The Embassy Series, which offers truly Washington experiences, has announced its 20th season of exotic concerts and cuisine at residences of ambassadors of India, Nepal, Romania, Spain, South Africa, Bulgaria, Iceland, and at embassies.
One of D.C.'s most popular concert series begins Sept. 9. Here are highlights:
- The Sept. 9 offering is an alto saxophone performance, followed by dinner at the residence of India's Ambassador Nirupama Rao. Saxophonist-composer Rudresh Mahanthappa was named alto saxophonist of the year 2012 and 2011 by "Downbeat" Magazine's International Critics Polls, and by the Jazz Journalists' Association for five consecutive years, 2013-2009.
- On Oct. 5, Nepalese musicians and dancers entertain guests, who then enjoy a lawn party with buffet at the Nepalese Ambassador's Residence.
- Pianist Andrei Licaret and bass-baritone Jeremy Hirsch perform at the Romanian ambassador's residence on Oct. 20, followed by a buffet. Bucharest-born Licaret, winner of many international prizes, is studying with renowned pianist Leon Fleischer at Baltimore's Peabody Conservatory.
- At the Ukraine Embassy, the Gerdan group performs a variety of folk music on Ukrainian folk art acoustic instruments, followed by a buffet of its national foods and wines on Oct. 24.
- Other concerts include Irving Berlin songs, mainly from "Call Me Madam" -- his musical inspired by President Truman's appointing Washington hostess Perle Mesta as Madame Ambassador to Luxembourg. The Luxembourg Embassy event will be presented Dec. 5-7.
- MiXt, a chamber group, will play Bartók (Dances), Schubert (Sonata in A major), Novaček (Four Rags), Schoenfeld (Yiddish Themes) at the Spanish Ambassador's Residence on Dec. 12.
Performances next year include:
- St. Petersburg-born, Julliard-trained cellist Adrian Daurov, will play works by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff and Beethoven, followed by a buffet dinner at the Russian Embassy.
- Two operetta evenings at, where else, the Austrian Embassy, offer music of Franz Léhar, Johann Strauss, and Emmerich Kálmán. (One of Hitler's favorite composers, despite being Jewish, Kálmán rejected Hitler's offer to become an "honorary Aryan", and had to leave Austria.)
Here are videos of concerts from prior seasons:
As Shakespeare warned in "The Merchant of Venice" -- ever true for Washington:
The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils...