Events January 29-31: Ancient Chinese Artifacts, Opera Masters and Rock-and-Roll Trivia

This week, see chinese artifacts once collected in a New Jersey apartment, learn about two of opera’s greatest composers and show off your rock knowledge

National Portrait Gallery
If you can name these dashing gentlemen, you’re off to a good start for Thursday’s rock-and-roll trivia night at the National Portrait Gallery. Photo by Michael Conen, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Tuesday, January 29: One Man’s Search for Ancient China: The Paul Singer Collection

Some collectors have mansions or basements to store their collections. Paul Singer had a two bedroom apartment in New Jersey. The psychiatrist-by-day, collector of ancient Chinese artifacts-by-night accumulated around 5,000 objects by his death in 1997, and once displayed all of them in his modest home. Smithsonian gives 63 of the objects a bit more room in this exhibit to reflect the vast range of things produced by various ancient Chinese cultures—from artistic masterworks to ceramics to weaponry—as well as the breadth of Singer’s collection. Free. Open until July 7. Sackler Gallery.

Wednesday, January 30: Verdi and Wagner at 200: A Double Celebration of Genius

Italian Giuseppe Verdi and German Richard Wagner rocked the world’s opera stages so hard in the 19th-century that the genre has not been the same since. The two genius composers, born just months apart, embodied disparate national cultures and styles, but were united in developing the techniques that ushered opera into modern times. Music historian Saul Lilienstein begins a course this evening that uses recorded performances of the masters’ most iconic pieces to explore their lives and influence. $200 for six monthly sessions (members discounted; tickets here). 6:45 p.m. to 9 p.m. on selected Wednesdays from January 30 to June 19. Ripley Center.

Thursday, January 31: Rock and Roll is Here to Stay!

Can’t brush your teeth without reciting every line to “Blue Suede Shoes“? Do you actually have moves like Jagger because you spend your free time watching clips of the Stones? Well, here’s a chance to impress rather than annoy your co-workers with your encyclopedic knowledge, rock nerds: rock-and-roll trivia happy hour. Prizes for the winners, good music for all. Free. 6:30 p.m. National Portrait Gallery.

Also check out our specially created Visitors Guide App. Get the most out of your trip to Washington, D.C. and the National Mall with this selection of custom-built tours, based on your available time and passions. From the editors of Smithsonian magazine, the app is also packed with handy navigational tools, maps, museum floor plans and museum information including ‘Greatest Hits’ for each Smithsonian museum.

For a complete listing of Smithsonian events and exhibitions visit the goSmithsonian Visitors Guide. Additional reporting by Michelle Strange.

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