The Kennedy Center – Washington Nationals Ball Park
Washington National Opera Simulcast
Opera beamed into a ballpark has a distinctly different vibe than a concert-hall experience: it’s T-shirts vs. tuxedos, baseball caps vs. opera glasses, chicken tenders vs. champagne.
It’s Saturday night and about 15,000 people have come to Nationals Park to see a winning performance. The anticipation is palpable. Across town, decked-out folks sit in the red-velvet womb of the Kennedy Center Opera house, awaiting the live performance of Verdi’s “La Traviata.” Here, though, everyone from the teething to the tattooed has pulled up a chair or a patch of grass for the Washington National Opera’s first live simulcast into the stadium.
Watching in high definition on the JumboTron means that, as Israeli conductor Dan Ettinger stands in the orchestra pit, you can see the roosterlike combs in his gelled and spiked blond coiffure, shadows carving his face like a mask, as he stands motionless in his black frock coat. Suddenly, Ettinger lifts his baton, the fingers on his other hand vibrate and pulse as if playing the violin, and the music begins: gorgeous, symphonic sound swelling through the ballpark.