Kennedy Center to Host Hip-Hop Festival in 2014

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Opera star Renee Fleming will lead a three-day festival of “American Voices,” examining the different ways Americans sing, from country to jazz and gospel to pop.

The Washington National Opera’s season at the Kennedy Center will underscore its vision to embrace American and nontraditional productions. It includes a new holiday opera for families entitled “The Lion, the Unicorn and Me,” with a score by musical theater composer Jeanine Tesori. It will tell the Christmas story from the perspective of the donkey. The season also will include the East Coast premiere of “Moby-Dick,” Wagner’s “Tristan and Isolde,” and new productions of Verdi’s “The Force of Destiny” and “The Magic Flute.”

Kaiser said the season endeavors to make opera “more accessible to some audiences and … more up-to-date for audiences — but also putting a focus and an emphasis on the American achievement in the opera field.”

In the year ahead, the National Symphony Orchestra will host a two-week festival combining new musical works with newly commissioned choreography in “New Moves: Symphony + Dance.” The orchestra also will offer an homage to George Washington in a new co-commission and a performance of “Der Rosenkavalier,” featuring Renee Fleming as a tribute to Richard Strauss’ 150th birthday.

This is the last full programming slate Kaiser will lead at the center before stepping down at the end of 2014.

“For me, it was a very personal season,” Kaiser said, as he prepares to help hand off leadership to a new president. “Every decade or so, an institution like this needs a fresh artistic voice.”

(Photo: AP)

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