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This year, the Washington National Opera devotes the first part of its new season to two defining—and overperformed—opera composers of the Romantic era, Wagner and Verdi. Tristan and Isolde kicks things off in September, but it’s an original production of The Force of Destiny by still-new artistic director Francesca Zambello that’s most intriguing, and promises to give us a better sense of where the WNO is heading in the future. It’s not one of Verdi’s best-loved works, or even his most coherent: a kitchen-sink action-tragicomedy, it’s kind of a mess, and by the time it came out Verdi had already been overshadowed by that creepy German fascist. Zambello’s ambition for big productions bodes well here—assuming the opera doesn’t prove too unwieldy.