Opera Lafayette

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Coordinates: 38°52′59″N 76°59′35″W / 38.882958°N 76.993067°W / 38.882958; -76.993067

Opera Lafayette
Opera Lafayette logo
Named after Marquis de Lafayette
Formation 1994 (1994)
Founder Ryan Brown
Founded at Washington, D.C., United States
Headquarters Old Naval Hospital
Conductor and Artistic Director
Ryan Brown
General Manager
William J.H. Chapman
Chris O'Flinn
Website operalafayette.org
Formerly called
Violins of Lafayette

Opera Lafayette is an opera company based in Washington, D.C., that produces French operas from the 17th and 18th centuries. It was founded in 1995 by Ryan Brown and splits its season between Washington and New York City.


Specializing in French Baroque opera, Opera Lafayette was founded in Washington's Capitol Hill neighborhood in 1994 by Ryan Brown as the Violins of Lafayette, named after the Marquis de Lafayette. It adopted its current name during 2001 and, in 2005, released its first recording on the Naxos label, Christoph Willibald Gluck's Orphée et Euridice. In 2012, Opera Lafayette staged its first international performance, Pierre-Alexandre Monsigny's Le roi et le fermier (fr) (The King and the Farmer); this "forgotten" Monsigny work was performed at the Royal Opera of Versailles using recently discovered backdrops from a 1780 staging of the opera.[1][2][3] An ensemble from the company performed aboard the French frigate Hermione, a replica of the 32-gun Concorde class frigate that once ferried the Marquis de Lafayette to the United States, during its 2015 visit to Alexandria, Virginia.[4]

According to the New York Times, Opera Lafayette has "won consistent praise and loyal audiences for its historically informed productions of French Baroque operas using period instruments, appropriate costumes and elegant dancing".[5] The paper has further described it as "a skillful purveyor of French Baroque operas", while DC Theatre Scene has said the company "should be considered a national treasure".[6][7]


As of 2016, the opera's conductor and artistic director is Ryan Brown, William J.H. Chapman is the general manager, and Chris O'Flinn is the chair of the company's board of directors. The concertmaster of Opera Lafayette's orchestra is Claire Jolivet.[8][9]

The company performs a split season with performances in Washington at the Kennedy Center, and in New York at Frederick P. Rose Hall.[10]


Opera Lafayette has released eleven recordings, all on the Naxos label:[11]

  1. Orphée et Euridice by Christoph Willibald Gluck (2005)
  2. Oedipe à Colone by Antonio Sacchini (2006)
  3. Rameau Operatic Arias sung by Jean-Paul Fouchécourt (2007)
  4. The Tragedy of Armide by Jean-Baptiste Lully (2008)
  5. Zélindor, roi des Sylphes by François Rebel and Le Trophée by François Francoeur (2009)
  6. Le déserteur by Pierre-Alexandre Monsigny (2010)
  7. Sancho Panca by François-André Danican Philidor (2011)
  8. Le Magnifique by André Grétry (2012)
  9. Le roi et le fermier by Pierre-Alexandre Monsigny (2013)
  10. Lalla-Roukh by Félicien David (2014)
  11. Les femmes vengées by François-André Danican Philidor (2015)

Selections from the above recordings are included in the two CDs accompanying a Naxos book, A–Z of Opera, 2nd Edition.[11]


  1. ^ Banno, Joe (22 January 2012). "Opera Lafayette presents Le Roi et le Fermier". The Washington Post. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  2. ^ Midgette, Anne (10 January 2014). "D.C.'s early-music company Opera Lafayette repeats the history that's been forgotten". The Washington Post. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  3. ^ "Opera Lafayette". Opera America. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  4. ^ Bulova, Gretchen (3 June 2015). "Lafayette in Alexandria: L'Hermione to Be in Port June 10–12". Connection Newspapers. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  5. ^ "Classical Music Listings for Nov. 27 – Dec. 3". The New York Times. 27 November 2015. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  6. ^ Galbraith, Susan (19 August 2016). "Opera in Washington – The 2016–2017 Season". DC Theatre Scene. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  7. ^ "Classical Music Listings for Feb. 5–11". The New York Times. 4 February 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  8. ^ "Board & Staff". Opera Lafayette. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  9. ^ "Opera Lafayette Orchestra". Opera Lafayette. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  10. ^ "Opera Lafayette". New York Opera Alliance. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  11. ^ a b "Opera Lafayette Orchestra". Naxos Records. Retrieved 21 August 2016.