Washington National Opera Gala
The Washington National Opera raised the curtain on its 55th season, Sept. 11, but not before the Kennedy Center audience sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" -- an opera tradition here, as WNO general director Placido Domingo reminded all from the opera house stage. Giuseppe Verdi's "Un Ballo in Maschara" -- "A Masked Ball" -- cracks a heartbreak of wrongful regicide in Sweden. With the masked ball ruse in the work, the post-opera ball was itself a masked one at the Embassy of Italy. With masks provided, along with dinner and dancing, the gala-goers beamed as well as the perfectly lighted venue.