In honor of its 60th Season, The Dallas Opera is elated to present Celebrate 60: Past, Present, and Future, a week of public performances and special events designed to pay tribute to the company’s founding and illustrious history, to celebrate six decades on the national and international stage.
Celebrate 60, April 30 through May 7, 2017, was also conceived in order to recognize The Dallas Opera’s ongoing efforts to foster the next generation of opera audiences and artists. A goal that will be achieved by serving all the people of North Texas through vastly expanded educational and community outreach initiatives (including fifteen free public simulcasts to indoor and outdoor locations throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth area—and beyond!).
The weeklong celebration will showcase the company’s base of operations in the Dallas Arts District. Four of the performances in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center have been selected as preview events for the 2017 SOLUNA International Music and Arts Festival presented by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
PERFORMANCE AND EVENT SCHEDULE
SUNDAY, APRIL 30th
The Dallas Opera’s annual Springs Gala: An Evening of Rising Stars, incorporating the exciting Finals Round of the 29th Annual Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition which, this year, attracted hundreds of applicants from 35 states. The Gala dinner begins at 5:30 p.m., the Vocal Competition Finals at 7:30 p.m. and all attendees are eligible to vote for the “People’s Choice” Award. The gala evening will be emceed by soprano Marina Costa-Jackson. In regard to the annual competition, Gregory Sullivan Isaacs of TheaterJones.com wrote: “All of the finalists showed the same high level of musicianship of those that come here for the Cliburn piano competition every four years (which is considerable). It won’t take long for the Dallas Opera’s vocal competition to situate itself at the top of the list of such events and become an important gold star on any young artist’s resume.” Tickets for the Finals Round alone are just $5. Visit dallasopera.org/gala or dallasopera.org/vocal for additional information.
MONDAY, MAY 1ST
“Dallas Opera Perspectives” with one of the survivors of the now-infamous 1996 Everest disaster, Dr. Beck Weathers, a Dallas forensic pathologist. Dr. Weathers will sit for a public conversation about the experience and aftermath with Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny. Eight people died near the summit of the world’s highest peak on one of the deadliest days in modern mountaineering history. Dr. Weathers managed to survive some of the harshest weather conditions on the planet and make his own way back to camp, having been twice left for dead. Lauren Smart of Dallas Observer noted: “This story of men willing to risk their lives just to say they’ve accomplished something is wrapped up so closely in contemporary discontents…Everest is a musically stunning, cinematically thrilling opera updated here for a new generation, and updated brilliantly.” This conversation, in preparation for the May 5th semi-staged performance of Joby Talbot and Gene Scheer’s Everest, will take place at the Montgomery Arts Theater in Booker T. Washington High School for the Visual and Performing Arts, starting at 6:30 p.m. The nearest parking is next door in the Lexus Red parking garage beneath the Winspear. Admission for this unforgettable conversation is free with an RSVP. Details online at dallasopera.org/events.
THURSDAY, MAY 4TH
On the battlefield on the eve of a violent civil war that will pit brother against brother, a troubled Prince Arjuna turns for guidance to his advisor and charioteer, Krishna, who has not yet revealed his divine status in the Hindu pantheon. This is the setting for what composer Douglas J. Cuomo describes as his “most ambitious composition to date,” Arjuna’s Dilemma, a chamber opera with video projections conducted by the Martha R. and Preston A. Peak Principal Guest Conductor Nicole Paiement. This exotic and appealing soundscape seamlessly combines classical elements with jazz and traditional Indian musical idioms to create a work of both sweeping grandeur and hushed intimacy. Critics have found this important contemporary work “gripping,” “gorgeous,” “astonishing” and entirely original. Starring Humayan Khan as Krishna and Tony Boutté as Arjuna. General admission tickets for the 7:30 p.m. Winspear Opera House performance are $50 each and may be purchased online at dallasopera.org/events or by contacting the Ticket Office at 214.443.1000.
FRIDAY, MAY 5TH
At the top of the world, dreams die, even for the most valiant of men. The Dallas Opera is exceedingly proud to present, for one night only, a semi-staged encore presentation of Joby Talbot and Gene Scheer’s critically acclaimed Everest, starring tenor Andrew Bidlack and bass Kevin Burdette from the original cast. The work, with projections by Elaine J. McCarthy, will be preceded by the world premiere of Talbot’s Everest Prelude. The prelude will be set to projections by Elizabeth Seymour, using film footage from George Mallory’s attempts to summit Mt. Everest in the 1920s. Catherine Womack of D Magazine described Everest in its 2015 Dallas Opera premiere as having “all the ingredients of a blockbuster. Gripping, edge-of-your-seat storytelling, stunning, innovative design and poignant lyricism…instantly appealing.” Heidi Waleson of The Wall Street Journal praised the opera as “remarkable” and Olin Chism of the Star-Telegram raved, “This is one opera performance that rivals great legitimate theater in its impact.” The 7:30 p.m. performance will be conducted by the Mrs. Eugene McDermott Music Director Emmanuel Villaume and staged by director Leonard Foglia. Tickets are $25 to $75 and may be purchased through dallasopera.org/events or by calling 214.443.1000.
SATURDAY, MAY 6TH
The Magic Piano, an animation adventure commissioned by the Polish Ministry of Culture and produced in 2011 by BreakThru Films, is the story of two curious children in Warsaw, Poland, who discover a battered old piano sitting atop a junk heap. However, appearances can be deceiving—the instrument becomes their fabulous, magical ride through the skies above Europe, as the youngsters dodge hot air ballons over France, and fierce storms and threatening skies over London. The 30-minute film, with a live piano score (the music of Chopin, of course) performed by Lang Lang protégé Derek Wang, will be paired with The Chopin Shorts for an afternoon of giddy adventure and glorious live music for the entire family. The films will be shown in the magnificent Winspear Opera House, beginning at 2:00 p.m. General admission seating is just $10 and can be purchased at dallasopera.org/events or through the Dallas Opera Ticket Office at 214.443.1000. Presented in collaboration with Dallas Film Society and Dallas Model United Nations.
SUNDAY, MAY 7TH
With generous support from TACA, The Dallas Opera is thrilled to present—for the first time on our stage—Vincenzo Bellini’s suspense-filled masterpiece of the bel canto repertoire, Norma, starring the phenomenal South African-born soprano Elza van den Heever in the title role of a Druid priestess wronged by the man she loves. This 1831 masterpiece, with a libretto by Felice Romani, is being presented in a towering period production, originally created by designer John Conklin for Cincinnati Opera, on May 7, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. in the Winspear Opera House. This final performance, during OPERA America week, will also serve as the grand finale of The Dallas Opera’s exciting 60th Season. Set during the Roman occupation of Gaul in 50 B.C., a passionate love triangle in the midst of a deepening culture clash leads to potentially disastrous consequences. Norma is in the throes of despair after discovering that her longtime lover, a Roman proconsul for whom she has borne two children, may have been unfaithful. Pollione (sung by tenor Yonghoon Lee in his company debut) confesses to a friend that he no longer loves Norma. His amorous attentions are now focused on Adalgisa, a young novice (portrayed by soprano Marina Costa-Jackson). Pollione brushes aside a warning about Norma’s hair-trigger temper and capacity for rage. Amid the turmoil of the occupation, personal betrayal, and impending revolution, Norma is driven to the very brink of insanity. Tickets to this production, conducted by Dallas Opera Music Director Emmanuel Villaume and directed by Nic Muni, start at just $29 and are available at dallasopera.org/season or by calling 214.443.1000.