Lifeboat: Washington National Opera

  • The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts 2700 F Street Northwest Washington, DC, 20566 United States

The three original one-act operas presented in two semi-staged concert performances on January 14, 2017 will each highlight a different aspect of American life and culture, and each has been inspired and informed by the ideals often ascribed to President Kennedy. These new works will be accompanied by a chamber orchestra conducted by Steven Osgood and will be performed in English. Following each performance there will be a Q&A session with the artists and creative team. Full casting for the three one-act operas, featuring members of WNO's Domingo-Cafritz Young.

Artist Program and other guest artists, will be announced soon.

What Gets Kept

Music by Frances Pollock

Libretto by Vanessa Moody

Amy, suffering from a terminal illness, has decided to pursue death on her own terms with medical assistance. While her teen daughter faces the situation head-on, her husband seeks to buy the family more time together. Embracing its unique blend of dark humor and deep compassion, the family navigates the difficult tasks of grieving for a living person and finding peace in the aftermath of loss. What Gets Kept champions the ideals of courage and creativity as the family interacts with death in brave and inventive ways. Harnessing the ideal of community, the family must balance the needs of the individual with those of the whole. A JFKC Commission.

Music by Zach Redler

Libretto by Jason Carlson

Adam is the story of the creation of the world's first sentient artificial human. Mirroring the spirit of President Kennedy's launch of the U.S. space program, Adam's creator Athena seeks her goals "...not because they are easy but because they are hard (JFK). She does so in the service of science and of her country...but is there justice in creating a being with free will for a purpose that he did not choose? Will Athena have the courage to stand by Adam against forces that would own his destiny? The ideals that inspire these questions would be as essential in such a future as they are now and as they were in the Kennedy era. A JFKC Commission.

Music by Matthew Peterson

Libretto by Emily Roller

Three refugees are stranded in an inflatable lifeboat out in the open ocean; they are the sole survivors of a shipwreck. After three days, tensions erupt between the strangers, who each fled the same conflict for different reasons. As their pasts are revealed, cooperation-and survival-seem unlikely. Lifeboat explores and challenges the ideals of courage, social justice, and service; can these ideals overcome major divides between people of different backgrounds and experiences? Can we all live in the same boat? A JFKC Commission.