La Wally / Everest

La Wally by Alfredo Catalani • Set high in the Austrian Alps, the first half of this exciting double bill is the climactic final act of an opera about a free-spirited and fiercely passionate young woman who realizes, too late, that love delayed isn’t always love denied. Sopranos Mary Elizabeth Williams (January 30th, February 1st and 4th), and Melissa Citro (February 7th), make their Dallas Opera debut as the strong-minded heroine of this Alpine romance. Tenors Rodrigo Garciarroyo (January 30th, February 1st and 4th) and Arnold Rawls (February 7) also make their Dallas Opera debut as her beloved Hagenbach in this brand-new abridged production staged by director Candace Evans and conducted by Anthony Barrese.

Starring Mary Elizabeth WilliamsMelissa CitroRodrigo Garciarroyo Arnold Rawls

Conductor Anthony Barrese • Director Candace Evans

Family Rating Adult themes, onstage death, suicide. Rated PG-13

Everest by Joby Talbot • On the slopes of Mount Everest, luck and the weather can turn with equal ferocity and swiftness, and dreams die even for the most valiant of men. British composer Joby Talbot’s first opera – a Dallas Opera world premiere with a libretto by Gene Scheer (Moby-Dick) – confronts the tragic events surrounding an ill-fated Everest expedition with a cast that includes tenor Andrew Bidlack, mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, bass Kevin Burdette, and baritone Craig Verm. This eagerly anticipated Dallas Opera world premiere will be conducted by Nicole Paiement and staged by Moby-Dick director Leonard Foglia, with stunning visuals designed by Elaine J. McCarthy.

Starring Andrew BidlackSasha CookeKevin BurdetteCraig Verm

Conductor Nicole Paiement • Director Leonard Foglia

Family Rating Adult themes, intense drama, language, onstage death. Rated PG-13

Synopsis La Wally Act IV

Wally—lonely, guilt-ridden and depressed—contemplates all that has occurred. Her faithful friend Walter has followed her into the mountains and urges Wally to return to their village. Christmas festivities are underway and, so too, is the season for avalanches. She refuses, preferring death. Footsteps indicate someone else is approaching—Hagenbach! Despite his injuries, the huntsman has managed to come and he quickly confesses his love for Wally. The couple is finally reconciled and turns to go home when Hagenbach is swept away by an avalanche. Wally calls out for him in vain. Realizing that her love is gone forever, she throws herself into the abyss.

Cast Biographies Everest

Kevin Burdette (Beck Weathers), bass, recently portrayed the roles of Herr Puff in The Impresario and Chamberlain in Le rossignol for Santa Fe Opera. He also created the role of Stefano in The Tempest for Opéra de Québec and the Metropolitan Opera for which the DVD recording won the French Diapason d’Or and the audio recording won a 2014 Grammy Award. In the 2014-15 season he sings Bartolo in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Opera Philadelphia, The Ogre in El gato con botas with Gotham Chamber Opera, T.J. Rigg in Elmer Gantry with Florentine Opera, Leporello in Don Giovanni with Boston Lyric Opera, Sulpice in La fille du régiment and Stobrod/Blind Man in the world premiere of Higdon’s Cold Mountain, both for Santa Fe Opera.

Sasha Cooke (Jan Arnold) is a Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano whose operatic engagements include the world premiere of Laura Kaminsky’s As One at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Mark Adamo’s The Gospel of Mary Magdalene for San Francisco Opera. Symphonic engagements for Ms. Cooke’s 2014-2015 season include appearances with the Colorado Symphony, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester, Houston Symphony, Melbourne Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony and the Seattle Symphony. Her performances also include pieces by Jake Heggie, Pierre Jalbert, Kevin Puts, Jeremy Denk and the Miró Quartet. In recital, Ms. Cooke appears with pianist Julius Drake at Carnegie Hall and San Francisco. Future appearances include the role of Anna in Les Troyens for San Francisco Opera. Her recent album “If you love for beauty” is available on Yarlung Records.

Andrew Bidlack (Rob Hall) has had recent successes in the tenor roles of Tamino in Die Zauberflöte and Count Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia at Florida Grand Opera, and his Lyric Opera of Chicago debut as The Young Collector in A Streetcar Named Desire, which he also performed alongside Renée Fleming at Carnegie Hall. Among his roles in contemporary music are Ishmael in Moby-Dick and Tancredi in The Inspector at Wolf Trap. After Everest, Mr. Bidlack will perform Haydn’s Creation for Greensboro Symphony and Tonio in La fille du régiment at Palm Beach Opera before returning to The Dallas Opera to sing Alméric in Iolanta. Future appearances include Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi for Intermountain Opera Bozeman, and joining Cincinnati Opera’s Morning Star.

Craig Verm (Doug Hansen) baritone, makes his debut with The Dallas Opera in the world premiere of Everest. He also sings his first performances of George in Of Mice and Men with Tulsa Opera, and the title role of Elmer Gantry in a return to Florentine Opera. Mr. Verm has appeared at the Seiji Ozawa’s Ongaku-juku Festival, Nashville Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Teatro Municipal de Santiago, Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse and Florentine Opera. Other recent engagements include leading roles with Nationale Reisopera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Florentine Opera, Fort Worth Opera and Opera Philadelphia. He will also return to the Los Angeles Philharmonic for Glass’ the CIVIL WarS, and Pittsburgh Opera as Papageno in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte.

Julia Rose Arduino (Meg) has been a member of The Dallas Opera Children’s Chorus since the Winspear Opera House inaugural performance of Otello in 2009. In subsequent seasons, she appeared in the children’s chorus for Boris Godunov, Turandot and Carmen and will sing in La bohème later this season. She began performing at the age of five in Lyric Stage’s production of Carousel as one of the Snow family children. She studies ballet, tap, jazz and modern dance at Dallas Ballet Center and is also a member of the Youth Choir at Highland Park United Methodist Church. Ms. Arduino is a 7th grader at Dealey International Academy in Dallas, where she studies theater and art.

John Boehr (Guy) is a baritone whose past and upcoming engagements include performances at The Dallas Opera, Tanglewood Music Center, Santa Fe Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Palm Beach Opera and Austin Lyric Opera. Mr. Boehr has won numerous prizes at vocal competitions sponsored by The Dallas Opera Guild, Palm Beach Opera and the Metropolitan Opera Council Southwest Regional Auditions, among others. He is a graduate of the prestigious Resident Artist Program at The Minnesota Opera. Originally from Dallas, Texas, Mr. Boehr graduated from Baylor University in 2005, earning a Bachelor of Music Degree in Vocal Performance.

Mark McCrory (Mike) is a bass-baritone who has performed many roles with The Dallas Opera and also with the Lyric Opera of Chicago. He recently made his European debut with the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma as Marco in William Bolcom’s A View from the Bridge, a role he created in the world premiere at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Other notable engagements include performances with the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Florida Grand Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Portland Opera, Nashville Opera, and Kentucky Opera. He is a winner of numerous competitions and awards including the George London Foundation Award, Sara Tucker Study Grant, and National Winner in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. He is a native of Dallas, Texas.

Production Biographies Everest

Joby Talbot (Composer), whose diverse output includes a trumpet concerto for Alison Balsom and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (Desolation Wilderness, 2006); a 60-minute a cappella choral journey along the Camino de Santiago for Nigel Short’s Tenebrae (Path of Miracles, 2005); arrangements of songs by Detroit rock duo The White Stripes alongside existing works for Wayne McGregor’s Chroma (The Royal Ballet, 2006); and, as a co-production between The Royal Ballet and National Ballet of Canada, Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (2011), the first full-length narrative ballet score to be commissioned by The Royal Ballet in 20 years, makes his opera debut with Everest. A second collaboration with Wheeldon culminated in the 2014 premiere of The Winter’s Tale, adapted from Shakespeare’s play. Mr. Talbot has considerable experience writing for the screen, including feature films The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005), Son of Rambow (2007), Franklyn (2008) and Closed Circuit (2013). Recently, Mr. Talbot premiered Genus Quartet with the Calder Quartet; Meniscus with the National Centre for the Performing Arts, Beijing; and a new version of Tide Harmonic for Christopher Wheeldon and Pacific Northwest Ballet, as well as seeing international revivals of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland; Chamber; Chroma; Path of Miracles and Worlds, Stars, Systems, Infinity.

Gene Scheer (Librettist) is known for the intellectual depth, scope and versatility of his work. He has collaborated with composer Jake Heggie on a number of projects, including the critically acclaimed 2010 Dallas Opera world premiere, Moby-Dick, Three Decembers (Houston Grand Opera), and the lyric drama To Hell and Back (Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra). Other works by Scheer and Heggie include Camille Claudel: Into the fire, a song cycle premiered by Joyce DiDonato and the Alexander String Quartet. Mr. Scheer worked with Tobias Picker on An American Tragedy, which premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in 2005. Thérèse Raquin, written for The Dallas Opera in 2001, was cited by Opera News as one of the ten best recordings of 2002. With the composer Steven Stucky, Mr. Scheer wrote the oratorio August 4, 1964. The work, premiered by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in 2008, was nominated for a Grammy. Also a composer in his own right, Mr. Scheer has written a number of songs for singers such as Renée Fleming, Sylvia McNair, Stephanie Blythe, Jennifer Larmore, Denyce Graves and Nathan Gunn. The distinguished documentary filmmaker, Ken Burns, prominently featured Mr. Scheer’s song “American Anthem” (as sung by Norah Jones) in his Emmy Award-winning World War II documentary for PBS entitled The War. Upcoming projects including writing the libretto for Cold Mountain, a new opera with music by Jennifer Higdon premiering in 2015.

Nicole Paiement (Conductor) was recently appointed as Principal Guest Conductor of The Dallas Opera where she has conducted performances of Tod Machover’s Death and the Powers, and earned rave reviews for her 2012 Dallas Opera debut conducting Peter Maxwell Davies’ thriller The Lighthouse. Ms. Paiement is an active Guest Conductor and in December of 2014, appeared with the Washington National Opera. Ms. Paiement is Artistic Director, Conductor, Founder of Opera Parallèle and also the Artistic Director of the BluePrint Project – a new music series sponsored by the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. With this music series, she has commissioned, premiered and recorded works from many living American composers. Her numerous recordings include many world premiere works and she has toured extensively in the U.S. and Asia.

Leonard Foglia (Stage Director) The James R. Seitz, Jr. Stage Director in Honor of John Gage Mr. Foglia’s opera credits include the premieres of three operas by Jake Heggie: Moby-Dick (The Dallas Opera, San Diego, Calgary, Opera of South Australia, San Francisco Opera—this production filmed for PBS’ “Great Performances”), Three Decembers (Houston Grand Opera, San Francisco, Chicago Opera Theater), and The End of the Affair (HGO, Madison, Seattle). His production of Heggie’s Dead Man Walking has been seen across the country. As a librettist, his mariachi opera Cruzar la Cara de la Luna (To Cross the Face of the Moon), music by Jose “Pepe” Martinez, had its premiere at HGO in 2010. It has since has been performed at San Diego Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago as well as the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.

Robert Brill (Set Designer) returns to The Dallas Opera after designing Moby-Dick. Other recent designs for opera include Faust for the Metropolitan Opera and English National Opera, Doubt for Minnesota Opera, and the upcoming world premieres of Cold Mountain and The Manchurian Candidate. His designs for Broadway include Cabaret, Jesus Christ Superstar, Assassins (Tony nomination), Guys and Dolls (Tony nomination), A Streetcar Named Desire, Design for Living, Buried Child and many others. Other credits include Christopher Plummer’s A Word or Two, The Flaming Lips’ musical Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Sinatra at Radio City Music Hall, On the Record (Disney Theatrical), American in Paris (Boston Ballet), A Clockwork Orange (Steppenwolf), and The Laramie Project for BAM and other theaters throughout the U. S. He is a founding member of Sledgehammer Theatre.

David C. Woolard (Costume Designer) has recently designed costumes for the world premiere of Death and the Powers for The Dallas Opera and Opéra de Monte-Carlo. His other credits include the costumes for the American premiere of A Dream Play and Venus and Adonis, the world premieres of Oscar and Madame Mao, and The Italian Girl in Algiers and Così fan tutte, all for Santa Fe Opera. Other design projects include Don Giovanni for Chicago Opera Theatre, and Madame Butterfly and Aida for Minnesota Opera. Mr. Woolard’s Broadway credits include Lysistrata Jones, West Side Story, Jane Fonda’s clothing for 33 Variations, Dividing The Estate, The Farnsworth Invention, Old Acquaintance, All Shook Up, 700 Sundays with Billy Crystal, The Rocky Horror Picture Show (2001 Tony Award nomination) and The Who’s Tommy (1993 Tony Award nomination).

Christopher Akerlind (Lighting Designer) has designed lighting for theater, opera, circus, and dance across the country and around the world. For The Dallas Opera he has designed The Dream of Valentino, La bohème, and Le nozze di Figaro. His extensive opera credits include productions at the Opéra National de Bordeaux, Boston Lyric Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Glimmerglass Opera, Hamburgische Staatsoper, Houston Grand Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Metropolitan Opera, Minnesota Opera, New York City Opera, San Francisco Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and over 45 productions for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis where he has been Resident Lighting Designer for over 15 years. Recent work on Broadway includes pop musician Sting’s The Last Ship, and The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, each earning Tony Award nominations.

Elaine J. McCarthy (Projections Designer) maintains an international career spanning 20 years and nearly every area of live performance. Her opera credits include Moby-Dick and Tristan und Isolde with The Dallas Opera, Mazeppa with the Metropolitan Opera, Dead Man Walking with New York City Opera, War and Peace with the Metropolitan Opera and Kirov Opera, Tosca with Opera Festival of New Jersey, and Tan Dun and Peter Sellars’s The Peony Pavilion at the Wiener Festwochen. Additional career highlights include the Broadway productions of Wicked, Spamalot, Assassins, Man of La Mancha, Into the Woods, Thurgood, and Judgment at Nuremberg, as well as the Off-Broadway productions of Frequency Hopping (set and projections) and Distracted (set and projections).

David Zimmerman (Wig and Make-up Designer) David Zimmerman has worked with The Dallas Opera and other opera companies around the world. These include the Metropolitan Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Santa Fe Opera, Paris National Opera, and Opera Santa Barbara. Mr. Zimmerman’s career extends to Broadway as well, where he has worked on shows including Wicked, Rocky Horror, Show Boat, South Pacific and Evita. His personal clients include Deborah Voigt, Joyce DiDonato, Patricia Racette, Martha Stewart, Olympia Dukakis, and Ricky Martin. He has also done the make-up for the DIFFA Fashion Runway, Dallas Fashion and Art Charity, and the fashion event. His print credits include two features in Opera News plus features in both Vanity Fair and The New Yorker. Television and film credits include Glamour magazine’s Women of the Year and a feature film.

Alexander Rom (Chorus Master) A native of Kharkov, Ukraine, Alexander Rom holds a Masters Degree in Choral Conducting from Leningrad Conservatory of Music. Since immigrating to the U.S., he has worked as a performer, conductor, educator, voice teacher, opera coach, and composer. He has been the chorus master for The Dallas Opera since 1990 and an opera coach with the Metropolitan Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Savonlinna Opera Festival, Cincinnati Festival, and Ravinia Festival. He has worked with world renowned singers including Paul Plishka, Mirella Freni, Nikolai Ghiaurov, Jorma Hynninen, Helga Dernesch, Martti Talvela, Joyce DiDonato, and Jerry Hadley. Maestro Rom is an honorary Visiting Professor at Sibelius Academy Helsinki Conservatory and was a Visiting Professor at Savonlinna Opera Festival Music Institute.

Cast Biographies La Wally

Mary Elizabeth Williams (Wally), soprano, makes her Dallas Opera debut with this role. Recent performances include the title role in Aida for Teatro Massimo and Abigaille in Nabuccod for Welsh National Opera, Vlaamse Opera, Oper Stuttgart, and Savonlinna Opera Festival. Current and future engagements include Lady Macbeth in Macbeth for Welsh National Opera, Lady Macbeth and Chimène in Le Cid for Theater St. Gallen, Santuzza in Cavalleria rusticana for Stadttheater Klagenfurt and the title role in Tosca, Abigaille in Nabucco and Elisabetta in Maria Stuarda for Seattle Opera. She was awarded Seattle Opera’s “Artist of the Year” for the 2011-2012 season. She has also performed the title role in Tosca for Welsh National Opera, Opera Bonn, Arizona Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, New Orleans Opera and Virginia Opera.

Rodrigo Garciarroyo (Giuseppe Hagenbach), tenor, has sung in the U.S., Europe, Asia and in Mexico on stages all around the country. His repertoire includes songs from around the world, opera, chamber and symphonic music including L’Elisir d’Amore, Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Don Giovanni, Tosca, Un Ballo in Maschera, La traviata, Zaide, La bohème, Madama Butterfly, Il Tabarro, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Verdi’s Requiem, Cavalleria Rusticana, Carmen and Massenet’s Manon. Mr. Garciarroyo made his debut at the Palacio de Bellas Artes with the Compañía Nacional de Ópera as Turiddu in Cavalleria Rusticana in 2011 under the tutelage of Maestro Niksa Bareza. He made his Lincoln Center debut with Verdi’s Requiem conducted by Maestro Patrick Gardner in 2009. Mr. Garciarroyo is a native of Mexico.

Arnold Rawls (Giuseppe Hagenbach) Previous engagements for this tenor include Hagenbach in La Wally and Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos both for the Theater St. Gallen in Switzerland, San-Lui in Leoni’s L’oracolo, Roberto in Le Villi and Apollo in Daphne all for Oper Frankfurt, and Manrico in Il trovatore for his debut with both the Sydney Opera House and The Metropolitan Opera. Upcoming portrayals include Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos and Erik in Der fliegende Holländer at the Theater St. Gallen in Switzerland, Bacchus with Seattle Opera, Manrico in Il trovatore with the Sacramento Opera, and a recital at the Goddard Center in Oklahoma. Future seasons include Radamès in Aida with Opera Australia in Sydney and Calaf in Turandot for Bregenzer Festspiele, Austria among others.

Melissa Citro (Wally) Recent engagements for Ms. Citro, soprano, include her debut with the San Francisco Opera as Freia in Das Rheingold, and Gutrune in Götterdämmerung and her role debut as Sieglinde in Wagner’s Die Walküre with the Virginia Opera. Last season she returned to the Metropolitan Opera where she covered Renee Fleming in the title role of Dvo?ák’s Rusalka. Prior to that she made her role debut as Senta in Lyric Opera of Kansas City’s production of Der Fliegende Hollander and joined the San Francisco Opera and the Metropolitan Opera casts of The Makropulous Case, where she covered as Emilia. This season she sings the role of Rusalka for New Orleans Opera. Future engagements include her debut with Washington Opera as Gutrune in its new Ring cycle.

Jennifer Chung (Walter) returns for her ninth season with The Dallas Opera in this production of La Wally. After winning the 2001 Marguerite McCammon voice competition, she made successful debuts with both The Dallas Opera as Zerlina in Don Giovanni and The Fort Worth Opera as Micaëla in Carmen. Ms. Chung has sung leading roles with opera companies across the country and in Europe including Arizona Opera, Augusta Opera, Kentucky Opera, Opernhaus Zürich, the Orchestra of St. Gallen and the Ash Lawn Summer Opera Festival. Most recently, she stepped in on short notice for a performance of The Dallas Opera’s Family Programs opera, Doctor Miracle. She also works for renowned plastic surgeon Michael A. Bogdan, MD, FACS, in Southlake, Texas.

Production Biographies La Wally

Anthony Barrese (Conductor) made his official Dallas Opera debut conducting Tosca in 2008. He has led several productions with Sarasota Opera and with Opera Southwest where he is Artistic Director and Principal Conductor. He also conducts abroad regularly including Teatro Ventidio Basso, Opéra de Massy, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Boston Lyric Opera, Mercury Opera, Edmonton Opera and DePaul Opera Theatre. He is the recipient of the 2007 Georg Solti Foundation U.S. award for young conductors. He made his operatic conducting debut in Milan with La bohème and recorded Andreoni’s quattro luci sul lago with “I Solisti della Scala” for broadcast on Italian National Radio (RAI 3).

Candace Evans (Stage Director) was praised as a director “with a flawless sense of timing,” by Opera News. Ms. Evans’ Dallas Opera credits include Don Pasquale for the inaugural season at the Winspear Opera House and The Merry Widow. Her production of Akhnaten was chosen by Philip Glass as a definitive DVD and her Salome for Opera San Antonio featured Patricia Racette. Ms. Evans will direct the world premiere of Riders of the Purple Sage for Arizona Opera in its 2016-17 season. This internationally acclaimed director/choreographer was honored (top three opera, 2010) by the Argentine Music Critic’s Association for her La viuda alegre at the Teatro Colón. Upcoming are La traviata, Lucia di Lammermoor and Il matrimonio segreto for the newly renovated Teatro Petrarca in Italy.

Robert Brill (Set Designer) See Everest Credit

David C. Woolard (Costume Designer) See Everest Credit

Christopher Akerlind (Lighting Designer) See Everest Credit

Elaine J. McCarthy (Projections Designer) See Everest Credit

David Zimmerman (Wig and Makeup Designer) See Everest Credit

Alexander Rom (Chorus Master) See Everest Credit

A double bill, sung in Italian/English with English supertitles

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The season's performances of this production have concluded.