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John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
A new opera, early Tchaikovsky symphony at the Kennedy Center
A new opera, early Tchaikovsky symphony at the Kennedy Center

During a quick visit to the Kennedy Center Saturday night, I got to hear a new opera and an under-appreciated symphony by Tchaikovsky. Two hours well spent, I'd say. In one of its most commendable moves, Washington National Opera established the American Opera Initiative a few years ago to generate new work. Specifically, 20-minute operas -- an extra challenge for composers and librettists alike -- and hour-long ones. The latter happen to include operas with Baltimore connections (and we can never get enough of Baltimore connections, as you know). "Approaching Ali," with music by Baltimore School for the Arts alum D.J. Sparr, was unveiled in 2013. "Penny," with a...

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