Pre-Opera Talks

presented by Joy and Ronald Mankoff

Want to learn more about the opera you are seeing? Want to beat the traffic and enjoy a beverage while you learn? Join TDO for the Joy and Ronald Mankoff Pre-Opera Talks one hour before each TDO performance.

Pre-Opera Talks are informative and interactive 30-minute lectures featuring opera experts from all over DFW. Pre-Opera Talks are FREE with a ticket to a TDO performance and are guaranteed to increase your knowledge and enjoyment of opera.

Things to know about Pre-Opera Talks before you go:

  • Joy and Ronald Mankoff Pre-Opera Talks are held in Hamon Hall (located in eastern corner of the lobby) beginning one hour before each TDO performance in the Winspear Opera House (6:30 PM for evening performances; 1:00 PM on Sunday Matinees).
  • Seating is first-come, first-served and Hamon Hall can accommodate approximately 200 attendees.
  • Attendees are free to bring in food or drink purchased at the Winspear Opera House.

2015-2016 Season Speakers


Great Scott

November 1, 4, 7, 15, 2015
(Note that there is no Pre-Opera Talk on opening night, October 30, 2015.)

Gregory Sullivan Isaacs

Senior Classical Music Critic, Theater Jones.

Gregory Sullivan Isaacs is a professional musician who held numerous musical directorships as well as composer-in-residence appointments with opera, choral, and symphonic organizations after an early career as a singer. Currently, he is the Senior Classical Music Critic for the respected electronic performing arts magazine, Theater Jones. He also writes for other publications such as the Fort Worth Star Telegram and teaches voice in a private studio. His critically acclaimed and Pulitzer-nominated three-act opera for tenor and piano – “Henry Faust” – was produced for public television and toured to great acclaim. Other awards include a Peabody award for a televised operatic performance, an ASCAP award for his commitment to American Music and an American Music Center composition grant. He is a member of ASCAP, the American Composers Forum and the Music Critics Association of North America. He holds a bachelor degree in music from the University of Miami (first two years at the University of Michigan) and a master degree from the prestigious music program at Indiana University in Bloomington.


Tosca

November 6, 8, 11, 14, 20, 22, 2015

Wayne Lee Gay

(November 6)

Wayne Lee Gay has provided classical music coverage in the Dallas-Fort Worth region for three decades; the recipient of numerous regional awards for criticism, he is also a past finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. He currently teaches in the English Department of the University of Texas at Arlington and focuses on writing fiction; his fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in literary journals and anthologies. He continues to contribute reviews of classical music and opera to frontrow.dmagazine.com and to the American Record Guide, and also writes for the Dallas Opera Playbill.

Stephen Dubberly

(November 8, 11, 14, 20, 22)

Dr. Stephen Dubberly is associate professor in the College of Music at the University of North Texas, where he serves as opera music director and teaches courses in opera conducting and opera literature. At UNT, he has conducted productions of The Marriage of Figaro, Così fan tutte, Don Giovanni, The Magic Flute, Lucia di Lammermoor, La traviata, Falstaff, I pagliacci, La bohème, Cendrillon, Madama Butterfly, The Merry Widow, Suor Angelica, Gianni Schicchi, Albert Herring, Dialogues of the Carmelites, The Crucible, A Little Night Music, and the world premiere of Hans Schaeuble’s Dorian Gray. He has an ongoing relationship with Amarillo Opera, where he has conducted productions of Don Giovanni, The Barber of Seville, Rigoletto, The Pirates of Penzance, Falstaff, La bohème, I pagliacci, Gianni Schicchi, The Wage of Sin, Don Pasquale, and Carmen. Dr. Dubberly has also conducted for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Des Moines Metro Opera, American Bel Canto Opera, the Knoxville Opera Company, San Antonio Opera, Cartersville Opera, Athens (Georgia) Opera, the Teatro Accademico in Castelfranco Veneto, Italy, and, most recently, the Festival Galuppi at the Teatro Goldoni in Venice, Italy. He began his music studies in Montevideo, Uruguay, and received master’s and doctoral degrees in music from Yale University.


Becoming Santa Claus

December 4, 6, 9, 12, 2015

Gregory Sullivan Isaacs

Senior Classical Music Critic, Theater Jones.

Gregory Sullivan Isaacs is a professional musician who held numerous musical directorships as well as composer-in-residence appointments with opera, choral, and symphonic organizations after an early career as a singer. Currently, he is the Senior Classical Music Critic for the respected electronic performing arts magazine, Theater Jones. He also writes for other publications such as the Fort Worth Star Telegram and teaches voice in a private studio. His critically acclaimed and Pulitzer-nominated three-act opera for tenor and piano – “Henry Faust” – was produced for public television and toured to great acclaim. Other awards include a Peabody award for a televised operatic performance, an ASCAP award for his commitment to American Music and an American Music Center composition grant. He is a member of ASCAP, the American Composers Forum and the Music Critics Association of North America. He holds a bachelor degree in music from the University of Miami (first two years at the University of Michigan) and a master degree from the prestigious music program at Indiana University in Bloomington.


Manon

March 4, 6, 9, 12, 2016

Mary Dibbern with Gregory Sullivan Issacs

 

Mary Dibbern is Music Director of Education and Family Programs for The Dallas Opera. She is an internationally known specialist in the field of vocal coaching and accompaniment. After graduating from Southern Methodist University with a Master of Music under the direction of Maestro Paul Vellucci, she moved to Paris to work with the great teachers, Nadia Boulanger, Pierre Bernac, and Gérard Souzay. During her 30 year residence in France, she was guest coach at the Opéra National de Paris (Bastille), and at the operas of Nice, Bordeaux, Lyons, Toulouse, Dijon, Châtelet, the Opéra-Comique, the Festival de Radio France-Montpellier, as well as in Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Poland, Italy, Switzerland, Portugal, Lithuania, and Latvia. She was in charge of musical preparation for the first French-language productions in China of Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette and Bizet’s Carmen, as well as for Verdi’s La Traviata. In the United States she has been a guest coach and master class teacher at the operas of Seattle, Fort Worth, Cincinnati, Kentucky, Memphis, Florida, and Hawaii. She served as Head of Music at the Minnesota Opera from 2009 to 2012, where she worked extensively with Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell for musical and language preparation of their Pulitzer Prize-winning opera, Silent Night. Since 2002, she has been on the faculty of the University of Miami in Salzburg summer study program in Austria.

Dibbern has worked on the preparation of American, French, Italian, and German operas and recordings with the world’s finest conductors including Lorin Maazel, Georges Pretre, Jeffrey Tate, Dennis Russell Davies, Sir Alexander Gibson, Kent Nagano, Michel Plasson, and Emmanuel Joel-Hornak. She has accompanied vocal recitals in the USA, Europe and Japan—including at La Scala, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Opéra-Comique, Radio France and Opéra Royal de Versailles. She is a recording artist for Harmonia Mundi France, Claves, Maguelone, and Toccata Classics. Her recording Mélodies de Jacques Leguerney (Claves) was awarded the French Grand Prix du Disque.

Mary Dibbern is published by Pendragon Press. She is the author of five Performance Guides for French operas, including Massenet’s Manon and Werther. Another of her titles is the ground-breaking biography and performance guide for the melodies of Jacques Leguerney. In 2015, Pendragon issued her English translation of Anne Massenet’s new biography, Massenet and His Letters: A New Biography. She continues to work with Anne Massenet for her next publication, a bi-lingual edition of the Massenet General Catalogue of Works. She is currently working toward a PhD in Humanities-Aesthetic Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas.

Gregory Sullivan Isaacs

Senior Classical Music Critic, Theater Jones.

Gregory Sullivan Isaacs is a professional musician who held numerous musical directorships as well as composer-in-residence appointments with opera, choral, and symphonic organizations after an early career as a singer. Currently, he is the Senior Classical Music Critic for the respected electronic performing arts magazine, Theater Jones. He also writes for other publications such as the Fort Worth Star Telegram and teaches voice in a private studio. His critically acclaimed and Pulitzer-nominated three-act opera for tenor and piano – “Henry Faust” – was produced for public television and toured to great acclaim. Other awards include a Peabody award for a televised operatic performance, an ASCAP award for his commitment to American Music and an American Music Center composition grant. He is a member of ASCAP, the American Composers Forum and the Music Critics Association of North America. He holds a bachelor degree in music from the University of Miami (first two years at the University of Michigan) and a master degree from the prestigious music program at Indiana University in Bloomington.


Show Boat

April 15, 17, 20, 23, 29, May 1, 2016

Hank Hammett

Director of Opera at the Meadows School of the Arts, Southern Methodist University

American lyric baritone Hank Hammett is an artist teacher, award-winning director and acting coach who has trained singing actors in the organic fields of music, voice, theatre arts, acting technique, opera, musical theatre and strategic performance skills for over two decades.

Hammett has worked on Broadway, Off-Broadway, in television and film, and at the world’s most prestigious opera houses and festivals, including The Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Le Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie (Brussels), Gran Teatre del Liceu (Barcelona), De Nederlandse Opera (Amsterdam), Opéra de Montréal, Bilbao Opera, Concert Royal, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Los Angeles Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Glimmerglass Opera, The Dallas Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Portland Opera, Connecticut Opera and Boston Lyric Opera.

The recipient of numerous international awards, grants and prizes for singing, Hammett’s honors include First Prize in the Liederkranz Competition in New York and the Grand Prix in the Concours International d’Oratorio et de Lied in France. He made his professional operatic debut as Mercutio in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette with the San Antonio Festival and his professional recital debut at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, partnered by Dale Dietert at the piano.

A native of Dallas, Hammett is currently Director of Opera at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts and is the author/composer/director of Opera in a Box: Follow Your Dream. He frequently gives master classes at prominent universities and training programs and has worked with the Young Artists of The Houston Grand Opera Studio and The Dallas Opera.

Hammett is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, where he was awarded B.M. and M.M. degrees. He received further musical study at the Britten-Pears School for Advanced Musical Studies (Aldeburgh, England) and the Music Academy of the West (Santa Barbara, California), and he studied acting at T. Schreiber Studio and MTB Studio in New York. His principal teachers include Dale Dietert, Gérard Souzay, Martial Singher, Mignon Dunn, Elizabeth Mannion and Mary Boyer.

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Upcoming Mainstage Performances

A Pre-Opera Talk will be held one hour before each of these performances in Hamon Hall at the Winspear Opera House.