(WASHINGTON)—Washington National Opera (WNO) today announces an exciting
conclusion to its 2016–2017 season: the 2017 WNO Opera Gala, celebrating WNO
Board Chairman Jacqueline Badger Mars, who will step down as Chairman this
summer. The Gala, on Saturday, June 3, 2017, will include a concert in the Kennedy
Center Opera House featuring the WNO Orchestra and an array of musical stars who
will pay special tribute to Jacqueline Mars’s visionary leadership of WNO: legendary
soprano Renée Fleming, superstar mezzo-soprano and D.C. native Denyce Graves,
and Hamilton Tony Award® winner Leslie Odom Jr. The Gala is presented as part of
JFKC, the Kennedy Center’s season-long celebration of John F. Kennedy’s centennial,
and explores the themes of service and gratitude, which are often associated with
The Co-Chairmen of the WNO Opera Gala are WNO Life Chairman Mrs. Eugene B.
Casey and Mrs. John F. Mars. The Opera Gala pays tribute to Jacqueline Badger Mars
for her six seasons of leadership of the WNO Board of Trustees. Highlights of her
tenure include the founding of the American Opera Initiative, which for the last five
seasons has helped identify the brightest rising American composers and librettists and
has added their work to the repertory; the programming of an annual opera for families
at the holiday season, including Hansel and Gretel, The Little Prince, and the world
premiere commission of The Lion, the Unicorn, and Me; and the presentation of WNO’s
first-ever complete Ring cycles in 2016, a feat that put WNO into a very elite group of
American opera companies.
“I have been honored to work with Jacquie Mars since 2008, and her imaginative
leadership and guidance have brought WNO unparalleled growth and success while
also making the opera more accessible to a broader audience,” said WNO executive
director Michael L. Mael. “Our next Chairman will certainly have big shoes to fill, but I
am happy that Jacquie will continue to steer this company as a WNO trustee.”
Tickets for the Gala concert start at $49 and are on sale now to Kennedy Center
members. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Friday, April 21, 2017 at 10 a.m.
For those who wish to purchase special Gala packages, the evening will begin with a
VIP cocktail reception on the Kennedy Center’s River Terrace at 5:30 p.m., followed by
the Gala concert at 6:30 p.m. After the performance, Gala package holders will depart
the Kennedy Center for elegant black-tie dinners hosted by many ambassadors at their
embassies or residences throughout the city, a longtime tradition of the Opera’s season-
ending social gathering.
The Opera Gala is WNO’s largest fundraiser and one of Washington’s most anticipated
events of the year. Proceeds from the Opera Gala will play a crucial role in advancing
the Opera’s award-wining artistic, educational, and outreach programs.
While the 2016–2017 season is coming to an end, the new season promises
excitement. WNO’s 2017–2018 season includes new productions of Verdi’s epic drama
Aida, the company premiere of Handel’s magical baroque opera Alcina, and Verdi’s
towering masterpiece Don Carlo, plus Rossini’s delightful comedy The Barber of Seville
and Bernstein’s biting satire Candide. The season also features a festival weekend of
four world premieres as part of the American Opera Initiative, the return of the holiday
family opera The Little Prince, two special Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist performances,
and more. Subscription packages are available now.
Tickets for the Gala concert start at $49 and are available online, in person at the
Kennedy Center Box Office, and by calling (202) 467-4600 or (800) 444-1324. For all
other ticket-related customer service inquiries, call the Advance Sales Box Office at
Today, World Central Kitchen opens ticket sales for Dine-N-Dash, the primary annual fundraiser for José Andrés’s international organization focused on smart solutions to hunger and poverty. The June 7 event is a raucous progression with the anticipated participation of more than 30 of Washington, D.C.’s best restaurants, and includes appearances by nationally recognized food celebrities, including Andrew Zimmern.
“We are excited to be having our fifth Dine-N-Dash this year!” Andrés said. “I cannot believe it has already been five years. We have a goal of raising $500,000 for World Central Kitchen, and it is incredible that in our first year we raised $75,000, and now we are hoping to raise a half a million dollars. I am so happy to see how this event has grown.”
Now in its fifth year, Dine-N-Dash aims to raise over $500,000 to support World Central Kitchen’s smart solutions to hunger and poverty, which include food safety and sanitation training, building school kitchens, clean cookstove conversion, and job creation. The D.C.-based brainchild of celebrated chef José Andrés, World Central Kitchen operates under the direction of Brian MacNair, mobilizing its Chef Network to tackle issues of poverty and hunger in a growing list of countries that includes Haiti, Cambodia, Zambia, and the Dominican Republic. Chefs like Victor Albisu, Tom Colicchio and Erik Bruner-Yang have travelled with the organization for on-the-ground action and instruction.
“We have a lot of fantastic fundraising events in D.C., but Dine-N-Dash is really something special,” MacNair said. “We don’t hold this in a food hall or event space. We bring our community of supporters into the restaurants to experience not only the chef’s food, but the feel and design of their spaces and the character of the neighborhood. World Central Kitchen is all about connecting a global food community for the betterment of all, and Dine-N-Dash reflects that idea in a really fun way.”
Dine-N-Dash will take place on June 7 from 6-10pm. This year, over 30 restaurants are expected to participate, a huge increase from the six that took part in the event’s first year. Originally located in Penn Quarter, the Charles Schwab-sponsored event is now split evenly between the original neighborhood and the busy 14th Street corridor. Guests select a starting restaurant when they buy a ticket, and from there progress from establishment to establishment at their whim, with each offering a selection of 6-8 dishes and 4-6 drinks. There will be live music at many of the participating restaurants, and a selection of the city’s finest food trucks will ensure that even trips between restaurants will be delicious.
VIP ticketholders will be invited to the VIP–only pre-party pop-up sponsored by MGM National Harbor that brings Andrés’s FISH and the Voltaggio Brothers Steakhouse to Penn Quarter at a soon-to-be disclosed location. The pre-party will be hosted by Andrés and attended by celebrity chefs, including Andrew Zimmern and Ted Allen. The pop-up space will open to the public at 7pm.
When: Wednesday, June 7, 2017
Price: General Admission: $125, VIP: $400
Tickets: Available today at https://dinendash.info/
Participating Restaurants To-Date Include:
- Penn Quarter
- 14th Street