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And the National Medal of Arts goes to...

... Renée Fleming "for her contributions to American music. Known to many as 'the people’s diva,' Ms. Fleming has captivated audiences around the world with an adventurous repertoire spanning opera and the classical tradition to jazz and contemporary pop." 

Reneeflemingmedal

...Renée Fleming "for her contributions to American music. Known to many as 'the people’s diva,' Ms. Fleming has captivated audiences around the world with an adventurous repertoire spanning opera and the classical tradition to jazz and contemporary pop," announced the White House this afternoon, when President Barack Obama honored Lyric's creative consultant with a National Medal of Arts citation in the East Room. First Lady Michelle Obama also attended.

The National Medal of Arts is the United States Government's highest award to artists and arts patrons. Ms. Fleming was nominated by the American public and ratified by the National Council of the Arts.

Eleven others, including filmmaker George Lucas, musician Allen Toussaint, playwright Tony Kushner, and painter Ellsworth Kelly, were awarded the 2012 citation. A further twelve, including author Joan Didion and poet Kay Ryan, were awarded the sister citation of National Humanities Medal in this afternoon's ceremony, which you can watch in full below. (Renée is honored at 14:09.)

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The BARBER of silver screen

Each summer, members of the Ryan Opera Center ensemble perform in a workshop production, often of an opera from Lyric's upcoming season. Enjoy photos from the June workshop production of Gioachino Rossini's The Barber of Seville.

 Barberworkshop

Each summer, members of the Ryan Opera Center ensemble perform in a workshop production, often of an opera from Lyric's upcoming season. Last month's workshop afforded Adam Bonanni, J'nai Bridges, Tracy Cantin, Anthony Clark Evans, John Irvin, Will Liverman, and Richard Ollarsaba an opportunity to sing roles that many will perform or understudy in Lyric's February 2014 production of The Barber of Seville. Recent Ryan Opera Center alumnus David Govertsen guest starred as Dr. Bartolo.

Director Matthew Ozawa's charming production concept transported the invited audience of Lyric contributors to the golden age of cinema, where Rosina and Almaviva's romantic comedy unfolded in a Hollywood movie studio. Enjoy some production stills!

Pictured above: Baritone Will Liverman as factotum Figaro shaves bass-baritone David Govertsen as Dr. Bartolo. (Photo: Jaclyn Simpson Photography)

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