiment" (tenor Timothy Augustin will tackle the famous aria with the nine high Cs). Barber's "Agnus Dei," folks songs, spirituals and more will also be performed.

“Many artists in the area are suffering as performance schedules are cut or entirely eliminated, most notably those performing with the Baltimore Opera Company. To address this current crisis and help our friends in need, we took action and organized the AGMA Relief Benefit Concert,” Gathman says in a press release. “...These musicians are a source of great pride for the region, and are deserving of our help in these trying times.”

The concert is at 4 p.m. Sunday at St. Ann Catholic Church at Tenley Circle in Washington. Admission is free; donations will be accepted for the cause.

Posted by Tim Smith at 5:34 PM | | 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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