Comedy The Ring Of Polykrates Opens February 9 at The Dallas Opera

February 4, 2018

A sizzling blend of domestic comedy and romance, symphonic music and opera, thrilling virtuosity and extraordinary artistry, will melt the icy grip of winter this February as The Dallas Opera presents a once-in-a-lifetime pairing: Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s rarely performed 1916 opera, The Ring of Polykrates, preceded by the composer’s famous Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35 that premiered nearly three decades later in 1945. To purchase tickets, click here. To purchase $50 best seating for Young Professional tickets, click here.

            The unique program opens on Friday, February 9, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. for the first of four performances in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas, Texas. Additional performances are scheduled to take place in the Winspear on:

 

Sunday, February 11, 2018 at 2:00 pm

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 at 7:30 pm

Saturday, February 17, 2018 at 7:30 pm

 

            Revered French violinist Augustin Dumay (with more than 40 recordings in his discography) will be the featured guest soloist with The Dallas Opera Orchestra for the concerto. Mr. Dumay is considered “an absolute master of using changes in tone color as an expressive device” (Fanfare) and many of his recordings are considered the “gold standard” in their repertoire.  Heather Kurzbauer of The Strad put it simply: “This is the stuff that dreams are made of.”  As for his live concert hall performances, Geoffrey Norris of The Daily Telegraph writes: “Mr. Dumay is a violinist of remarkable individuality…excitingly musical, stimulatingly original, a marvelously fresh but idiomatic interpretation with a strength of personality that made it so powerfully communicative and memorable.”

 

            The concerto will be paired with Korngold’s very first opera, The Ring of Polykrates, a one-act domestic comedy composed in 1913-14 when he was just sixteen years old. The opera premiered in Munich in 1916 on another double bill. 

 

Korngold is known today as one of the great proponents of early twentieth-century “neo-romanticism” and one of the fathers of the modern movie score, whose masterful work during Hollywood’s “Golden Age” (The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Sea Hawk, Anthony Adverse, Deception, Between Two Worlds, Juarez, Kings Row) has influenced generations of composers, studios, and film-makers.   

The plot revolves around a happily married professional musician, Wilhelm Arndt, whose career is on the upswing, along with his finances.  His joy, he tells his wife Laura, would be complete if only he could once again see his long-lost friend Peter Vogel. Without giving too much away, we will refer you to the old adage, “Be careful what you wish for!”

 

The name of the opera is taken from a late eighteenth-century poem by Friedrich Schiller, which is based on the ancient tale of the Greek ruler, Polycrates, who was deemed much too successful for the Fates to ignore--and advised to throw away his most valuable possession, a bejeweled ring, in a superstitious bid to avoid future disaster.

 

            Critically acclaimed Dallas Opera Music Director Emmanuel Villaume (The Mrs. Eugene McDermott Music Director) will conduct all four performances. Opera Wire praised Villaume for his conducting of Thaïs at the Metropolitan Opera: “From the opening chords to the final ones, the polish of one of Massenet’s finest scores was felt.”The New York Times also touted his conducting prowess in the much-discussed new production of Tosca: “He brings shape, nuance and pliancy to the score.”

 

            Currently in his fifth season as music director, Maestro Villaume guided our successful Samson & Dalila before turning to engagements in Prague and at the Met.  Last summer, he presided over a critically acclaimed new production of Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel at Santa Fe Opera (a Dallas Opera co-production).

Directed by Peter Kazaras (La Bohème), The Ring of Polykrates stars tenor Paul Groves, soprano Laura Wilde(Phyllis A. McCasland and Thomas H. McCasland, Jr. Young Artist) and bass-baritone Craig Colclough in their eagerly-anticipated TDO debuts.

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