Thursday, December 25, 2014

Opera Singers Important To "Christmas In Washington" History

Clamma Dale
Performing for Presidents of the United States has long been a duty and service that comes with great honor for classical musicians for more than a century. Particularly highlighted during the holiday season in December each year since 1981, opera singers have played an integral part of the concert Christmas in Washington. Standing alongside fellow musicians from virtually every genre of the music world to celebrate holiday favorites has brought the world of opera to larger audiences via television. Taking a look back over the years, the following singers have been fortunate enough to be part of this American tradition: Frederica von Stade (1984), Clamma Dale (1986), Kathleen Battle (1988), Barbara Hendricks (1990), Dawn Upshaw (1995) Ruth Ann Swenson (1996), Thomas Hampson (1997), Harolyn Blackwell (1998), Charlotte Church (2001), Renée Fleming (2003),  and Andrea Bocelli (2010). Take a look at some of the
Kathleen Battle
performances after the jump. "One of two annual holiday specials produced by George Stevens, Jr. (the other being the
Kennedy Center Honors), the variety show first aired in 1981 on NBC before moving to its current home on TNT in 1998. Recorded in Washington, D.C. at the National Building Museum, on the second Sunday of each December before being re-edited for later broadcast, Christmas in Washington is a one-hour concert featuring artists from musical genres. Each guest perform at least one solo, but the marquee performer usually has one or two more songs. The show also has at least one guest from the world of opera. Each of the musical performances are backed by a full orchestra and chorus. The show's finale consists of a medley performed by all the musical guests before
Frederica von Stade
the attendees-of-honor, the President of the United States and the First Lady, make a closing statement. Recent events have benefited Children's National Medical Center. The show also has a host. For many years, the show was hosted by Dr. Phil and his wife, Robin. However, since 2009, the show has had a single host. The 2013 edition featured Hugh Jackman as host and The Backstreet Boys as marquee performers, marking the first time in six years that a group has been featured as marquee performers. The show airs live on pay-per-view internationally and in most major cities, after which a re-edited 42-minute version (with commercials in a one-hour slot) airs on the aforementioned TNT network." [
Source, Source, Source, Source, Source]  
Renee Fleming performing during the Christmas in Washington at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., in 2003. | gettyimages.com

BONUS - Barbara Hendricks singing with the Boston Pops in 1990:

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